Oil spills are environmental disasters, but current methods like in-situ burning are harmful to the marine ecosystem. This study proposes an innovative, low-cost ferrofluid developed using orange peel (OP) extract as the surfactant, instead of the conventional oleic acid which is expensive to purify. OP-ferrofluid has a higher oil removal capacity than commercial sorbents such as polypropylene and can be reused for at least 5 cycles without a significant drop in effectiveness. A novel prototype was constructed to easily retrieve used OP-ferrofluid via a magnet for regeneration, facilitating the use of OP-ferrofluid to clean up oil spills in the ocean.This is how I came up with the idea for this project:
Inspired by the use of magnetism in oil spill cleanup, we decided to take advantage of ferrofluid’s unique magnetic property to speed up oil removal by simply using a magnet! Waste orange peels are commonly discarded in Singapore and worldwide, hence we substituted oleic acid surfactant with orange peel extract!