Oil Dispersants: The Use Of Oil Spill

1951 Words8 Pages
Review Paper: Oil Spill Dispersants
Abstract
Oil dispersants are one of the methods used to clean up oil spill. They are capable of rapidly removing large amount of certain oil types from the sea surface by transferring it into the water column. They enhance oil degradation in the environment. Oil dispersant is a chemical mixture of surfactants and solvents that helps break up oil into small droplets following an oil spill. Because dispersants help to degrade oil and make it to sink into the water rather than removing it from water, they are so controversial. Consequently, the uses of dispersant are limited to spill that occurred at least five kilometers from the shoreline and in water at least 10 meters deep. The use of dispersants involve
…show more content…
Oil dispersant is a chemical mixture of surfactants and solvents that helps break up oil into small droplets following an oil spill. Similarly to the way soaps or detergent work, dispersants break up large oil slicks lying on the top of water into smaller manageable particles (Pam, 2010). Dispersants are primarily composed of solvent and surfactants. The role of solvents is to reduce the viscosity of surfactants in order to be easily sprayed. In addition, solvents promote the penetration of the surfactants into the oil slick. On the hand, surfactants are surface active agents that are used to reduce surface tension between water and oil so as to increase wettability. The effectiveness of oil dispersants depends on the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) –which is a coding scale from 0, to 20. A zero value corresponds to the most lipophilic and a value of 20 is the most hydrophilic. Oil dispersants usually have HLB values from 8–18 (G.P.Lindblom,…show more content…
Due to lack of technical know-how and equipment to spray the chemicals, the first few applications of dispersants were ineffective. Because dispersants help to degrade oil and make it to sink into the water rather than removing oil from water, the use of dispersant are limited to spill that occurred at least five kilometers from the shoreline and in water at least 10 meters deep where there is a low impact of dispersant on marine life (Kearney, 2016). For example in the United Kingdom, dispersants cannot be used in water less than 20 m deep without the permission of Environment Food and Rural Affairs department (Alan & et al,

More about Oil Dispersants: The Use Of Oil Spill

Open Document