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15.07.10

 

The Use of Harborlite Sorbents for Oil Spill Clean Up

 

Harborlite sorbents are made from perlite, a naturally occurring inert mineral with strong hydrophobic and oleophillic (attracted to oil) characteristics which make it ideally suited for environmentally safe, efficient, and robust mitigation of released oils. The addition of Harborlite sorbent in an oil spill area results in a change from liquid to semi-solid phase where removal of the oil is easily done by skimming or dipping. Once oil is adsorbed on to Perllite, it is held fast and non-dripping. Since Harborlite perlite sorbents have a density llower than water, it can float on water, where their high porosity increases its adsorption capacity. Additionally, perlite has outstanding thermal and chemical inertness, and is friendly to the environment. These properties make harborlite perlite sorbents a useful material in many industrial applications including combating oil spills.

 

Ease of application

Harborlite sorbents can be added as a powder directly to the spill area, where it absorbs the oil, producing a cohesive solidified mass which floats on water. This oil/sorbent mass is then easily skimmed or confined in conjunction with booms. Application of Harborlite sorbents do not require sophisticated deployment equipment, and can be applied with minimal operator training. They are extremely lightweight and easy to handle materials - making them ideal for application from even the smallest response vessels.

 

In addition to open ocean deployment, Harborlite sorbents can be applied to sensitive marsh environments. The powder can be dispersed from small boats (for example) directly onto the marsh/mud flats at low tide - where rising tides can potentially float much of this oily solid mass above the marsh grasses allowing for easier recovery.

 

In situations where shoreline contamination is encountered, Harborlite sorbent can be applied to sensitive marsh environments. The powder can be dispersed from small boats (for example) directly onto the marsh/mud flats at low tide - where rising tides can potentiallyfloat much of this oily solid mass above the marsh grasses alowing for easier recovery.

 

In situations where shoreline contamination is encountered, Harborllite sorbents can be applied directly onto oily sludge on the beach sand, rocks etc., rendering the sludge more solid-like and therefore easier to retrieve and dispose.

 

Efficiency

Depending on the grade used, Harborlite sorbents will adsorb from 3.2 to 7.5 their weight of crude oil-water. Oil sorption properties of the Harborlite sorbent will be higher when the oil sludge is on the beach versus on open water. Where necessary, the addition of water to the powder prior to deployment can reduce dusting in high wind areas.

 

Versatility

Harborlite sorbents can be surface treated with emulsifers for point source treatment or combined with cellulosic or other synthetic (like polypropylene) products. Perlite can also be treated with silicones to further increase oil sorption2. Additionally, Harborlite sorbents can act as a perfect environment for microbes that are needed to naturally digest the oil.

 

Availability

Harborlite has six manufacturing plants located in the U.S. Two of the plants are local to the Gulf of Mexico in LaPorte, TX and Quincy, FL, ensuring uninterrupted supply and logistics. These two plants alone can produce in excess of 300 tons of sorbent product each week (enough to adsorb over 15,000 barrels), with back-up and additional supply from Harborlite's four other U.S. locations

 

Packaging

Harborlite sorbent products can be supplied in numerous configurations including, but not limited to paper bags, totes (semi-bulk), bulk tankers, and lined bulk trailers.

 

Technical Support

Harborlite Technical Service engineers, Sales engineers, and Research staff will be pleased to provide further information and guidance as needed on the optimal use or Harborlite sorbent proudcts in specific applications.

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