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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 638687, 5 pages
Research Article

A Preliminary Study of Biodegradable Waste as Sorbent Material for Oil-Spill Cleanup

1Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor Bahru 81310, Malaysia
2ISI, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor Bahru 81310, Malaysia

Received 7 November 2013; Accepted 8 January 2014; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editors: T. H. D. Flores-Sahagun and N. Voulvoulis

Copyright © 2014 J. Idris et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oil spill constitutes a major source of fresh and seawater pollution as a result of accidental discharge from tankers, marine engines, and underwater pipes. Therefore, the need for cost-effective and environmental friendly sorbent materials for oil spill cleanup cannot be overemphasized. The present work focuses on the preliminary study of empty palm fruit bunch fibre as a promising sorbent material. The morphology of the unmodified empty palm fruit bunch, EPFB fibre, was examined using an optical microcopy, scanning electron microcopy coupled with EDX and X-ray diffraction. The effects of oil volume, fibre weight, and time on oil absorption of EPFB fibre were evaluated with new engine oil from the model oil. The results show that EPFB fibre consists of numerous micro pores, hydrophobic, and partially crystalline and amorphous with approximately 13.5% carbon. The oil absorbency of the fibre increased with the increase in oil volume, immersion time, and fibre weight. However, sorption capacity decreased beyond 3 g in 100 mL. Additionally unmodified EPFB fibre showed optimum oil sorption efficiency of approximately 2.8 g/g within three days of immersion time.