LSU faculty score a patent for managing oil spills with nanoparticles

LSU Chemical Engineering Associate Professor Bhuvnesh Bharti. (Courtesy LSU)

Bhuvnesh Bharti, an LSU chemical engineering associate professor, and Jin Gyun Lee, his former graduate student, have been issued a patent for the oil spill management technology they developed together.

The technology utilizes lignin nanoparticles to provide an environmentally friendly method for oil spill cleanup. Lignin, a complex organic polymer found in plants and wood, is combined with alcohol to form a solution that shrinks the film of spilled oil into a small area that can then be removed in an eco-friendly manner.

Currently, silicone-based surfactants are commonly used as “oil herders,” but their poor biodegradability has raised concerns about their release into the environment and their potential negative impacts on human health and longevity.

This is the first patent awarded to LSU College of Engineering faculty this year.