Texas Tech: Cotton nonwoven absorbs oil spill...
Texas Tech

Cotton nonwoven absorbs oil spills

Designed for marine environments, Towelie can absorb oil while repelling water (Source Texas Tech)
Designed for marine environments, Towelie can absorb oil while repelling water (Source Texas Tech)

On October 3, 2021, approx. 126,000 gallons (477,000 l) of crude oil leaked into the Pacific Ocean after a pipeline burst near the Southern California coast. Now, the US Coast Guard is racing against time to contain the spill and mitigate environmental damage.
Seshadri Ramkumar, a professor of chemical countermeasures and advanced materials at the Department of Environmental Toxicology of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX/USA, in collaboration with his research team and Jayalakshmi Textiles Pvt. Ltd., Aruppukottai/India, has developed a sustainable cotton product that can absorb oil instantaneously.
Using untreated low-grade cotton, an absorbent, nonwoven mat called Towelie has been developed capable of collecting 50 times its own weight in oil. Raw, low-micronaire cotton is hydrophobic, meaning it will float on the surface of the water without sinking – ideal for toxic oil absorption.

Texas Tech - Towelie Demo (Biodegradable Oil Sorption)


While most commercial oil-absorbing materials are synthetic, Towelie is made of natural materials that are biodegradable and safe for marine life. The product is ready for distribution and available in 100% cotton or 90% cotton formulations – both are reusable and environmentally safe.

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