Lankan Grad Developing Oil Spill Solution

Research conducted by the Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group at the University of Maryland (UMD), USA, in developing safe and efficient materials to clean oil spills has been making the news.

(From The Sunday Times) — The research was conducted by Sri Lankan graduate student Jasmin Athas under the guidance of Prof. S. Raghavan.

The University of Maryland’s student newspaper, ‘The Diamondback’ highlighted Jasmin’s research in its March 26 issue. Jasmin is a fourth year graduate student in UMD’s Department of Chemistry.

Aisha Sharipzhan’s article in ‘The Diamondback’ outlines how researchers at UMD “have recently found materials that not only help clean up oil spills more efficiently, but are also non-toxic and even edible to some organisms.”

The research was begun by Prof. Vijay John of Tulane University who is working with professors from 40 different universities. Prof. Srinivasa Raghavan of UMD’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department with the Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group of which Jasmin is a member, is partnering this research.

The research using food-grade ingredients was initiated by Prof. Raghavan and funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). GoMRI is an independent research initiative that was set up after the oil spill in 2010. Funded by British Petroleum (BP), it studies the effects of the oil spill on the environment and human health.

“We are trying to make [a dispersant that is] more bio-friendly, eco-friendly, less harmful to the environment,” the article quotes Prof. Raghavan as saying. “We want something that’s completely nontoxic but which also does a good job of dispersing the oil in the water.”

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GoMRI “In the news” is a reposting of articles about GoMRI-funded research (published by various news outlets). The author’s interpretations and opinions expressed in these articles is not necessarily that of GoMRI.