A Laboratory Investigation of Potential Use of Green-Based Agent for Oil Spill Remediation

  • Miral K. Abuoudah

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Oil spills are considered as major universal environmental catastrophes that can have detrimental instant and long-term consequences. The urge to develop efficient spill remediation technologies has been a main research focus for long years. This study investigated the use of cholesterol, an amphiphilic bio-based agent, as an effective agent to mitigate oil spills. The effectiveness of the agent, determined by reduction in oil slick surface area, was used as response indicator. Results demonstrates the agent's physical phase influence on oil. As powder, it resulted in adsorbing the spill and creating solid aggregates, while it resulted in oil herding when applied in liquid form, dissolved in a solvent. Four different samples were examined and the best performing cholesterol was then tested as solution in 3 organic solvents, namely in gasoline, biodiesel and toluene. The highest removing efficiency of powder-based cholesterol was 73.22±2.03%. Biodiesel was found to be the best dissolving solvent, resulting in 79.11±0.74% herding efficiency as . The prepared suspension reduced water surface tension to 28 mN/m, with spreading pressure of 45 mN/m. Full factorial design (FFD) was used to investigate the effect of water salinity, temperature and agent to oil ratio (AOR) on the performance of agent. Responses were analysed statistically using Minitab software through ANOVA. A regression model was developed and performance was optimized using response surface methodology (RSM). Results show that water salinity and temperature have significant effect on the agent's performance, while AOR effect was not significant (p-value=0.079). Salinity negatively affects the performance while temperature has a positive effect. The developed model represented the experimental data with a determination of coefficient (R2) exceeding 95%. This study demonstrates that the developed agent is a promising bio-based surfactant agent, which is on a par with similar conventional herding agents in practice. However, it should be modified, functionalized, to enhance its performance in saline water.
Date of AwardJun 2020
Original languageAmerican English


  • Oil spills
  • Cholesterol
  • Biodiesel
  • Oil herders
  • Oil solidifiers
  • In-situ burning
  • Green alternatives
  • Oil spill remediation.

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