J Korean Soc Environ Anal Search


Published online May 4, 2020.
Evaluation of Waste Polyurethane Foam as Oil Sorbent for Marine Oil Spill Accident
Nara Youn, Sol-Ah Song, Hye-Ok Kwon, Min-Kyu Park, Seong-Joon Kim, Sung-Deuk Choi 
School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, Korea
Correspondence:  Sung-Deuk Choi, Tel: 052-217-2811, Fax: 052-217-2299, 
Email: sdchoi@unist.ac.kr
Received: 7 April 2020   • Accepted: 4 May 2020
The risk of marine pollution, such as an oil and organic solvent spill accident has been growing because of the increase in transport activities in coastal areas. Thereafter, the development of oil sorbent became important in the aspect of cost-efficiency and effectiveness. Also, polyurethane foams (PUFs), which are difficult to be degraded in the environment, wasted from various commercial products including a car seat and a couch and these waste PUFs are needed to be treated by recycling. The purposes of this study are to evaluate the availability of waste PUFs as oil sorbents and modify the optimal conditions to use waste PUFs as oil sorbents. The waste PUFs (wasted couch and wasted car seat) were used to verify the sorption rates for oils (diesel, MGO, crude oil, and bunker C) and organic solvents (xylenes and toluene). As a result, amount of oil and water sorbed in PUF wastes satisfied with the standard of oil and water sorption (> 10 g/g for oil sorption, < 1 g/g for water sorption) for all kinds of oils and organic solvents (except for bunker C). Also, the amount of oil sorbed in PUF was more governed by the density of waste PUFs, rather than surface area and sorption time. Compared to existing oil sorbents, waste PUFs could save money over 90% because of reusability of waste PUFs. In conclusion, the recycle of waste PUFs as oil sorbents is effective and economic for oil or organic solvent (except for Bunker C) accidents.
Key Words: polyurethane foam, oil sorbent, oil pollution, marine pollution, recycling
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