Industrial Importance of Alkenes
Removal of Oil Spills
Polyisobutene (PIB, poly-2-methylpropene) is the main component of the commercial product Elastol (DESA, LLC, Virginia, USA). Elastol is an efficient, non-toxic, polymeric agent to remove oil spills. If an oil spill is sprinkled with Elastol, the intertwined polymer chains of Elastol disentangle and form a viscous mat with the oil. This mat can then easily be removed from the water surface. In addition, the oil can be recovered from the polymeric mat by separating the mixture with the help of a shear pump. For example, 200 g of solid Elastol absorb 350 liters of gasoline, 700 liters of diesel fuel and more than 1000 liters of light or 1500 liters of heavy fuel oil. For special applications, e.g. the cleaning of tanks, liquid Elastol is used (information from www.elastol.com).