Oil Zapper

  • Oil is a complex mixture, it contains four major fractions of hydrocarbons and floats on water because of high surface tension.
  • During an Oil Spill dispersants are used which reduce the surface tension between oil and water allowing oil to dilute and spread or it will fall to the ocean floor.
  • However, using dispersants are not a solution because the oil won’t be visible but it will remain in the water. Also, most dispersants are man-made chemicals and some are toxic.
  • To address such concerns Dr Banwari Lal’s team at TERI developed Oilzapper, a patented light brown powder that is a cocktail of four different bacteria that degrade these hydrocarbons. The powder can be used both on the sea and also on land.
  • Patent for this technology, for which the patent is held by a joint ONGC TERI Biotech Ltd and was used during the last major oil spill near Mumbai in 2010.

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