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New polymer could enable oil recycling in the UK

A groundbreaking new technology that could enable users to solidify and recycle oil is nearly ready for release in the UK.

Already being put to use in the US to clean up the Deepwater oil disaster, CI Agent technology allows oils, petrols and other hydrocarbons to be recycled into asphalt. The chemical is an environmentally friendly blend of seven polymers, which bonds to hydrocarbons of all kinds and solidifies them into a rubber-like mass.

CI Agent UK managing director Ross Atkin told MRW: “Conclusively bonded it will not drip, it will not leak. It is like a piece of rubber. It is dry and you can squeeze it and it will not leak out any hydrocarbons.”

The product can be ground into pellet form and incorporated into similar recycling processes as redundant care tyres, which are recycled into playground matting and asphalt.

Atkin said: “It truly is a new product to the UK. We’ve had many conversations with the Environment Agency (EA) looking at options for it to be a product and not a waste. That’s what we’re aiming for in the UK market.”

The technology would be aimed at large construction companies and the electrical utilities industry, where the polymer would be used to help collect hydrocarbon spills around construction dig sites and deep electrical transformers.

Currently, the company is applying to the EA’s ’end of waste’ test for waste oils to have it re-categorised as a recyclable product instead of a hazardous waste.

“We’re talking to a number of recycling companies in the UK which are generally companies that would deal with recycling other rubber materials, things like car tyres. We will be seeking to work with them to go through this ’end of waste’ process so that we can recycle our product.”

The polymer is expected to arrive in the UK in July.

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