MIT Unveils Oil Eating Robots

The deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has highlighted the need for better technology to deal with spills on that scale. An estimated 4.9m barrels of oil leaked into the waters of the Gulf over the course of 87 days, with only 800,000 barrels being captured. Now, researchers at MIT have unveiled technology that could help with similar disasters: swarms of oil absorbing robots:

“The Seaswarm robot uses a conveyor belt covered with a thin nanowire mesh to absorb oil. The fabric, developed by MIT Visiting Associate Professor Francesco Stellacci, and … can absorb up to twenty times its own weight in oil while repelling water. By heating up the material, the oil can be removed and burnt locally and the nanofabric can be reused.”

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