DOST unveils bio-based technology for oil spill cleanup

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) showcased a bio-based polyurethane foam technology to solve oil spills, known as “CocoFlexSorb.”

It is developed by a Balik Scientist from DOST’s National Integrated Research Program (NICER) Center for Sustainable Polymers at the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT).

Unlike commercially available oil-absorbing technologies, CocoFlexSorb boasts superior oil absorption capacity and can absorb various types of oil, including light, vegetable, kerosene, engine, and bunker oil. The technology is also reusable up to 40 times and is environmentally friendly.

Field tests conducted in Occidental Mindoro in May with the Philippine Coast Guard have shown promising results. However, further testing and development are still necessary before the technology can be commercialized.

DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. lauded MSU-IIT’s collaborative efforts with industry and highlighted the importance of continuous research and development to advance technology.

The CocoFlexSorb technology can provide a better quality of life for Filipinos by improving water cleanliness and promoting a healthy environment.

The Center for Sustainable Polymers at MSU-IIT also inaugurated three product lines, including Rigid Insulation Foam Panels that use coconut oil-derived polyol, without any petroleum-based substitutes, Viscoelastic Foams, a bio-based alternative to memory foams, and Superoleophilic Foams, which have shown potential in absorbing various types of oil.

DOST’s NICER program funds universities like MSU-IIT to improve regional research by integrating development needs with existing research capabilities and resources. The program provides institutional grants for R&D capacity building to enhance their Science and Technology (S&T) infrastructure.

The DOST Balik Scientist and Project Leader of MSU-IIT’s Center for Sustainable Polymer, Dr. Arnold A. Lubguban, said that the eco-friendly and cost-effective polymers derived from natural sources could mitigate the impact of oil spills.

The breakthroughs in MSU-IIT’s research demonstrate the harmonization of resources combined with support given to Filipino scientists.

DOST Undersecretary for R&D Leah J. Buendia emphasized the need to develop the country’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem by linking academe, industry, and government to upgrade products and services in local companies.

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