The catastrophic BP Deepwater Drilling Platform oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico started on April 19, 2010, and was not declared “completely blocked” until September 19 of the same year. When a large amount of black oil flows to the sea and people try their best to block the spread of oil on the sea, a large number of oil fences are used. Now, the secondary value of these fences is being explored by the automobile industry.
Oil fences are usually made of tubular mesh, filled with plastic filament or foam material, and arranged in a circle on the sea surface; this arrangement blocks the spread of oil floating on the surface of the sea.
In the treatment of oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, most of the filling materials used in the oil booms were oil-absorbing plastic polypropylene. Because of the broad scope and long duration of the oil leakage, some oil fence manufacturers had to work overtime in production. Now that the oil flow has been stemmed, the oil booms, full of oil, have been dumped on the local beach for disposal. The abandoned oil fence stretches for at least 100 kilometers, causing a headache for locals who must now deal with the removal of the fence.
Fortunately, GM has plans to make a practical contribution to the environment by making auto parts out of plastics separated from waste oil booms. It is reported that the recycling of these materials will involve many steps. First, a waste recycling company is responsible for collecting waste oil fences and stripping the polypropylene materials out of them. Then, the polypropylene material is delivered to the company, which uses a large high-speed centrifugal drum to remove the oil and wastewater adsorbed in the oil fence. The third step is completed by Lucent Polymers, which processes dehydrated and deoiled polypropylene materials into plastic particles suitable for injection molding. Finally, GDC company uses these plastic particles to make auto parts. Specifically, they will be used to produce the radiator deflector, an internal part of the new concept car.
The radiator deflectors in the new concept car will use 25% of materials from the waste oil fence, 25% from the waste tires, and 50% from other resin materials. This process is expected to be able to digest all the waste oil fences and prevent at least 45 tons of polypropylene from entering the landfill, and it is hoped that this method will be used in the recovery of similar materials in the future.