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Web Exclusive | September 2019

All-cotton toxic oil absorbent

Sustainable and cost effective all-cotton oil absorbent developed. Recent drone attacks on the world’s largest oil processing facility and an oil field in Saudi Arabia emphasises the important need for safety requirements in the oil and gas sector. Additionally, in the case of oil absorbents, with plastic contamination in both earth and marine environments, there is a heightened need for non-plastic products that are biodegradable.

Recently, a swiss replica watches company in the High Plains of Texas has come out with a timely and sustainable solution, Towelie. Lubbock, Texas-based E Innovate has collaborated with a company from Chennai, India to release a biodegradable all-cotton product to the global oil and natural gas industry. Ronald Kendall, Jr., President of E Innovate recently spoke about the positive attributes of the product. Already the product is used by the oil and gas sector in the Permian Basin in Texas. “We want to expand our product offerings to solve oil spill issues from garages to offshore facilities,” stated Ronald Kendall, Jr.

Ronald Kendall, Jr undertook research in the Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory as an undergraduate at Texas Tech University, which has led to the commercialisation of Towelie wipe. Ideation and collaboration are important to take a product to market space. In speaking about the collaboration with the Indian company, Kendall, Jr, stated, “it helps to capture the strengths of United States and Indian companies to offer cost effective solution.”

How important are these industrial products for the cotton sector? Jeffrey Kitten, a partner in Slaton-based Kitten Land Company that farms about 11,000 acres of cotton in the High Plains of Texas lauded the release of cotton industrial product. Jeffrey Kitten, a fourth generation cotton farmer stated, “To continue to grow cotton in the highly competitive environment, we need to find all new and value-added applications for cotton.” “Thinking beyond conventional products such as towels and blankets is needed,” added Kitten.

Currently, majority of oil absorbents in the market are synthetic based and can lead to micro plastic problem. “Our all-cotton absorbent tackles that problem and will be a viable solution for toxic oil spill contamination in an environmentally friendly way,” stated, Ronald Kendall, Jr.

The all-cotton oil absorbent will be sustainable, cost effective and will not lead to micro plastic issue. Plastic contamination is a genuine environmental issue that needs serious attention and more importantly, a timely solution.

TowelieTM absorbent will provide a solution to an important environmental problem without leading to secondary contamination like micro plastics in the environment. 

By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA
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