Bio-recycling: resource recovery and reduction of oily hazardous wastes via biosurfactant washing and bioremediation

  • Rahman, Pattanathu (CoI)
  • Lord, Richard (PI)

Project Details


This study will apply soil-washing technologies to other oily
industrial wastes to enable recycling of uncontaminated primary resources, or
recovery of secondary resources. Use of biosurfactants, artificially
concentrated solutions of natural microbial secretions, will ensure that any
residues in washed solids are fully biodegradable, and that the liquid
eluates are amenable to bioremediation after separation of useful oil.

The primary objective is to evaluate the use of biosurfactant
soil-washing as a process-based treatment of particulate wastes, as a
precursor to oil recovery or enhanced bioremediation, and as a mechanism of
resource recovery or waste minimization. The specific objectives required to
achieve this are as follows:

(1) To review the “state-of-the-art” of soil washing technology, identify
commercially available biosurfactant products, candidate waste streams, and
obstacles to implementation, using international scientific and technical

(2) To identify and sample 10 suitable oily waste streams of significant
volume, economic or environmental significance

(3) To optimise experimental biosurfactant washing conditions, including
surfactant: water: waste ratios, agitation, temperature, timing, reagents,
and other physical, chemical or mechanical factors.

(4) To develop effective physio-chemical separation of oil and aqueous
phases, allowing recovery of oil and recycling of biosurfactant solution.

(5) To investigate usage rate, lifetime and cost of biosurfactant solutions.

(6) To assess the enhanced aerobic degradation of oil in eluates using liquid
bioreactor experiments, and in washed solids using conventional composting

(7) To evaluate the in-cycle biosurfactant enhancing potential of appropriate
bacterial strains.

Effective start/end date1/09/0530/09/08


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