A group of young scientists from Yekaterinburg successfully solve complex environmental objectives for water purification from oil spills.
Scientists have developed a unique environmentally friendly and affordable for industrial applications microgels with polysaccharides which, getting in contact with oil drops immediately cover them with a thin polymer film, forming a capsule. The microencapsulated oil droplets begin to coalesce in between them in a jelly-like structure. In this state, it is impossible to set oil on fire and it is much easier to extract it from water. The technology also allows removing oils and heavy metal ions from the soil and hard surfaces.
At present moment, the main methods of oil spill liquidation are booms, dams, burning, the use of dispersants and sorbents, as well as specific hydrocarbons oxidizing microorganisms and biochemical drugs. Unfortunately, not all methods are effective and completely safe. They require time-consuming process and additional measures.
The freezing temperature of several modifications of hydrogels varies from -15 to -19 ° C, what allows to use them in northern conditions of oil production. Microgels are completely biocompatible, as they are synthesized from natural polymers.
In 2014, the project of BioMikroGels become a resident of Skolkovo, winning the competition of Technostart accelerator for technology start-ups. BioMikroGels received a grant for 5 million rubles without co-financing.
The company's achievements were also marked by the international community: the project was nominated as the Russian Venture Company in November 2014. Ural startup had the opportunity to make a full presentation before an audience of more than 600 people, including leading venture capitalists and the world's scientists, the Forum Falling Walls. BioMikroGels was the only Russian project among the 30 selected companies from around the world.