Deal for Flinders University and CET

Flinders University in Australia and Singapore-based Clean Earth Technologies (CET) are collaborating to advance a university-developed absorbent polysulphide "clean-up" agent for oil spills, nitrogen runoff and more
Deal for Flinders University and CET Deal for Flinders University and CET Deal for Flinders University and CET Deal for Flinders University and CET Deal for Flinders University and CET

Flinders University and CET intend to take the development global. Photo: Flinders University

CET officials said the agreement assigns it a suite of patents that will allow commercialisation of the invention for global markets. In addition, the pair plan to construct the first manufacturing facility for it in South Australia.

"The research found that all of the polysulphides studied were exceptionally effective at trapping various forms of mercury, including a mercury-based fungicide that can pollute water, and is often used on sugarcane, potatoes and rice," Flinders University and CET said.

Research from the university said the new class of sulphur polymers are eight times faster capturing mercury in water than previous polysulphides. It is also a sizeable improvement over the traditional material, elemental sulphur, alone.

CET added that the new solutions are also a complement to its existing cyanide and mercury-free gold processing technology.

"The polysulphide is a polymer that absorbs pollutants and is made from two low-cost ingredients - sulphur, a waste by-product of the petroleum industry which is currently stockpiled in massive volumes around the world, and plant oil, such as canola. It can even be made from waste cooking oil," the company said.

"The Chalker [Flinders] research team is experimenting with a range of polysulphides for different uses. The material has already proven to be effective in managing agricultural fertiliser release, capturing mercury pollution in its various forms, and absorbing oil spills."

The new-assigned patents encompass numerous areas, including a class for novel polymers that is utilised in environmental remediation, as well as a new mercury- and cyanide-free method of precious metal extraction and recovery.

CET chairman and co-founder Paul Hanna called the partnership is an "important step forward" in its search for a solution to pressing environmental waste problems.

"We are heavily focused on some of the biggest and most challenging environmental problems in the world today - devastating oil spills, growing piles of e-waste and toxic mercury pollution," he said.

"Most countries are grappling with the same big issues and they come at a huge financial, social and environmental cost. We are looking for smarter, more effective solutions and our partnership with Flinders University, and the Chalker Research Lab, will go a long way to addressing many of these problems."