Oil spills can have catastrophic impacts on marine ecosystems so it is important for responsible parties to make every effort to help mitigate these damages when they occur. Cleanup efforts have ranged from bioremediation, to controlled burning, to using chemical dispersants, and skimming. However, these clean up methods can take weeks to complete and are often very costly.
Researchers at MIT have developed a new technique for magnetically separating oil and water that could be used to clean up oil spills. The new technique will improve efficiency, as the method will allow oil to be collected and sent to a refinery to be reprocessed.