oildetection CSIRO Comes Up With New Way To Detect Oil

Oil detection - picture by CSIRO

Scientists of the CSIRO have come up with a revolutionary new way to quickly detect and find out how much petroleum hydrocarbons (which you get from crude oil) is present in soil, silt, sediment, or even rock.

This new technique to detect oil was developed with the aid of the waste technology specialist Ziltek Pty Ltd. What makes this new technique so revolutionary is that scientists are now able to detect and find out how much oil there is in a specific area by using a hand-held infrared spectrometer. This means no more bothersome tests, or taking samples and engaging in arduous processing practices.

This technique is not only useful for finding new sources of oil, but it can also be useful when it comes to assessing and monitoring those places where off-shore oil spills have occurred, or even assessing sites where urban redevelopment is planned.

“Petroleum hydrocarbons are a valuable resource, but can also be pretty nasty environmental contaminants,”
explains Sean Forrester, a CSIRO scientist.

“They can remain in the environment for extended periods of time and can be harmful to wildlife, plants and humans. Better tools to detect them makes a rapid response possible.”

The technique developed utilizes infrared signals to detect petroleum and hydrocarbons in samples collected from sites of interest.
“The ability of this new technique to rapidly detect the presence of contaminants at the site has the potential to provide significant cost advantages, in terms of reduced testing costs and the avoidance of delays.” Mr Forrester concluded.