Bioremediation

CCC's saponins are natural biodegradable surfactants that can remediate oil drenched soil supporting the clean up of oil spills, or to reclaim land after oil extraction. The saponins are plant derived detergents forming micelles to separate oil from the contaminated soil. The saponins help bringing microorganisms which metabolise the oil in close contact with soil particles. The interaction between the surfactant and the living microorganisms is critical for this process to work. It is expected that biosurfactants are more gentle to the microorganisms than synthetic surfactants. In direct comparison with bacteria derived sphingolipids plant derived saponins had a much better performance according to a study by Saskatchewan Research Council [2] In addition, biosurfactants are preferable, because the microorganism-biosurfactant mixture can stay in the environment, and will naturally break down, after the oil has been metabolized.

In the province of Alberta, 900 million mT of oil contaminated soil is being trucked to landfills every year. In Alberta the topic of remediation is growing in importance every year. [1] Alberta requires that oil companies retiring old wells, clean them up before they get permits for new drilling sites. This means that they dig out the contaminated soil by front loader, load it on trucks, and transport the soil to certified landfills. Considering that a trucking hour costs over $100, the cost of this process is $90 billion per year. Bioremidiation is estimated to work for half the cost. 

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[1] Conference Highlights – Canadian Land Reclamation Association Alberta AGM & Conference, 2015

[2] SRC Study