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BCI’s oil solidifying polymer technology has revolutionized the way the electric utility industry accomplishes SPCC-compliant secondary oil containment for substations and transformers.

Oil Solidifer

Our flagship product, oil solidifying polymers (formerly known as C.I.Agent® Oil Solidifying Polymers*), is an integral part of most of the products we create and manufacture. BCI polymers are the only oil solidifier that works on a full spectrum of hydrocarbons ranging from low-end gasoline to heavy crude oil, even FR3, due to possessing a long chain molecular structure that is highly cross-linking with organic liquid hydrocarbons.

The differentiator of our solidifying polymer from other oil solidifiers is that it is a proprietary blend of several USDA food-grade polymers, which allows the “recipe” to be altered to meet challenging hydrocarbon properties. Solidifying polymers are non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-carcinogenic, non-hazardous and solidify hydrocarbons into an inert, solid, rubber-like mass as it suppresses their harmful vapors.

Oil Solidifying Polymers have been tested non-harmful to aquatic plant and animal life and waterfowl. The oil solidifier creates a byproduct that is 100 percent recyclable in most landfills, can be used as raw material for asphalt, rubber and plastic production, or can be burned as fuel.

*C.I.Agent Oil Solidifying Polymers, owned by The Justrite Safety Group, is listed on the EPA National Contingency Plan Product Schedule as a “Solidifier” for use on oil spills in the navigable waters of the United States.

Solidifying Polymer for Oil Spill Clean Up

Oil-solidifying polymers are an essential component of many secondary containment filtration products from Basic Concepts. Oil-solidifying polymers from Basic Concepts are the only oil solidifiers that effectively bond with a wide spectrum of hydrocarbons ranging from low-end gasoline to heavy crude oil.

One of the main applications of oil-solidifying polymers is oil-spill cleanup. Traditional methods of oil-spill cleanup are expensive and labor intensive. The oil solidifiers from Basic Concepts are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional oil-spill cleanup methods. Oil solidifiers are easy to use and do not require the manpower that other cleanup options do.

Oil-Solidifying Polymers from Basic Concepts are even listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Contingency Plan Product Schedule as a solidifier for use on oil spills in United States waterways. This guide will breakdown the science behind oil-solidifying polymers so users can see what makes oil solidifiers from Basic Concepts an ideal option for oil-spill cleanup.


The Challenges of Oil-Spill Cleanup

Oil spills are tragic events that require a lot of manpower and equipment to remedy. Methods of oil recovery vary from situation to situation, but in general, the most commonly employed oil-spill cleanup methods are manual recovery, skimming, burning, and the use of chemical dispersants.

Manual recovery. Cleaning up oil spills using manual recovery involves the use of rakes, shovels, or vacuum trucks along the shoreline or at the site of the oil spill to manually remove oil and oily substances from the water. This method of oil cleanup is time consuming and requires a vast amount of manpower. Vacuum trucks are often used in cleaning up oil spills, but they are an expensive option.

Skimming. At the site of an oil spill, boats equipped with floating skimmers will attempt to scrape the oil from a spill off the surface of the water. Skimming is often done at the outset of an oil spill in order to prevent oil from reaching the shoreline. As with manual recovery, this option requires a lot of manpower and equipment.

Burning. Burning—also called situ burning—is a method of oil-spill cleanup that involves setting the spilled oil on fire in order to separate the oil from the water. Burning can only be effectively employed when there is a sufficient amount of oil collected on the surface of the water to sustain a burn. Additionally, burning can have a negative impact on the environment if winds carry debris from the burn onto the shoreline.

Chemical dispersants. Sometimes planes or other vehicles are used to drop chemical dispersants onto an oil spill. Chemical dispersants break down oil into droplets that can be more easily broken down by microbes. One drawback to using chemical dispersants though is that instead of oil pollutants being on the surface of the water, dispersants can cause oil buildup or chemical buildup on the seafloor which could harm the ecosystem.

The Science Behind Oil-Absorbing Polymers

Oil-solidifying polymers are an alternative to traditional oil-spill cleanup methods. The oil-solidifying polymer from Basic Concepts is a petroleum-based proprietary blend of seven different polymers. The polymers are hydrophobic which means they will always float on salt water and fresh water. When the polymers come into contact with a hydrocarbon—like oil—they solidify into a rubber-like mass that retains the substance and does not allow it to leak back into the water.

Most oil-solidifying polymers on the market are a combination of only one or two polymers. What makes the oil solidifier from Basic Concepts so effective when used to collect a range of hydrocarbons is the oil solidifiers from BCI are made with a blend of seven different polymers that are designed to capture many different hydrocarbons. Oil solidifiers are even effective when used to collect many biodegradable oils.

Once the oil-solidifying polymers have bonded with the spilled oil in the water, they simply have to be collected from the surface of the water. The solidified oil collected by the polymers can then be recycled upon collection. The polymers used to make the oil solidifying blend from Basic Concepts are non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-carcinogenic, and non-hazardous which means they—unlike other oil-spill cleanup options—pose no threat to the environment.


National Contingency Plan Product Schedule

The Environmental Protection Agency is the regulatory body responsible for drafting the guidelines and requirements meant to protect the environment. The EPA has compiled a list called the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule which contains all the confirmed products that are used in response to oil spills.

Basic Concepts’ Oil Solidifiers are listed on the EPA’s Product Schedule under “C.I.Agent” as an oil-solidifying polymer. This means that the EPA has received data concerning the oil-solidifying polymers used by Basic Concepts regarding oil-spill cleanups.

Oil Solidifiers can be Used to Respond to Oil Spills

The Oil Solidifier is the flagship product of Basic Concepts. For over 25 years, Basic Concepts has provided secondary containment and oil-trapping filtration systems to military installations and industrial sites all over the world. Our environmentally friendly, cost effective, and easy-to-use oil-solidifying polymers can be deployed as a safe and efficient response to oil spills. 

Basic Concepts is the world leader in the portable spill containment market because we offer high quality products that have features that customers prefer year after year! Please call to discuss your secondary containment requirements with one of our experienced, on-staff technical sales representatives. We’ll gladly supply references, comparative test data, and sample spill containment materials to help you make an informed decision. Basic Concepts is part of the Justrite Safety Group.