Our cork based absorbents range absorbs oil and organic solvents without absorbing water. They float even when they are saturated and can be used to deal with every kind of spills and leaks. CorkSorb products are suitable for using in ATEX environments (see external report). Please choose the products more suited to your needs.
The absorption capacity of the CorkSorb products (9.43 liters of oil/kg of absorbent) is certified by CEDRE (french institute).
CorkSorb products are listed in USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency).
CorkSorb products are approved by Baseefa to work on ATEX areas.
The CorkSorb absorbents, which are certified by the international institute DEKRA in Germany, fulfil the requirements of the Germany Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation andNuclear Safety, 12 March 1990, for absorbents Type I, II, III.
The cork used in the CorkSorb products is selected and treated in order to have the best performance to sorb oils and organic compounds. In these conditions cork has a strong affinity with hydrocarbons and the sorbent effect is almost instantaneous. The cork cells suck the oil by capillarity and retain it.
Comparing with other Sorbent Materials
The CorkSorb range of products use cork as absorbent, and therefore a natural absorbent.
The Cork used as CorkSorb absorbent material is subject to a heat treatment (Clean and environmentally friendly process) to increase its hydrophobicity, its lightness and absorption capacity.
The CorkSorb absorbent material product has the following, important and distinct, characteristics:
A maximum absorption (9.43 liters of oil / kg absorbent - certified by CEDRE) way above the mineral absorbents (eg. sepiolite) and greater or similar than other natural organic absorbents (such as peat or cellulose) and synthetic (such as polypropylene).
Excellent retention of contaminants, does not leach (better performance than the polypropylene and cotton);
More hydrophobic than polypropylene and cotton (absorbs less water when in contact with it for extended periods of time);
Excellent performance when in contact with the mixture oil, water and dispersant. In contact with this mixture hydrophobic absorbents tend to absorb water. The CorkSorb absorbent material, unlike the polypropylene and cotton that sink, remains floating even when saturated with the mixture;
All the above considerations are very important when we are facing a spill on water (Lakes, Rivers, Seas and Oceans). Thus, CorkSorb sea booms assume a remarkable, efficient and unique behavior on a spill situation in a marine environment.
Main disadvantages of other absorbents:
Typically the extraction of such materials have a high environmental impact. These absorbents have low absorption capacity (~ 0.5 - 1 liter / kg absorbent), are heavy and absorb water. All these characteristics make the mineral absorbents not effective in reducing the generated residues and disposal costs become much higher.
They are not natural (nature and sustainability concept is not embedded). Such materials are generally more expensive than the other absorbents. These absorbents have leaching problems and therefore their disposal can be quite complicated and harmful to the environment. Polypropylene booms tend to break when in tension situation (eg.: boom removal from a spill site) and when they are in contact with the mixture of oil, water and dispersant, they sink. Polypropylene is highly flammable (it propagates the flame) and accumulates static energy which can act as an ignition source.
The extraction of this material has a high environmental impact (see here). This type of absorbent is less hydrophobic (absorbs more water when in contact with it for extended periods of time) than CorkSorb absorbent material and therefore tends to sink. While CorkSorb absorbents are commercialized in a controlled particle size, this absorbent (peat) is commercialized in a dustier way and can create, in certain environments, explosive atmospheres.
Advantages of not absorbing water
The hydrophobic characteristics of the CorkSorb products allow its use in situations where you need to do a selective absorption of oil, for example, when spills occur in aquatic environments or wet floors.
In such a situation, an universal absorbent (which also absorbs water) will be saturated with water and have therefore a poor efficiency of absorption of the liquid spilled. The absorbent hydrophobic avoid sending additional water to treat mixed with the spill residues.The products CorkSorb float even after saturation, due to its cell structure and low air density.
These characteristics make the products CorkSorb particularly suitable for dealing with spills in aquatic environments or wet conditions.
There are also available in the CorkSorb product range Universal CorkSorb granules and socks (ref, and SU7120 G03025) for use in situations where it is necessary to absorb water.
CorkSorb products have high chemical resistance for almost all chemical compounds (Chemical compatibility). If you do not find the product lists available, please contact us so we can test.
Safety as priority
Whenever there is a spill of oil, solvents or organic compounds there is also a high risk situation that should be handled with all the safety concerns.
Thinking on that, CorkSorb products have been designed to fulfill all the safety requirements to handle with flammable liquids spills:
1. CorkSorb products have been evaluated by an EU notified body (Baseefa) and considered suitable for being used in flammable environments (see Baseefa's report);
2. The CorkSorb G01006 granules are considered “Not readily combustible solid of Division 4.1” accordingly to the Test N.1: Test method for readily combustible solids concerning the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria(Section 184.108.40.206) The report of this test is available in PDF.
3. Unlike the absorbents that are commercialized in dust, the CorkSorb granules have a controlled granulometry to avoid dust concentration that could lead into dangerous explosive environments;
4. The non-woven fabric used in the booms, pillows and socks has an anti-static treatment in order to reduce the risk of static energy accumulation;
5. The CorkSorb products are supplied in (recycled) paper bags or corrugated boxes in order to minimize the risk of static energy accumulation;
6. Cork is a non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and non-hazardous material.
Nevertheless special care must be taken when using CorkSorb products:
1. After use, the absorbent acquires the properties of the liquid absorbed and as such it must be handled with the special cares related to the liquid absorbed;
2. The CorkSorb products should be handled following the good practices to avoid the generation of static energy;
3. CorkSorb products when in contact with some strong basic solutions or very oxidant liquids may create heat. In the chemical compatibility list you can find some chemical products that have been tested with CorkSorb. If you have questions about the behavior of the products CorkSorb to deal with a chemical in particular, our technical service can do a preliminary test, we just need your contact;
4. ThermaCork can not be responsible by the use of CorkSorb products in other applications than spill absorption;
Hydrocarbon saturated CorkSorb can be used as an alternative fuel source in manufacturing processes of various companies.The heat treated cork used to produce our granules burn to less than 3% ash. These elements makes CorkSorb products ideal to be incinerated. CorkSorb as an 100% organic product can act as a support for microorganisms to establish and slowly decompose the oil absorbed in cork cells.
After being used, CorkSorb absorbents must be disposed of in compliance with local authority guidelines.
CorkSorb will possibly be reused with a reduction of the maximum capacity if submitted to a compression in order to recover the liquid absorbed.
The handling of CorkSorb product after being used should take in consideration that the nature of the absorbed liquid will alter the safety conditions required to deal with the used-up material.