Journal article

Laying Waste to Mercury: Inexpensive Sorbents Made from Sulfur and Recycled Cooking Oils

Max JH Worthington, Renata L Kucera, Ines S Albuquerque, Christopher T Gibson, Alexander Sibley, Ashley D Slattery, Jonathan A Campbell, Salah FK Alboaiji, Katherine A Muller, Jason Young, Nick Adamson, Jason R Gascooke, Deshetti Jampaiah, Ylias M Sabri, Suresh K Bhargava, Samuel J Ippolito, David A Lewis, Jamie S Quinton, Amanda V Ellis, Alexander Johs Show all

Chemistry: A European Journal | Wiley | Published : 2017


Mercury pollution threatens the environment and human health across the globe. This neurotoxic substance is encountered in artisanal gold mining, coal combustion, oil and gas refining, waste incineration, chloralkali plant operation, metallurgy, and areas of agriculture in which mercury‐rich fungicides are used. Thousands of tonnes of mercury are emitted annually through these activities. With the Minamata Convention on Mercury entering force this year, increasing regulation of mercury pollution is imminent. It is therefore critical to provide inexpensive and scalable mercury sorbents. The research herein addresses this need by introducing low‐cost mercury sorbents made solely from sulfur an..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by DOE

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Flinders University, The Australian Government National Environmental Science Programme Emerging Priorities Funding (J.M.C.), the Australian Research Council (DE150101863, J.M.C.), FCT Portugal (I.S.A and G.J.L.B.), The Royal Society (University Research Fellowship, G.J.L.B), the EPSRC (G.J.L.B) and the European Research Council (Starting Grant, G.J.L.B.) for financial support. This research was also supported in part by the Mercury Technology Development Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with funding by the Office of Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). We thank Ji Won Moon and Tonia Mehlhorn for assistance with ion chromatography and mercury analyses. We also acknowledge the support of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility at Flinders University. This work was performed in part at the South Australian node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy to provide nano and microfabrication facilities for Australia's researchers. We are grateful to McHughs cafe at Flinders University for supplying used cooking oil and to D.O.G. Chemie for samples of factice. We also thank Richard Fuller, Andrew McCartor, and Budi Susilorini of Pure Earth for helpful discussions regarding mercury pollution due to artisanal and small-scale gold mining. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for DOE under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725.