Researchers led by Flinders University have developed a polymer, made from waste products, which can remove crude oil and diesel from sea water.

The new polymer is made from sulphur, which is a waste product of the petroleum industry, and used canola cooking oil.

The polymer acts like a sponge to absorb crude oil and diesel from seawater and turn it into a gel. The polymer can then be squeezed to remove the oil and reused.

The researchers are now working on scaling up production and believe that, when this done, the product will less expensive and more sustainable than the alternatives, such as polypropylene fibres and polyurethane foam, which are currently being used.