A Novel 2D MoS2 Sponge Oil-Water Separator (MDSOS)

EPA Grant Number: SV839489
Title: A Novel 2D MoS2 Sponge Oil-Water Separator (MDSOS)
Investigators: Lee, Dr. Woo Hyoung , Jung, Dr. Yeonwoong , Hwang, Jae-Hoon
Current Investigators: Lee, Dr. Woo Hyoung , Hwang, Jae-Hoon , Jung, Dr. Yeonwoong , Rodriguez, Kelsey , Watson-Bajorek, Amaya , Morillo, Lody , Yoo, Changheyon
Institution: University of Central Florida
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: II
Project Period: April 1, 2019 through April 11, 2020 (Extended to March 31, 2022)
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2019) Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources , P3 Awards


The proposed research project is to develop a 2- dimensional (2D) molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) sponge oil-water separator (MDSOS) - a novel superhydrophobic and superoleophilic sponge technology for highly efficient oil-water separation. In Phase I, we developed a low-weight, low-cost, non-toxic superhydrophobic and superoleophilic porous substances for sustainable oil-water separation. The objective of the Phase II proposal is to further develop the MDSOS technology in terms of stability in long term operation, scale-up of the technology for field applications, life cycle assessment, and education. The main hypothesis of the project is that dual oil repellent activities by two hydrophobic materials, molybdenum disulfide (MoS 2) and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) will improve oil-water separation proficiency by forming superhydrophobic microporous structure.


The P3 Phase II project will further optimize the novel MoS2 sponge technology for field applications, conduct life cycle assessment (LCA), and expand outreach activities. This project is extremely crucial to improving the overall system and allowing this research to go from the laboratory to practical application. Our strategies for the successful implementation of Phase II are to 1) to improve the MDSOS performance for oil-water separation (optimization of MoS2 sponge porosity, alternative use as an oil spill detector), 2) to optimize the MDSOS system for scale-up, 3) to conduct life cycle assessment (LCA) of the developed system, 4) to develop a MDSOS application guideline, and 5) to expand outreach activities: The Hive, UCF's Society of Environmental Engineering (SEE), and UCF's Engineering without Borders (EWB) to promote sustainable principles to community leaders, future leaders, industries, and beyond.

Expected Results:

The long-term goal of this research is to be able to implement the MDSOS system into an actual oil-spill cleanup process that mitigates second-hand pollution. Therefore, one of important aspects of our research is to design the overall implementation of our proposed system to be much more effective and sustainable than current practices. Outputs, social, economic and environmental outcomes will be evaluated by an external panel of reviewers made up of faculty volunteers from science, engineering, social science, economics at UCF at the end of each year with three criteria: project outputs quality, sustainability primer, and education and teamwork. The successful completion of the project will result in a novel sponge technology which will remove oil from any waters and prevent, control, and eliminate oil and hazardous hydrophobic substances pollution using an innovative 2D MoS2- embedded superhydrophobic and superoleophilic sponge oil-water separator (CWA: Clean Water Act - Section 104). The proposed design can be further optimized for oil spills from vessels and facilities with low cost of cleanup (OPA: Oil Pollution Act, 101 H.R.1465, P.L. 101-380).

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Dispersants, MoS2, Oil recovery, Oil spill, Oil-water separation, Superhydrophobic and superoleophilic sponge, Surfactants

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2019 Progress Report

  • P3 Phase I:

    A Novel 2D MoS2 Sponge Oil-Water Separator (MDSOS)  | Final Report