Ime Okon Ben

PhD Student
Project title: Sustainable remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated water using novel microbial process and natural fibers.

The petroleum industry is the predominant source of foreign exchange for Nigeria, generating about 70% to the country’s revenue. Exploration and production, have led to negative environmental consequences including affecting the agricultural land and drinking water especially in Ogoniland, southeast Nigeria. My PhD is aimed at developing a novel microbial remediation approach to ground water contamination but combining absorption of hydrocarbon pollutants utilizing natural fibers with microbial remediation.

Water samples will be collected from wells in both contaminated and non-contaminated sites as well as from the community drinking well for characterisation of oil pollutant using standard methodologies. Indigenous microbes capable of degrading hydrocarbons will be isolated from these wells. Model oil pollution, to mimic that in the Niger Delta, will be constructed at GCU and the effectiveness of (a) natural fibres to remove this pollution; (b) selected indigenous to degrade this model oil either as a liquid film or associated with natural fibres will be evaluated.