Fermilab’s Electromagnetic Mop to Clean Oil Spills

Fermilab’s Electromagnetic Mop to Clean Oil Spills

Dept. of Energy

Laboratory: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL)

Technology: Electromagnetic mop (EMOP)

Opportunity: This FNAL-developed system currently has multiple patents pending and issued, and is available for licensing.


EMOP is a simple, environmentally safe method to clean up, recover, and manipulate spilled oil in water and on other surfaces. Additionally, it provides a solution to contain, control, and possibly stop oil leaks. The system uses a patented electromagnetic boom in conjunction with a method for magnetizing oil.

Chemical dispersants are a tradeoff between exposing coastal life to surface oil and exposing aquatic life to dispersed oil. Traditional containment/diversion booms are very commonly used, but alone cannot recover the oil. Additional machinery such as oil skimmers is necessary to remove the oil from the water. Large waves and wind can make the oil slip under or over the boom, causing it to become ineffective. Absorbent booms, on the other hand, are useful absorbing the oil in water, but they become ineffective once saturated with oil. Centrifugation is energy-intensive, and in-situ burning of the spilled oil is both dangerous and dirty.

Benefits: EMOP replaces the systems in a nontoxic, safe, and efficient manner while increasing the efficiency of the remediation process. Magnetite is cheap and natural; it can be removed from the reclaimed oil and reused.


  • Electromagnetic boom/pump
  • Wildlife cleaning
  • Produced water hydrocarbon remediation

Contact: To learn more about partnering with FNAL to license this technology, contact Aaron Sauers at asauers@fnal.gov and visit http://emop.fnal.gov/.

For a detailed video on the EMOP, click here.