A method of separating a liquid hydrocarbon material from a body of water, includes: (a) mixing magnetic carbon-metal nanocomposites with a liquid hydrocarbon material dispersed in a body of water to allow the magnetic carbon-metal nanocomposites each to be adhered by the liquid hydrocarbon material to form a mixture; (b) applying a magnetic force to the mixture to attract the magnetic carbon-metal nanocomposites each adhered by the liquid hydrocarbon material; and (c) removing the body of water from the magnetic carbon-metal nanocomposites each adhered by the liquid hydrocarbon material while maintaining the applied magnetic force. The magnetic carbon-metal nanocomposites is formed by subjecting one or more metal lignosulfonates or metal salts to microwave radiation, in presence of lignin/derivatives either in presence of alkali or a microwave absorbing material, for a period of time effective to allow the carbon-metal nanocomposites to be formed.
STATEMENT OF FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH
The present invention was made with Government support under Grant No. DEFC 36-06G086072 awarded by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The government has certain rights in the invention.