Engineering students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim have developed a device that cleans up oil spills from the shoreline similar to using a vacuum cleaner at home.

The device has rotating brushes and suction to remove from shore. It uses a synthetic absorbent material and the device could also be used to clean up industrial oil spills.

The students have set up a company to market the machine, called Kaliber Industrial Design. They have developed a prototype of the device.

"The brushes are curved in a way that when they apply the absorbent it is spread outwards from the center, and when the brushes are reversed the material is directed to the center of the device, so it can be removed by a vacuum," said team member Arne Sigmund Skeie.