AbstractCoconut coir, an agricultural waste, was chemically modified using esterification by fatty acid chloride (oleoyl chloride and octanoate chloride) for oil spill removal purposes. The modified coir (coir-oleate and coir-octanoate) were characterized by spectroscopy, thermal studies, contact angle, and morphological studies. The modified coir exhibited an enhancement towards the hydrophobic property but a decreased thermal stability. The oil adsorption performance was tested using a batch adsorption system. The effect of sorbent dosage, oil concentration, and effect of adsorption time on the adsorption capacity of the modified coir were also studied. From the analysis, the long chain oleoyl chloride (C18) was shown to be a better modifier compared to octanoate chloride (C8). The isotherm study indicated that the oil adsorption fitted well to a Langmuir model rather than Freundlich model. From the kinetic study, the result revealed a good fit in pseudo-second order model for all samples studied. The study therefore suggests that esterified coconut coir can serve as a potential biomaterial for the adsorption of spilled oil during operational failures.