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Oil-Trapping “Smart Sponges” Could Clean up the Gulf Spill
Although the Gulf oil spill has been plugged, BP’s CEO has been ousted, and the news coverage of the leaky well has decreased, let’s not forget that the aftermath of the spill is still ravaging the gulf. We’ve still got millions of gallons of oil to clean up as thousands of lives are waiting to return to normal in the gulf. Glenn Rink, the CEO of AbTech thinks he’s got a product that can assist us in this quest — it’s called the Smart Sponge and it works by soaking up oil and permanently binding it to the sponge, locking it up forever.
Rink conceived of the product after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. He was looking for a substance that would attract oil and be able to lift slicks away from water, leaving the ocean oil-free. The Smart Sponge floats on the water‘s surface and can be incorporated into oil booms or dropped into the water on its own. Once it comes in contact with oil the viscous substance binds to the Smart Sponge — which is made from an undisclosed “polymer” that is actually derived from oil — and it is permanently secured in the sponge.
Once the oil is locked in the sponge it can be disposed of however you please, it’s considered non-hazardous because the oil can’t get out. You can also burn the sponge for energy. Although we’d rather not see more waste coming to landfills and would love to avoid the emissions from burning oil, at least the spilled crude wouldn’t be wreaking havoc on the environment in the Gulf. Although BP hasn’t picked up the sponge for their cleanup efforts, communities across the US are proving its effectiveness by using it to clean up oil and contaminants in their own backyards.
Via The Daily Green
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