Gallery: 5 Innovative Solutions That Clean Up Oil Spills


A jaw-dropping 2,100,000 gallons of oil (as of last Saturday) has already gushed forth from the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico since the devastating explosion that’s had us glued to the news – and it’s still flowing. The U.S. Coast Guard has been actively working to contain the spill by taking drastic action such as setting it on fire, but we had to wonder if there were greener solutions available – and there are actually quite a few to choose from! Read on to see our top picks for ways to clean up oil spills without destroying the surrounding environment.


It may sound insane but desperate times call for desperate measures and BP engineers have begun working on an enormous dome that they propose could be lowered over the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They are hoping that the dome could contain the 1,000 barrels of oil floating towards the Louisiana coastline, but admit that it will take at least 2 weeks – precious time that we can’t afford – to construct.


Mushrooms and hair – not a combo that you’d like to find in a sandwich, but mats made from the mixture offer a totally organic and effective way to sop up oil on water. The technique isn’t just speculation either – it was actually utilized in the Cosco Busan oil spill of ‘07!


Did you know that the key to ridding the oceans of oil may already lie in underneath its surface? Bioremediation — using naturally present microorganisms to clean up oil spills — makes use of bacteria living in the ocean who actually “eat” the oil when it enters their natural habitat. Adding sulfate or nitrate fertilizers to the microorganism population causes them to multiply beyond their natural state and eat up the toxic metals invading their home at up to five times the rate that they would without assistance.


A Norwegian company has come up with a totally natural way to soak up nasty oil slicks – good old’ peat moss! The super absorbent moss they’ve developed can be scattered on the spill to absorb the oil, and then scooped right out of the water along with the oil.


Most pet owners have a LOT of animal hair and fur floating around their homes. San Francisco-based non-profit Matter of Trust is asking dog and cat owners and groomers to donate their pets’ locks (as well as their own) to stuff inside of used pantyhose to create mats and booms that are perfect for soaking up oil.


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  1. awesomeisme November 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    confusing i dont get how this works

  2. eiluawesome November 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm


  3. MichelleMyselfAndI September 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

    This Is Really Cool.

  4. ameesha agrawal November 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

    i think ritha (sapindus) can also be useful for cleaning oilspills.
    being natural it will not harm aquatic life.

  5. HoneyBeeCT September 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Only bacteria on this list addresses truly disposing of the oil. What about Chemical Oxidation? Check out SISCO.

  6. dill17 April 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    clen up oil by using bactera

  7. jahnell February 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

    aye wow thats realy nice to no

  8. conceiveplus February 16, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Excellent thought, if only it works efficaciously.

    Conceive Plus

  9. conundrum88 July 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I just saw a video for a product that could clean up the gulf really easily, called eco-absorb. I am not sure what they are using but the video was fairly impressive. I looked up thier website,, but they do not have any of thier oil only formula for sale. Maybe they are saving it for the gulf.

  10. zetchi July 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

    great idea because this methods could reduce the cost of cleaning up oil spills but how we could use mushroom and hair to clean-up the oil spilled?

  11. Oil-Trapping "Smart Spo... July 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

    […] 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 […]

  12. ecogra June 21, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Science question. What happens to the oil eating microrganism? Where are they in the food chain and which aquatic species are most at risk?

  13. azmi June 11, 2010 at 3:56 am

    how come mushroom and hair could clean-up oil spills?still don’t get it….more explanation.

  14. tea-pot May 28, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    ….. barge in large pre-cast blocks …..construct a containment structure….. include discharging ports …. piping to storage …

  15. SWolfs May 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

    The only guaranteed method is using the Crystal Sea separator to remove the oil from the water, as well as separate the oil from the beachsand and marshlands. Apparently no other technology can complete the task with the same efficiency (2.5 parts per million). And its portable! This sand and soil decontamination technology which works alongside the Genoil Crystal Sea Oil Water Separator address all the oil spill contamination emergencies in the Gulf of Mexico including the beaches, and the Louisiana marshlands.

  16. diverguy May 25, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Disperse tons of straw on the floating oil. See this video.

  17. horse May 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    who do you contact,we have a product that will soak it up and is 100% renewable but we have no idea who to contact.The deepwater horizons web page is a joke.

  18. JaninMichigan May 16, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I thought of this 5 years ago……Vaccum IT UP into a Oil carrying barge/ship…..don’t waste it , don’t add more chemicals to it.
    As it floats to the top Vaccum it up. And or put a huge vaccum
    down at the top of the hole and catch it as it geyshers out and up.
    Why waste it? Place a cyclone fence at the opening to filter out
    dead fish and birds, A simple woman’s idea. I ran it by a Admiral
    5 years ago, and he said” I don’t know why they couldn’t do that, it
    sounds feasible and doable, good idea Jan:”

  19. SDR May 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Nothing will complete the task 100%. A similar all or nothing mentality is rampant with alternative energy. We have cloudy days, some times the wind doesn’t blow (you get the idea).
    One solution is probably not the answer…combining solutions might be the key. Think of the gulf as a giant pool. What we need are skimmers, lots and lots of skimmers (thousands). Get a large scale manufacturer involved, create some jobs and make the resposible companies foot the bill. The contraption will skim the surface of the water pumping the contaminated water/oil into a splitter to split the oil from the water. Any clean water is returned below the suface. Any dirty water is spread over a field of organic material that can eat or absorb the oil from the water. This bio material can then be used as fuel to keep the process going. I am just a tinkerer…

  20. DAMIFIKNOW May 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I feel that this enviroment catastrophy is under estamated impack on fla. and the east coast eco is in dire danger. and if we don’t treat it immediately it will be harder to clean up. So lets the gulf stream help us by putting a barrier between the keys & Cuba ,that has the shortest area between the strait. we arn’t looking ahead enough and start a plan B into efect. NOW is the time to start planing and making a barrier to put in place , it is less then a hundred miles across the strait or we will be facing the worst eco disaster in u.s. history.

  21. healingmindn May 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Paul Stammets has patented mycotechnology delivery systems. Fungal bioremediation actually eats the oil rather than absorb it leaving a nutritional residue – like kombucha. The bacteria would be a good idea that works on a similar process – except BP’s chemical oil dispersant probably sealed their fate. Ideally, the fungas and the bacteria should work together, but not with BP’s filthy habits turning the Gulf into a hell hole.

  22. clancy856 May 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    There are some very rich BIG OIL people that do not want any form of REGULATIONS, for any activity, So NO regulations for DRilling! The Industry can take care of it self!
    The bottom LINE is that the VALVE SHOULD NOT HAVE FAILRED and that there should have been an alternative plan if the valve failed! The use of the floating containment rings was not intended for the open ocean but rather for local water ways!
    The bottom line is that DON’T spill oil if You cannot clean it up. This is not YOUR environment to compromise degrade, damage, or destroy! IT is now time to eliminate ALL off-shore drilling Immediately! Why is off shore drilling banned near the California coast? Not AGAIN NOT on OUR WATCH. PICK UP YOUR DRILL RIGGS and GO HOME! YOU FAILED NOT the valveS!!!

  23. johnny halog May 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    to speed cleanup the oil in the gulf… my suggestion is to gather people who like to earn money collecting oil from the sea
    and sell the oil back to british petroleum with premium price…
    People will be interested to come and collect oil from the sea…

    50,000 people will saturate the sea and people will be interesred to earn money especially many indivisuals dont have

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