Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Ocean Oil

PostedJune 6, 2010

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Randy Atkins: One concept is a so-called aerogel.  Matt Gawryla, of AeroClay, says it’s mostly air, but has inert plastics engineered to specifically attract oil.

Matt Gawryla: You can toss it out on top of the water in front of the oil spill and it will start to absorb the oil off the surface of the water without significant absorption of the water itself.

Randy Atkins: The spongy material can be molded into any shape and…

Matt Gawryla: …you can actually wring some of the oil out of this product and then re-deploy it to absorb more oil.

Randy Atkins: Gawryla says the collected oil, or even an oil-saturated aerogel itself, could be used as fuel.  But environmental safety tests are needed before this oil sponge is ready for use.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103 point 5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.