Today on Planet 100: How to Clean Up an Oil Spill (Video)


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Today, on Planet 100, as oil continues to gush from Gulf, we takea a look at the 5 most radical methods for cleaning up an oil spill.The Dome
A five-storey, 100-ton containment dome was deployed last week by British Petroleum with hopes of capping multiple oil geysers now threatening the Gulf coastline.

The dome would have been the first to be deployed at such great depths—over 5,000 feet—but as oil washed up on the shore Sunday, it became clear the experimental method failed to control the oil leaks, primarily as a result of methane ice crystals clogging the dome's funnel.

Via: AP
Chemicals
Planes have dropped 150,000 gallons of experimental chemicals in the region of the Gulf spill to coagulate the oil on the water's surface, forcing it to drop to the bottom of the ocean.

But scientists warn that these chemical dispersants may have major environmental repercussions: while they help keep oil from reaching sensitive wetlands they expose other sea life to toxic substances from which they may never recover.

Via: Huffington Post
Hair & Nylon
Hair has proved to be an effective way to sop oil from water. A combination of hair and oil-loving fungi were used to great effect in the Cosco Busan oil spill of 2007.

One nonprofit—A Matter of Trust—has just sent a shipment of 400,000 pounds of human and animal hair to the Gulf, which could soak up as much as 1000 times its weight in oil. Nylon pantyhose is similarly effective, and Hanes is donating 50,000 pairs to form mats that work to soak up the oily pollutant.

Via: GreenBiz
Microorganisms
One innovative solution currently being considered is the use of micro organisms which literally devour the oil.

A Pasadena company has been in talks with BP about providing microbes as an environmentally safe and cost effective way of consuming oil—the microbes feast on the oil for 30 days before dying.

Via: KHOU
Aerogel
This final technology is still somewhat premature but authorities could consider mopping up future oil spills with NASA's aerogel.

The NASA-created gel was engineered to capture comet dust but it could have a more down to earth application by bonding with the oil in a light-weight foam that can float on water until collected.

Via: Discovery News
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