Oil spill are some of the most costly events to clean up, not only economically, but also environmentally. But at NRRI they have come up with an environmentally stable and sustainable product that will clean up oil spills using a corn byproduct.
Tim Hagen, a researcher at NRRI/UMD said, "Corn stover is the leftover stocks from when you harvest corn basically. And there's two uses for it, one you can till it back into the ground to provide till and organic matter. Or you can harvest it and find new uses for it such as an oil absorbent."
Conventional clay and chemical oil spill cleaners are not sustainable because you have to mine it out of the ground. But by using the porous features naturally found in cord stalks you can clean up oil sustainably.
"It has those hallow fibers that allow it to draw a wick in oil to its surface." Said Hagen.
Matt Coy, President at Clean Plus, Inc. says this is a great sustainable resource. His company harvests the corn stalks, and makes it into a usable product.
"The reason we chose corn stover is because it's a high performing medium. Works far better than traditional products and offers enhanced disposal options and its truly sustainable rather than a mined clay type product." said Coy.
Not only is the product green itself, but it's used to clean nasty oil spills that can pollute our environment. And it works more efficiently as well, meaning you don't have to use as much product.
Coy says, "Pound for pound this product will absorb just over 5 times more than the same amount of clay."
Clean Plus Inc. is planning on opening other small facilities all across the corn belt for processing of the stalk material.
Meteorologist Adam Lorch