Forbes reported that the World Shale Oil & Gas Summit gave the award for best technology innovator of 2012 to Glenn Rink of Abtech Holdings Inc. (OTC Pink:ABHD) for the invention of the Smart Sponge, whose uses include cleaning up oil from oil spills and cleaning dirty water produced from hydraulic fracturing.
As quoted in the market news:
Smart Sponge, as Abtech’s product is called, is made out of extruded plastic in a secret process that makes the sponge highly oleophilic yet hydrophobic. That means the sponge refuses to soak up any water, while it loves oil so much thatthe sponge’s polymer molecules chemically bind with the hydrocarbon molecules. Sounds crazy, right? Once the Smart Sponge has soaked up some oil no amount of squeezing will get it back out.
A pound of Abtech sponge can soak up about three pounds of oil, meaning that once these sponges are fully engorged they are like blocks of fuel. Most generators that power oilfield equipment run on diesel. Abtech is developing generators that will get their power by burning oil-engorged Smart Sponges. The vision is to have a “closed-loop” water-processing system out in the oilfield that uses Smart Sponges to get the oil out of the water, then burns the sponges to power the system.