MyCelx May Have a Cleanup Solution for BP's Oil Spill

oil spill clean up
oil spill clean up

Many fear the oil from BP's (BP) mammoth spill in the Gulf of Mexico will never be cleaned up, harming the ocean and environment for decades to come. But a Georgia company, MyCelx, might give hope. MyCelx, which provides oil-removal technologies, says its patented molecule that bonds to oil could be one solution to cleaning up the Gulf oil spill.

Unlike many of the entrepreneurs who have sent BP, the government and media their ideas, MyCelx is a global company that's up and running, and has already helped clean up oil spills in Canada, among other countries. It recently demonstrated its patented molecule product for both BP and local Louisiana officials.

Mats That Are Sticky for Oil

MyCelx also demonstrated its technology on CNN, showing how its polymer-coated mats catch the oil permanently (through chemical bonds) upon contact. The mats can be attached to the booms that try to prevent the oil from reaching shore. The booms often do a poor job because oil can seep over or under them, but a MyCelx mat attached to the boom can trap that oil. The mats can also clean up oil in sand. And the company applies the same coating to filters, which are used inside high-tech vacuums that suck up oil in marshes and return the clean water.

In a CNBC interview, MyCelx CEO Connie Mixon said that following the presentation, BP has asked the Gainesville, Ga.-based company to submit a proposal. The product will cost five times less than other solutions being used in the Gulf, she says.

MyCelx created its product following the Exxon Valdez spill. Of course, the BP oil spill is massive -- the volume of oil spewing underwater each week is roughly equivalent to one Exxon Valdez spill, and it's been flowing for nearly two months now. MyCelx doesn't have enough of these mats for such a huge spill. But since it's an operational company, as Mixon noted, and the situation is dire and getting worse, perhaps with some manufacturing help, the Gulf could see some relief.

Alaska fishermen are still struggling 21 years after the Exxon Valdez spill. If that's any indication for the Gulf of Mexico, the situation looks grim, and any effort to clean up the oil, especially one that looks promising, should be taken.