"Revolutionary Oil Skimmer Nets $1 Million X Prize"

"A breakthrough in oil cleanup technology allows crews to skim spilled oil off the water's surface at a much faster rate. The new device wasn't developed by Exxon, BP or any of the major oil companies — it's the work of Elastec/American Marine, based in Illinois. And the design won the company a rich prize from the X Prize Foundation.

Oil is attracted to plastic. And water is not. That, in essence, is the basis of Elastec's new skimmer.

It's huge, about the size of a large U-Haul truck. And it looks something like a giant abacus. It has 64 grooved plastic discs, arranged in rows, with a scraper along the top."

Jacob McCleland reports for NPR's Morning Edition October 19, 2011.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011