July 30, 2012

Oil giants like Shell, BP, Chevron, Petrobras and Lukoil are keeping tabs on the Israeli clean-tech startup company, EcoBasalt, hoping it will provide the much-needed solution to oil spills.

Oil spills threaten wildlife. (Shutterstock.com)

Between 180,000 and 240,000 marine oil spills occur around the world every year. The spilled oil affects marine life, birds and port cities.

Seeing that current oil spill containment and removal products are slow in absorption, expensive, often ineffective and sometimes even potentially toxic, four accomplished scientists and business executives – Robert Barzelay, Prof. Yuli Gor, Vadim Manov and Aviran Mishiev – launched EcoBasalt in February to offer “high-quality sorbent materials and a wide range of oil adsorption products for the Oil & Gas industry, refineries, and oil transportation, bunkering and storage companies.”

Their first product is called SB-1 – a mineral sorbent made of basalt fibers from volcanic rock that, according to the company’s website, is “more efficient and more effective than any sorbent currently on the market, that allows the removal and use of adsorbed oil, and that is fully recyclable and eco-friendly.”

SB-1 has already been tested by independent laboratories in the US, the Netherlands and in Israel. The company says the product is safe for the environment and constitutes no health hazards.

“SB-1 will provide a dramatic improvement in the tackling of oil spills,” the company says on its website. “In a short time SB-1 will become the ‘gold standard’ against which other sorbents will be measured.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director