Dateline Discovery on NBC
Keith Morrison - Reporter
Jeff Pohlman - Producer
The OttiMat™ is an innovative product that uses recycled human hair to repair and prevent the environmental damage caused by oil spills.
Comprised of 99% recycled human hair and 1% Polypropylene Skrim, OttiMat adsorbs (holds on to) oil.
The OttiMat is an innovative product that uses recycled human hair to repair and prevent the environmental damage caused by oil spills. Comprised of 99% recycled human hair and 1% Polypropylene Skrim, OttiMat adsorbs (holds on to) oil.
The Environmental Angle
In the US alone, 60 million pounds of human hair are disposed of in landfills each year. The OttiMat avoids the use of toxic oil cleaners in our water sources by using hair. Human hair is easily available, low cost and hence in a real sense, cost effective.
“When I conducted my research, I realized that I had found a commercial use for what was, at present, a waste product. Millions of pounds of human hair is cut every day and tossed into landfills or dumped into oceans. Hair does not degrade well. In fact, some samples have been found that are thousands of years old. Using it for bioremediation of oil spills would put it to work while simultaneously reducing the amount of waste in our landfills – a real win-win situation. Also, the oil saturated bundles can be burned as fuel and energy value of the petroleum they contain can be recovered”, said Phil McCrory, Inventor.
1. Material: 99% Human Hair, 1% Polypropylene Skrim.
2. Adsorbs: Petroleum, Benzene, Ethanol, Formaldehyde, Alcohols, Acetone, and Various other Chemicals.
3. Hydrophobic: Does not retain water.
4. Methods of Use: Adsorbs drips, leaks, and pools on flat surfaces and by floatation on water. When pad is saturated, squeeze or centrifuge adsorbed petroleum product into appropriate storage container.
5. Cleaning Procedure: Clean with a biodegradable cleaner/degreaser. After cleaning, aerate to dry and store for further use.
6. Disposal: Dispose of adsorbed material in accordance with the local, state and federal regulations of your area. OttiMat can be wrung out for re-use many times or burned as industrial fuel.
7. Floats indefinitely.
8. No known health hazards.
9. OttiMat does not “absorb” (or soak in) oil, but rather “adsorbs” (or holds on to) oil.
The efficacy of human hair as an oil Sorbent has been tested and validated by NASA. As proven by NASA, human hair adsorbs up to 5 times its weight in oil while not retaining water. The OttiMat uses recycled human hair that naturally removes oil from water. Human hair does not “absorb” (or soak in) oil as does polypropylene, but rather it “adsorbs” (or holds on) to it. Competitive products such as polypropylene (poly) mats “absorb” oil, and the oil bonds to the material. This bonding precludes much oil from being extracted from the poly pads. However, with the OttiMat, the oil is “adsorbed”, meaning that the oil adheres to the cuticles of the hair. It is this unique property, coupled with the viscosity of petroleum-based products, which allows the OttiMat to be squeezed or centrifuged for recovery of the oil. The mat can be wrung out for emergency re-use many times or burned as industrial fuel. 98% of the oil extracted by the OttiMat can be recovered. Human hair leaves less incinerated residue than polypropylene. The OttiMat has a tensile strength of approximately 38 lbs. and can be used in large-scale petroleum recovery.