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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Fabric Could Help Clean Up US Oil Spill

June 16, 2010

A company from Switzerland which produces a fabric used for absorbing oil said on Tuesday that it had been visited by US officials, after claiming that it could aid in the clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico.

Carlo Centonze, chief executive of HeiQ Materials, said the company had received a visit from US army and consular officials last Thursday to evaluate its fabric that could potentially protect the coastline.

“Our product is being presented today (Tuesday) in Washington and we are waiting for the green light from authorities to deploy our material on the beaches,” Centonze told AFP.

HeiQ Materials is ready to produce up to 10 miles per day of the fabric, which was developed with the German firm TWE, said Centonze, adding that up to five other production facilities could also produce the fabric.

The mats are said to be able to absorb oil and repel water allowing them to be used as a protective barrier along the coastline. “The oil does not spread in the sand but is absorbed by the fabric. It can then be carried away and incinerated in a cement factory or a power plant,” Centonze explained.

Image Caption: Oilguard fabric selectively absorbing oil and repelling water.

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