The Chevy Volt is taking aim at the green market. Not only did it nab the 2010 green car of the year award, but it’s also helping to clean up the mess that big oil company BP made in the Gulf of Mexico.
GM is recycling 10,000 pounds of oil-soaked booms from the gulf into parts for the Volt. Instead of sending the booms to landfills, their absorbent polypropylene (which bears plastic-recycling #5) filler will be cleaned and recycled, GM said in the press release:
“This was purely a matter of helping out,” said John Bradburn, manager of GM’s waste-reduction efforts. “If sent to a landfill, these materials would have taken hundreds of years to begin to break down, and we didn’t want to see the spill further impact the environment. We knew we could identify a beneficial reuse of this material given our experience.”
We all heard about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But what if scientists could have actually HEARD it?
In the wake of the disaster, several scientists are working to develop new ways to spot and monitor spills over time using sonar–by propagating sonic waves through the water and bouncing them off oil droplets. Some of this research is being done by Thomas Weber and will be presented today at the Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics.
Sonar is useful because it can monitor large and deep swaths of the ocean, and could reduce the need to take individual samples or to visually track oil on the water’s surface. Weber and his team were the first to try using this technology to visualize the oil, going out on several trips to the site, Weber told ScienceNOW:
“We were really doing crisis science…. There were no proven methods for doing this.”