Now this is just plain cool. When oil is spilled, like in the Gulf of Mexico in summer of 2010, various materials are used to help clean up the spill. Specifically, a material is used that only absorbs oil, not water, making it an ideal tool for oil spills in oceans and lakes.
Sometimes called “booms”, they come in long sausage-looking shapes tied together so they can be strung around an oil spill, creating a perimeter to absorb the spilled oil. Typically, these booms are thrown away or even burned as fuel. Chevy has come up with a new way to deal with the leftovers.
They are being recycled and turned into the parts for Chevy Volts. The booms are spun in a centrifuge, removing the oil and leaving the plastic core. The plastic is then melted and formed as plastic vehicle parts. Cool huh?
Chevy is not just using the booms for raw materials. They also use leftover plastic packaging from their other car plants and tires from testing facilities. Around 75 percent of each plastic part in this program is from the recycled material, the other 25% new. This program will use 227 miles of dirty oil booms and divert 212,500 pounds of waste from landfills.
The ultra-green car market is really getting competitive as evidenced by this new variation on sourcing materials. Hopefully we will see more competition in the form of new vehicles brought to the market. As much as I appreciate having two options for totally* green cars, it would be nice to have a long list of options to choose from, and cheaper ones too.
*I don’t consider the Chevy Volt nearly as green as the Nissan Leaf