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Oil spill can be soaked up with powder, California company says

A tiny Lincoln company that says its product could help mop up oil from the Gulf of Mexico has embarked on a political and media campaign to get BP's attention.

The company, Mobius Technologies, grinds foam from desk chairs and car seats into a powder. Applied to oil, the powder — called micronized polyurethane powder — quickly absorbs the oil and forms a cake that floats on water indefinitely.

"We're just the best sorbent solution that hasn't been applied," said Mobius manager Brian Hennessy.

The company submitted its idea to BP online several weeks ago but hasn't received a response. BP spokesman Mark Proegler said it received 80,000 such suggestions from the public. He said he hadn't heard of Mobius.

Now the company has enlisted the help of Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who is backing its push to get its powder tested by BP for possible use in the gulf. Matsui wrote a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on Monday urging Jackson to look into BP's lack of response.

Matsui, a member of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, has also reached out to high levels of the Coast Guard, scientists and local senators and representatives in the gulf region about the powder, said Matsui's legislative aide Mara Lee.

Mobius said it has 2 million pounds of the powder in warehouses that could reach the gulf within five days. That amount would soak up about 1 million gallons of oil – or roughly 25,000 barrels, Hennessy said.

The company can produce 1 million pounds every 10 days after that, said its media director Michael Cudahy.

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