Sprinkling Sawdust Over Troubled Waters

Every year, hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil spill into the world's oceans--fouling coastlines and killing birds and sea life. Thomas B. Reed, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, has a solution: sawdust. Reed and business partner William L. Mobeck have devised a proprietary heat treatment that modifies the porous structure of sawdust so that it absorbs oil and repels water.

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