GM Making Chevy Volts With Recycled Deepwater Horizon Oil Containment Booms

By Nicholas Jackson

Talk about a genius public relations move. General Motors is making the Chevy Volt even more eco-friendly by building the newest units out of partially recycled equipment used in the fight to stop Gulf oil from spreading after the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year.

Oil booms are, generally speaking, tube-shaped cylinders of netting which contain some material used to block the spread of oil. In the case of the Gulf oil leak, most of that internal material was polypropylene, an oil-absorbent plastic--and an awful lot of it was used, saturated with oil, and discarded. But GM is taking a multi-step process to recycle that plastic.

Heritage Environmental, a waste-disposal company, collects the booms, then passes the polypropylene to Mobile Fluid Recovery, which spins the material to separate the plastic from the oil and wastewater. Then Lucent Polymers treats the oil-less plastic, passes it to a GM plant which creates parts from it, and then to a GM assembly line.

Read the full story at Popular Science.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/gm-making-chevy-volts-with-recycled-deepwater-horizon-oil-containment-booms/68425/