Israeli company uses basalt fibers for ocean cleanup

EcoBasalt says its SB-1 product can reduce environmental damage caused by oil spills.

A floating oil spill threatens a fragile wetlands ecosystem. (Shutterstock.com)

A floating oil spill threatens a fragile wetlands ecosystem. (Shutterstock.com)

Oil giants like Shell, BP, Chevron, Petrobras and Lukoil are keeping tabs on the Israeli clean-tech startup company, EcoBasalt, hoping it will provide the much-needed solution to oil spills.

Oil spills threaten wildlife. (Shutterstock.com)

Between 180,000 and 240,000 marine oil spills occur around the world every year. The spilled oil affects marine life, birds and port cities.

Seeing that current oil spill containment and removal products are slow in absorption, expensive, often ineffective and sometimes even potentially toxic, four accomplished scientists and business executives – Robert Barzelay, Prof. Yuli Gor, Vadim Manov and Aviran Mishiev – launched EcoBasalt in February to offer “high-quality sorbent materials and a wide range of oil adsorption products for the Oil & Gas industry, refineries, and oil transportation, bunkering and storage companies.”

Their first product is called SB-1 – a mineral sorbent made of basalt fibers from volcanic rock that, according to the company’s website, is “more efficient and more effective than any sorbent currently on the market, that allows the removal and use of adsorbed oil, and that is fully recyclable and eco-friendly.”

SB-1 has already been tested by independent laboratories in the US, the Netherlands and in Israel. The company says the product is safe for the environment and constitutes no health hazards.

“SB-1 will provide a dramatic improvement in the tackling of oil spills,” the company says on its website. “In a short time SB-1 will become the ‘gold standard’ against which other sorbents will be measured.”

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.