Oily Mushroom Hair

Interesting small scale technology to help clean up the oil mess in San Francisco.

Using mats made of hair, volunteers are absorbing the droplets of oil that have washed ashore since a cargo ship rammed the base of a Bay Bridge tower last week, spilling 58,000 gallons of fuel.

Hair, which naturally absorbs oil from air and water, acts as a perfect sponge, said Lisa Gautier of San Francisco, who provided 1,000 hair mats. They are about the size of a doormat, tightly woven with dark hair, and feel somewhat like an S.O.S pad. …

Once the mats are soaked with black gunk, oyster mushrooms will take over, growing on the mats and absorbing the oil. …

Gautier said the mushrooms will absorb the oil within 12 weeks, Gautier said, turning the hair mats into nontoxic compost.

Oil Cleanup

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