SpillFix provides oil companies with a new cleanup option.


North American oil and gas companies have a new option when it comes to dealing with spills.

Made from coconut husks, SpillFix Industrial Organic Absorbent increases its surface area as it works so it can absorb more liquid. The product works by encapsulating the liquid and then trapping the hydrocarbon inside its hollow channel structure, says David Roache, chief executive officer for Galuku Group North America, the parent company of American Green Ventures.

“SpillFix is the first absorbent innovation in 35 years,” he says. “Our product is half the cost of what’s on the market right now, and it’s more absorbent so people can use less.”

Related: GOM Pipelines: Coal Production Down; Refinery Runs To Hit Record High

Joe Davids of Galuku Group Limited in Australia invented SpillFix after a trip to Malaysia. He noticed the absorbing ability of coir — a coconut byproduct — and then developed SpillFix after returning home. It was later marketed and used with success in Australia and other parts of the world. American Green Ventures secured the exclusive marketing and distribution rights for SpillFix in North America and is now rolling out a campaign to educate businesses about the product.

“It’s made from a renewable resource — coconut husks — and is safe for landfills, providing lower disposal costs and no environmental impact,” Roache says, adding that the husks keep the hydrocarbons trapped so they can’t leach out into surrounding areas. “Used SpillFix can also be used as a fuel source in some energy-producing incinerators as well.”

CLAY-FREE MATERIAL

Unlike clay-based absorbents, SpillFix is dust-free, says Roache, adding that it was just named new product of the year in the hazmat safety category by Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

Related: GOM Pipelines: Energy Companies Start Year Strong

“It also works faster. When compared to clay-based products, SpillFix clients use 80 percent less product to clean up spills in about half the time, so there is less downtime,” he says, adding there is no heavy residue to clean up afterward, which is common with some clay products. “SpillFix also absorbs odors.”

For example, Roache says one company testing the product in the U.S. market went from using 18 pallets of clay-based absorbents to just 3 1/2 pallets of SpillFix. The company already counts Baker Hughes among its customers.

“Another great thing about SpillFix is that it can be reused,” he says. “Companies are able to use less of the product, which adds to the
cost savings.”

Related: Baker Hughes executive named SPE president

OIL AND GAS USES

For the oil and gas industries, SpillFix is a good fit, Roache says. “It works in all temperatures and can be easily stored and used so employees can get to it,” he says.

With oil prices so low, many companies are looking to save money, and Roache says SpillFix can do just that since less of the product is needed and costs associated with transportation and disposal are lower. “Companies save in multiple areas — cost of product, they use less product so transportation costs decrease, it can be disposed of in a landfill so there’s no special cleanup costs,” he says. “It’s truly a win-win product.”

As for how it can be used in the field, Roache says some companies keep it on hand to deal with emergency spills while others may use it regularly by placing some beneath any pipes or areas with drips. “It’s a very flexible product, and you use just as much as you need to,” he says.

SpillFix is available in 7-pound and 20-pound bags as well as 10-foot and 5-foot boom socks.

“It’s very easy to use and absorbs on contact,” Roache says. “It’s also lighter than traditional absorbents so if a company is worried about their employees lifting heavy bags, this is another alternative.”


Related Stories