Story excerpt provided by The New York Times
Written by Sophia Li
Seven years ago, Paul Edmiston was working in his laboratory on a potential way to detect the presence of explosives. By accident, he created a material that acted as a powerful sponge that could absorb small organic compounds like gasoline, motor oil, and pesticides dissolved in water.
Today Dr. Edmiston, a professor of chemistry at the College of Wooster in Ohio, is hoping that his invention, dubbed Osorb, will have a new commercial application: cleaning the wastewater created by the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.
In its original formulation, Dr. Edmiston said, Osorb was most useful for pulling dissolved oil out of water. Since then he and ABSMaterials, the company that he founded in late 2008 to commercialize his discovery, have come up with about 30 different variations.
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