By Sigrid Tornquist
Robert Rosania, IFM, CPP and CEO of Ehmke Manufacturing, holds two patents relating to “Methods for Ameliorating Oil Spills for Marine & Inland Waters.” In 1996, the company was looking to diversify business by developing products outside the military realm. Rosania, along with Cliff Stokes, MFC, and other team members at Ehmke developed a netted receptacle for an oil-absorbing polymer developed by Abtech Industries in Scottsdale, Ariz. The inventions of the “Smart Sponge” polymer and the netted receptacle were spurred on by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989. The polymer-filled bags, once deployed to an oil spill, absorb the oil, and the floating bags are then retrieved from the water. Once collected, the oil can be removed and recycled along with the polymer.