UDaily: Chemical engineering alum leads company cleaning up Gulf oil spill
Diane Kukich at the University of Delaware reports Erik Fyrwald, an alum who earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1981, is chairman and CEO of Nalco, a company that is playing a significant role in the cleanup of the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana.
On May 10 Nalco confirmed that it's providing oil dispersants and support to BP and the responders dealing with the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fyrwald explained the technology in layman's terms as “a dispersant that breaks down oil into small enough particles that it becomes nutrition for the naturally occurring bacteria in the water.”
The technology was initially approved for application to the surface of the water, but the product -- a combination of surfactants and solvents -- is now being tested for use directly at the wellhead. “That method has demonstrated to be effective, and we're waiting for approval on it,” Fyrwald said.
Given the magnitude of the problem in the Gulf Nalco is rapidly ramping up production.
"Our suppliers have shown us great support in getting us the raw materials we need,” Fyrwald said. “This has really been an industry-wide effort to limit the impacts of the spill. We all are committed to helping the people and environment of the Gulf Coast recover as rapidly as possible.”
Read more here.
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