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Chemical-Eating Microbes Might Clean Up Gulf Oil

Linda R. Sittenfeld|CNBC Senior Producer
Wednesday, 9 Jun 2010 | 4:34 PM ET
Crisis in the Gulf
Getty Images
Crisis in the Gulf

As BP, the Coast Guard, the Interior Department, and other governmental departments and agencies struggle to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, businessman Steve Kennedy offers a simple solution.

"You and I eat steaks and pizza. Microbes eat hydrocarbons," says Kennedy, President and CEO of Bioremediation, Inc., a company that uses microbes to clean up hazardous chemicals.

"I started this company six years ago," he explains, "when I realized the poisoning going on in the manufacturing industry. I saw the need for a green product to replace dangerous soaps and solvents, and to eliminate toxic wastes and disposal costs."

Kennedy is confident that his microbes can be used to clean up the BP oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. "This technology has been around for many years," he points out.

Private-Sector Solution to Oil Spill
Steve Kennedy, president and CEO of Bioremediation, demonstrates how his microbe product can help clean up the Gulf Coast.

"It was used in the Exxon Valdez spill, but people aren't aware. These are naturally occurring microbes. They're out in that water. We mine them from the ocean floor."

The microbes in the Gulf are busy eating up the BP oil as we speak. The problem, according to Kennedy, is, "they are overwhelmed by the huge amount of oil out there. So you need to add lots of microbes."

Bioremediation's microbes digest harmful chemicals such as benzene, found in all kinds of oil. The microbes change the oil into water and harmless gases. No disposal is necessary.

When Kennedy contacted BP, he was referred to the company's website, where he submitted all his information. He did a demonstration for government officials, too. The governor of Louisiana and the Plaquemines Parish president were scheduled to be there but didn't make it.

He is still waiting to hear from BP and others leading the clean-up efforts.

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