By Jeff Woodburn
GROVETON – An innovative oil mitigation product developed and patented by a New Hampshire company may be used in the cleanup of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf Coast. Two years ago, MolecuLoc, LLC, a Groveton-based enterprise, began producing Moleculoc, which is an EPA accepted, environmental-friendly spill control and recovery substance.
“We’re being heavily considered at this point,” said Barry Normandeau, MolecuLoc‘s Treasurer. “It’s a nightmare down there due to the gridlock.” He said of the situation on the Gulf Coast where two of his partners, company President, Lou Niles, and Vice President and General Manager, Robert Larson, have been for weeks. “They’re not doing much of anything to really mitigate the situation yet.”
The Groveton-based business is pressing besieged BP and other officials to use the product. Recently, Moleculoc won an important ally in Congressman Frank Wolf, member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. He encouraged the product to be considered and outlined its attributes. Normandeau said support from other sources is mounting.
The product, which comes in porous, sand-like, or granular-pellet-like consistencies, sorts Hydrocarbon Molecules and encapsulates the molecules permanently. Made from all natural, volcanic minerals, Moleculoc absorbs up to 20 times its own weight. In addition, it’s reusable, fire-retardant and able to be disposed of in most landfills. Normandeau said his company is capable of producing 10 million lbs. a week.
When the product was first launched, the Coos County Democrat reported that the product — used for environmental or other disaster relief applications — encapsulate gasoline, diesel, motor and gear oils, transmission fluids, glycols, coolants, greases, battery acids, machines oils, paints and varnishes, lacquers, thinners, and any other petroleum-based hydrocarbon liquids. “It’s provides a total mitigation that will set a new global standard,” predicted Niles.
Moleculoc has its roots in local, practical problems. During the 2008 ice-storm, Public Service Company of NH needed an on-the-spot mitigation product for small oil leaks from damaged transformers. “(It) has been very effective removing free product as well as stains from impervious solid surfaces…,” wrote Richard Dumore, Supervisor, PSNH Environmental Operations, in a letter to company officials.
McDevitt Trucking, of Manchester-based heavy truck dealer, uses it as well. Jim Lagana, General Manager, remembers Normandeau coming to his facility to demonstrate Moleculoc for several veteran mechanics, which, as he said, had been “turning wrenches for years.” Normandeau dumped the powdery substance on a puddle of oil and not only did the oil disappear, but the slippery stain as well. “We were blown away,” Lagana said, it was like some kind of “magic fairy dust.” Previously, the best way to clean up oil was either with absorbent mats or a cat-litter-like substance. Both were inefficient, cumbersome and expensive to dispose of.
“There seems to be a growing perception of helplessness,” said David Kovach, principal of Reflection Solutions, one of the businesses assisting MolecuLoc try to break through the corporate and government log-jam, “that there is nothing that can be done to battle this man-made disaster, or that we just have to stand by and let nature take its course. But that simply is not true. When I saw the dramatic impact Moleculoc can have in fighting the spill, I jumped in to help spread the word.”
Normandeau agrees, “It’s amazing what this product is capable of doing. There is nothing like it in the market.”