A Simple Solution to Oil Spills?

Darryl Carpenter, of the Florida contracting firm C.W. Roberts, recently had an interesting thought while driving to a job site: could hay be used to soak up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico? This wasn’t a random thought: C.W. Roberts has a contract to protect Walton County‘s beaches from the spill. Judging by this video, Carpenter’s idea may have some merit. C.W. Roberts’s president, Charles Roberts, wants the government to allow a 10-acre demonstration in the Gulf. “We want to be given a chance to show that this simple strategy just might solve the problem,” he says. “It’s so simple that I think it scares people.” (HT: Ken Braithwaite)[%comments]

Andre D

All I gotta say is let them TRY IT!! It has to be better than spraying dispersants at least. It makes sense to me that it would work even better with the super high viscosity of crude in water.

I live in Calgary and I drive the three hours north to Edmonton weekly. I see giant round bales of hay that have laid out for more than 2 years unused. It's a different part of the continent, but it's not so far that I can't get Florida oranges every day...and I'd bet that old dry hay works as well or better than the fresh upcoming crop.

Let. Them. Try. It.


Donations by the American Public will pay for it quicker than our government because they can't get their head out of their butt long enough to make a decision! C.W. Roberts needs to start a donation page for the clean-up, I for one would donate! Everything will be dead before our government can decide to do something because our President's more concerned about holding dinners and telling jokes to the Hollywood elite or being on someone's talk show! Just "Git'r done"!

Bill McGonigle

@qingl78: too late - the government already removed the incentives for drilling to be done safely (direct liability caps and corporate liability shields). And mandated that the drilling be done far off-shore, where the water is too deep for our technology to reliably handle.


For those thinking this might work...come on folks...1st: notice how much hay was put into the bowl and considered a full scale version?...2nd: what about displacement?

Charles Connor

I think a spinning iceberg could help contain the gulf oil mess.

Fred Hinton

I recommend that the oil spill be cleaned up with expoxy concrete that will adhere to the sides not the regular concrete. And use dawn dishwashing detergent without the bubbles. If this oil spill reaches the streets imagine the danger that it will cause. Might just wipe out our country if a real solution is not used to fix this mess. Who would wonder if someone conjured up this "scam" to start or finish a "political" plat-form. That is the question one should be seeking?

Linda Perry Barr

Freakonomics Guys: What happened to the hay idea? and what happened to the Costner oil/water separater?


@sarah: I completely agree with you on that one!