A filter with a polymer coating that allows water to flow through while capturing oil is being touted as a tool that could be used in the Gulf. Di Gao created the filter and is a professor with the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Engineering. He says it only costs about 10¢ a square foot to produce and is hydrophilic, meaning it bonds with hydrogen molecules in water and oleophobic, meaning it repels oil. Gao says he envisions long trough-like filters that are attached to boats and would skim the oil off the water's surface, collecting oil while allowing the water to move through. He says they've successfully tested the reusable filter and it's an environmentally friendly alternative to the chemical dispersants as well as other mop up materials that have to be disposed of. Gao is trying to get in contact with officials who make the clean-up decisions regarding the filter.
A video demonstration of the filter is linked below.