Chance meetings at airports-- Soaking up that oil with Scott Smith's Opflex plastic foam

I was sitting having dinner at Pappas Burgers in the Houston Hobby airport last night when a guy came and sat in the table next to me. We shared computer cable outlets, and struck up a conversation. I told him what I did, and asked him. "You really want to know?" he asked. "Well, you have to listen to the end. I am not crazy and I'm tired of people thinking I am..."

He introduced himself as Scott Smith, CEO of Cellect Plastics, and he said he'd produced an open celled polyolefin based foam pad that was designed to soak up oil, be squeezed out and reused multiple times.

"Everybody must be calling BP and the Coast Guard and the State governments, because I keep having to say, 'please listen, I'm not crazy."

Scott is a Harvard MBA on a mission to build an eco-friendly company. He's just filed a patent on this foam pad he calls "Opflex" and he showed me impressive proofs that it works.

It could be that Scott's time has come. This is exactly the low-tech tool we will need as the oil comes ashore this coming week.

Here's a statement Scott sent me. I think he's got something here. If you do, too, and you happen to be in a position to do something about it, give Scott a call at 506-776-2995, or email him at

“A NEW solution to oil pollution!”


Cellect Plastics LLC (Cellect) has developed Opflex the world’s only biodegradable open celled polyolefin based foam that absorbs 32 times its weight in oil without absorbing water.


Cellect has developed an amazing new reusable absorbent for oil and liquid hydrocarbons that may be of great assistance in helping to deal with the pollution arising from the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico   We urge you to take a look at this. It could revolutionize oil clean-up methods.


This new material is a hydrophobic modified polymer sponge that floats on and repels water but readily absorbs oils and hydrocarbons, up to 32 times its own weight. But what makes this product unique and different to all other absorbents is that it is reusable – up to 100 times! The absorbed materials can easily be recovered by simply squeezing or wringing out the foam sponge by gloved hands or between mangle rollers. The recovered oils can be collected in a drum for recycling, used as a free fuel (in a suitable space heater or boiler), or incinerated for safe disposal. Then the foam absorbent can immediately be redeployed – again, and again, and again…..and again – 100 times or more!


This property of reusability makes this technology very affordable as the material cost per use is minimal and no toxic waste of soiled absorbents is produced. The same section of absorbent, when constantly re-used, can recover up to 3,200 times or more of its own weight in oils or hydrocarbons! The technology is also infinitely scalable being able to deal with storm water run-off from a single parking lot or roadway to widespread pollution of an entire lake or estuary.


Cellect has manufacturing facilities for this material in New York and can provide virtually unlimited quantities very quickly.


The basic material has been extensively tested and is already being successfully used for removing refined oils, fuels, lubricants and liquid hydrocarbon chemicals from water in lakes, streams, rivers, marinas, harbors, wetlands and coastal waters. It does this quickly and efficiently. Another popular application is as a floating, reusable oil remover in the bilges of boats and ships.


Last week Cellect made a production run of a new variant of this remarkable foam with larger cells which may be suitable for absorbing heavy materials such as crude oil, and also any free oil dispersants such as ‘COREXIT’ used to treat this as well as the residues and dispersed hydrocarbons released by the dispersants.


This material is very eco-friendly and includes a biodegradation initiator. If any material gets loose in the environment or is land-filled, the foam biodegrades naturally over time. The absorbent foam can also be easily incinerated, does not emit any noxious fumes when burned, and leaves a minimal non-toxic ash.


Cellect would be pleased to immediately send samples for testing to qualified buyers. It can be fabricated into any size absorbent mats, socks, pillows or booms and deployed by an unlimited variety of tethering and containment methods. It will float on the surface of water, removing surface pollution or it could be deployed with weights under water to absorb suspended oils.