Final Report: Development of an Improved BIO-SOK for Use in Bilge to Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution

EPA Contract Number: 68D98138
Title: Development of an Improved BIO-SOK for Use in Bilge to Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution
Investigators: Griffin, W. Michael
Small Business: GMS Technologies
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through March 1, 1999
Project Amount: $69,932
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

The BIO-SOK has the potential to eliminate petroleum contamination from motor boat bilges to the waters of the United States. The overall objective of the GMS Technologies Phase I SBIR was to determine the value of modifying the formulation of this technology and improve its commercialization potential by reducing its cost without reducing its current effectiveness in treating oil bilge wastes. By removing elements that cause hesitance in application (i.e., microbes) and use a more consistent, less expensive agent to immobilize the oil (currently beeswax), GMS could provide an effective technology at a lower cost that would be more readily accepted by the regulatory community.

Following is list of the tasks proposed and executed during the course of the study.

1.Task 1 - Construct the Bilge Model Reactor (BMR).
2.Task 2 - Determine the Number of Samples needed for the Experimentation.
3.Task 3 - Make a Trial Run Using Oil and Following the Chemistry and Microbiology.
4.Task 4 - Follow the Impact of the Current BIO-SOK Formulation.
5.Task 5 - Determine the Impact of the Added Organisms Using a BIO-SOK With and Without Added Organisms:
6.Task 6 Evaluate the Alternative Formulations.

Each of these tasks was completed successfully. Each task contributed to the development of both the studies and the analytical methods used to generate information on the BIO-SOK . From the information gathered during the proof-of-concept portion of this SBIR effort, GMS was able to draw a series of conclusions regarding the BIO-SOK .

The overall conclusions of the study were:

1.Beeswax (the active ingredient in the BIO-SOK ) enhances the natural biodegradation of the diesel in the Bilge Model Reactor (BMR) system.

2.The added bacteria placed in the current BIO-SOK have no impact on the natural biodegradation rate and can be safely removed from the product without decreasing efficacy.

3.A synthetic version of Beeswax has been formulated that reasonably mimics the attributes of the natural Beeswax material and can now be used to determine its impact on biodegradation.

Based on these conclusions, GMS Technologies believes that the proof-of-concept for an improved BIO-SOK is feasible and worthy of further development and commercialization funding under Phase II of SBIR. GMS has submitted an application to EPA for Phase II SBIR funding in accordance to that program's guidelines.

GMS Technologies plans to commercialize this technology through its marketing and sales partner Petrol Rem, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA). The necessary commercialization plan includes exploiting the immediate short-term market for this product, recreational boaters. GMS does anticipate that this technology can and will be used successfully with larger commercial vessels as well. The following marketing strategies for selling the BIO-SOK are under consideration:

1.PetrolRem and GMS anticipate will center its marketing efforts to the largest recreational boating states, including Michigan in the Great Lakes and Florida and California, and representing the Eastern and Western Seaboards. Marketing resources are being deployed as described above for the test marketing but directed at the additional states.

2.GMS Technologies will be combining the sales of the BIO-SOK along with providing services to marinas of assisting and documenting the use of BMPs into their operations; fueling, maintenance, storm water runoff, etc. The strong base of data and product modifications generated during this SBIR, and the associated reduction in cost, will permit marina owners and co-ops to incorporate the use of the BIO-SOK in slip contracts.

The marketing effort must demonstrate BIO-SOK 's simplicity and its elegant solution to the challenge of oily bilge wastes. The fact that there are no moving parts, no toxic chemicals within and that its use requires the boat owner only buy the product and secure it within the bilge should provide a strong challenge to current practices (detergent cleaners and adsorbents).

Finally, BIO-SOK is truly a "green" technology. Due to the residue left by other competing methods for dealing with this nonpoint source problem, no other product can compare itself to the BIO-SOK . GMS believes that this technology can provide benefit to the environment and the boating community.

Supplemental Keywords:

Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Remediation, Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Oil Spills, Bioremediation, Engineering, Hazardous, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, Market mechanisms, petroleum, wastewater treatment, biodegradability, biodegradation, oil spill, cost-efficient clean-ups, oil removal, treatment technology, cost effective, pollution prevention, water treatment, BIO-SOK