Northwoods Man Stumbles Across Oil-Absorbing Invention

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Thousands of gallons of oil continue to pour into the Gulf of Mexico, in one of the biggest environmental disasters in history.

Volunteers are lending a hand, offering any support in clean-up efforts, and one northwoods man is hoping his invention can do the same.

Leosorb is a carbon-based material that promises to remove nearly 100 percent of bulk oil on water.

And its an invention that a man from Harshaw, WI stumbled upon by chance.

About five years ago, Leo Krombholz, 46, spilled some oil. He had some materials he thought could clean it up.

He won't say exactly what the materials are made of...but seconds after he put what is now known as Leosorb on top of the oil, it was completely absorbed.

He says he knew he was onto something big.

"I've been playing around with this four or five years and I think I came to Fred probably a year, year and a half ago, and talked to him about it and we've kinda been working on it since," Krombholz said.

Fred Lane writes and prosecutes patents, this particular patent application was filed just recently.

"When Leo brought this to me I was pretty excited about it because I saw the potential and quickly understood the kernel of what he had there, then it was just a matter of being able to refine it," Lane said.

It could take years before Leosorb is fully protected.

But it should be in building supply stores like Menards and Home Depot by the end of the summer.

The men are planning to contact the Environmental Protection Agency to see if their product will work on the oil spill.

"I'm very confident that it would help, I'm very confident it would work," Krombholz said.

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