Stephen Dvorak's nickname is MacGyver. A Houston inventor, builder and designer, Dvorak has several patents to his name — and now he wants to take on the oil spill (if only British Petroleum would listen).
"Finding simple solutions to every day problems is what fascinates me," Dvorak says, "so I'd had in the back of my head for a long time, 'How do we stop oil leaks?' And I came up with this idea."
This idea is the SQUID, short for Super Quick Undersea Incident Device. Deceptively simple, it's essentially a heavy ring attached to a soft reinforced tube to gather the oil as it floats up to the surface. (Check out the video below — Dvorak explains it best.)
"I've talked to a lot of engineers — people like this idea. I feel like people are scurrying around with teacups and I'm holding a firehose," Dvorak says.
Dvorak is desperate to share his idea with BP, despite his lack of a secured patent. The problem is that BP, with almost 8,000 ideas submitted to their Deepwater Horizon Response Web site, has to review each one for technical feasibility.
"What BP stands for right now is Be Patient," Dvorak says. "I'm just not very patient. I don't want to malign anybody, because BP is at wits' end. But I've gone down every path I could to get to BP. I've sent [the SQUID idea] to Governor Perry, (Louisiana) Governor (Bobby) Jindal, the Coast Guard, the Department of Energy, Interior. It's like Alice in Wonderland, there's 50 doors and they all lead back to the same Web site, same phone hotline."
Hopefully BP can sort through the mess of ideas — and the mess in the ocean — before it's too late.
And a little MacGyver wouldn't hurt.