In 2015, Jacob participated in an Engineering for Kids class where he learned about Environmental Engineering. One of the lessons was about oil spill containment and clean up. In this class they had to design and test a solution using a their choice of materials provided. After showing his mom what he had done, she jokingly said that he could have cut off some of his hair to use. Jacob didn’t know human hair could be used in cleaning up oil spills. This was very interesting to Jacob. When he got home after class he searched up some information about it and watched some videos and that’s where it all began.
Jacob started a project where he collects hair and fur from local salons and groomers and sends it off to an organization that uses it to felt into mats that are placed in storm drains. The mats filter out motor oil from runoff before it reaches waterways. The hair and fur can also be used to make booms for containing and cleaning up oil spills. Hair and fur absorbs and retains oil much better than synthetic materials.