22 June 2010

Ramping Up Surface Oil Recovery

Kevin Costner's machines are hard at work cleaning up the Gulf oil spill, and are "doing fantastic!" The three Costner machines in deep water are processing 600,000 gallons of oily water a day! BP has ordered 27 more machines from Costner, which are being put together and made ready for hard service as quickly as possible. (over 20 million gallons of oily water was recovered in the last 24 hours in the entire response)

BP has received over 60,000 suggestions for dealing with the spill and cleanup -- including one suggestion coming from two former NFL superstars -- Troy Aikman and Drew Bledsoe. The two quarterbacks have teamed with Jean-Michel Cousteau to promote a technology for rapid, non-chemical separation of the oil from seawater -- using ultrasonic transducers to create sonic cavitation. Probably not the most useful intervention for this particular situation, but keep trying boys.

A more likely invention comes from a company based in Mobile, Alabama.
This invention, which is the greatest hope we have seen yet for collection and cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, is a new kind of machine that has a collection capability far greater than any skimmer that has been used before. To be exact, these machines each have a collection capacity of up to 4,000 gallons per minute. All the skimmers being used in the Gulf up until now are able, all together, to collect less than half a million gallons a day, while just one BRS-2 is able to collect 2 million gallons a day. Other skimmers work by corralling the oil, usually inefficiently, by dragging boom, over and under which much oil escapes before it can be collected. This machine works differently than all the others by using the force of motion for direct collection of oil and water, and can be more effective in conditions where other skimmers cannot even be used.

BP already has one of these new machines, which they have put to the test in the Gulf, and it has performed even better than expected. Production of more BRS-2 units is underway now. The technology is being leased by BP from the Petroleum and Environmental Clean Up Company, a Mobile, Alabama-based company whose owners are the inventors of this technology. _Source
One machine that can collect 2 million gallons a day by itself! It sounds promising. More information on this invention from video below. As always, mind the hype.

And then there is the supertanker option. And probably a lot of other ideas which may actually work, but which have gotten lost in all the noise. Eventually, the best ideas should work their way to the top of the stack.

Here's the deal: Humans are going to be drilling in deep water for the next several decades. And there will be spills -- spills far worse than the Macondo leak which has pushed President Obama well beyond his level of competency.

Current technology for dealing with deepwater oil well spills -- both at the wellhead and on the surface -- is abominably primitive and ineffectual. At least up until now. The disaster of the Macondo spill has spurred the implementation of technologies which may have had to wait for a decade to be tested, otherwise. When this happens again -- and it most assuredly will happen again somewhere in the world, many times -- the technology for dealing with it will have improved thanks to Macondo. Of course, most countries of the world will not go to nearly so much trouble for this amount of ecological impact. But the commercial impact is bound to spur a response even in other countries with less concern for the environment.

Better technology for preventing and dealing with disasters above and below is critical. At least for countries in North America, Europe, Oceania, etc. China is not as likely to be concerned with this level of ecological damage -- and China is rapidly ramping up drilling in the China Seas. Brasil is also increasing offshore drilling, and even Russia is looking to drill off Cuban and Venezuelan coasts. Better get ready.

BTW, a federal judge has come down hard on the Obama administrations ill-advised moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf. It has long been obvious that the entire Obama Interior / EPA crew is incompetent and dishonest beyond redemption. It is refreshing to find that others can see the obvious, as well.

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2 Comments:

Blogger SwampWoman said...

I notice that none of this innovation is being done by the Feds. Instead, the obstruction of ameliorating technology is being done by the Feds.

Wednesday, 23 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

True.

An interesting sidelight to Obama's attempt to shut down oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (and several other areas) is that most of the drilling rigs are manned by non-union workers.

Obama only cares about unions -- particularly those unions that support him with a lot of cash. According to Obama if you're not union, you're little people.

Wednesday, 23 June, 2010  

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