13 May 2010

Ideas to Save the Day: Supertanker Suckers to Oil Gelatinisers

The video above demonstrates the use of C.I. Agent to convert toxic hydrocarbons such as diesel to a harmless gel that can be safely recycled.
The latest idea to prevent the slick caused by the explosion on the BP rig last month from reaching land is certainly ingenious. It consists of using a chemical formula called C.I. Agent that, when added to oil, turns it into a gelatinous compound that can then be used to make asphalt.

...The U.S. Army, which is coordinating the clean-up, has put up Hesco baskets filled with the C.I. Agent powder in the water along the northwest shore of the island. They will be filled with the powder and then, when the slick reaches the baskets, turn the oil into gelatin. If successful, the resulting rubbery polymer can then be deployed either in landfill, or re-used to make all sorts of products, from disposable cups, through condoms and glues. Twelve years in development, C.I. Agent has been used successfully as an aid to cleaning up oil leaks, but it's unproven on a disaster of this scale. _FastCompany

A former Shell Oil top exec is promoting the use of multiple skimming supertankers to suck up surface oil spills:
"[They] figured out how to deploy supertankers that had the ability to both intake and discharge liquids in vast quantities with huge pumps," Hofmeister explained. "The supertankers could simply suck in seawater and oil simultaneously--they can hold millions of barrels--and when full, they could discharge oil at a port into tanks where they could separate oil from water. The idea is novel in that you can get massive of oil amounts quickly." Once the supertankers make it to to the port, water can be treated and discharged, and oil can either be used or destroyed.

After learning about the supertanker technique a few weeks ago, Hofmeister decided to bring it to the government's attention. "I've been trying to connect engineers with decision-makers at the Coast Guard and in the interior department," he said. BP is also evaluating the idea.
But even if BP and the government both approve the technique, it will take a while before it can be implemented. "A lot of these supertankers are sitting on the ocean full of oil. How do you get them empty? It may take some time to organize," Hofmeister explained. And, of course, organizers will have to make sure that the massive supertankers don't crash into each other. _FC

And of course there are ideas to sop up the oil spills with hay, hair, aerogels, specialised oil sponges, chemical herding agents, and superbugs to eat the oil. Oil skimming robot swarms are in the works, as well.

By the time human technology is able to deal with significant oil spills quickly and efficiently, humans may no longer have sufficient need for petroleum to pull it up from the deep sea floor. But since far more oil spills into the sea from natural causes than from oil drilling or shipping, it would still be nice to have some oil cleaning robot fleets on hand -- just in case.


Bookmark and Share


Blogger gtg723y said...

The oil bugs could become dangerous, as the tend to breed exponentially. Unless they are unable to breed in cold water, but I would still be concerned they would find a seep at on the floor and work their way through the source. On the other hand that could be just the crises the Green left would love to have happen, perhaps I am giving them too much credit.

Thursday, 13 May, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Hmmmm. Perhaps.

But remember, crude oil is already full of bacteria that feed on oil.

For environmental remediation, you have different bacteria that will feed on different length hydrocarbons. Like a tag team wrestling match, one variety shortens the chains and passes them down to the next bacterial variety, which shortens the chains some more, passes them down, and so on . . .

At the end of the line you may have a bit of methane, some CO2, some hydrogen, a lot of bacteria sitting around burping...

Friday, 14 May, 2010  

Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts