Research Categories / Oil Spill Response

Refurbishment of CRREL Wave Tank for in-situ Burning

In its efforts to ensure sufficient facilities to conduct combustion and in situ burn research, BSEE provided funded a project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to refurbish a portable wave tank previously owned by Alaska Clean Seas in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Relocating the tank to the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, NH allows for better accessibility by the oil spill research community. Additionally, the tank can be coupled with other capabilities hosted by CRREL.

An Adaptable Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) Radar For Unmanned Aerial Systems To Detect Oil In Sea Ice

As Arctic ice has receded, exploration and development of oil reserves have increased, thereby requiring an effective strategy to mitigate oil spills. PNNL proposes demonstrating oil detection in and under sea ice via FMCW radar by leveraging recent advancements in commercial subcomponents and systems. Utilizing Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) hardware will address hardware reliability issues and focus work on implementation challenges.


This project will study and test the Electrical Capacitance Tomography (ECT) sensor to detect oil in/under ice. For oil detection and thickness estimation under/in ice, where the access to the imaged region is limited to above its surface, AUB proposes a planar sensor design where the electrodes are mounted on a single plane and placed at a relatively close distance above the ice surface. 

Circumpolar Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis

The purpose of this circumpolar Arctic response viability analysis was to better understand the potential for different oil spill response systems to operate in the Arctic marine environment. There is increasing concern about the risk of oil spills as human activity increases in the Arctic. The Arctic Council’s Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (EPPR) Working Group commissioned this study of oil spill response viability for the circumpolar Arctic region, co-sponsored by Norway, the United States, and Denmark.

Arctic Spill Response Database

This project developed the Arctic Spill Response Database Query Tool. This tool is designed to assist spill reponse planning by gathering reliable data on response equipement and geographical reach, from the eight member nations of Arctic Council. The extent of damage resulting from an oil spill can be mitigated when the availability of resources is known, logistics channels are clear, and contingency plans are in place. 

Combining Mineral Fines with Chemical Dispersants to Disperse Oil in Low Temperature and Low Mixing Energy Environments

The objective of this research is to assess the feasibility of a cold water and Arctic marine oil spill countermeasure strategy based on the stimulation of OMA formation in the presence of a chemical dispersant. Evaluations will be conducted on both laboratory and wave tank systems under controlled conditions to evaluate the potential effectiveness of treatment of oil spills from shipboard and rig operations.

Dispersant Effectiveness Testing on Heavy OCS Crude Oils at Ohmsett

Project will determine the limiting viscosity for the effectiveness of chemical dispersants applied to viscous U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) crude oils from the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific OCS. Conduct physical and chemical analysis of the acquired crude oils to categorize them based on properties.Conduct small scale wave tank dispersant effectiveness on crude oil samples. These experiments will be conducted using Corexit 9500 applied at the standard 1:15 dispersant to oil ratio (DOR). Identify six oils from small-scale testing and test them at Ohmsett in moderate breaking waves.

OSRR-517-New and Innovative Equipment and Technologies for the Remote Sensing and Surveillance of Oil in and Under Ice

This project positively detected oil trapped in and under ice with two completely independent technologies, both of which have potential for further development and large-scale field testing. In many respects (limited size of spills, lack of natural cracks and fractures in the ice), the design of this test program represents a worst-case scenario, compared with the expected characteristics of a real spill under sea ice.