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Mechanical Containment and Recovery

Mechanical Containment and Recovery

The use of mechanical systems to collect, contain and recover oil is considered to be a primary technique in responding to offshore oil spills. This method has the advantage of immediate removal of oil from the environment. A typical recovery operation involves a boom system towed in a U configuration by one or two vessels which collects surface oil in the boom apex. Once sufficient thickness is collected, a skimmer system recovers the collected oil. Recovered fluids may be decanted to remove excess water and then are stored for later disposal.

These systems, while used in most recovery operations, do have operational limitations. Traditional booms systems have maximum tow speeds of 0.7-1 knot, above which oil cannot be contained within the moving boom. Inflation and deployment of the booms can be fairly labor and time intensive. Recent research has led to boom systems that can be towed at speeds up to 3-5 knots and have automated inflation and deployment capabilities. Specialty booms such as sorbent booms can be used for polishing of water to remove sheen or very thin layers of oil. Sheet sorbents can also be used to provide this polishing step. However, recovery and disposal of these sorbents requires additional time and manpower.

Skimmer systems operate most effectively with a reasonably thick layer of oil, and skimmer design determines the rate and efficiency of recovery. Weir skimmers can recover fluids at a fast rate, limited by the operation of the pump; oleophilic (oil attracting) skimmers have the advantage of increasing efficiency in that they tend to collect less water along with the oil. Efficient recovery, and onboard fluid separation can reduce temporary storage needs for a given response operation. Specially designed skimmers can collect highly viscous oils or oil within an ice laden environment. Several recently developed systems couple skimmer and boom functions into a single system, and employ inflation/deployment technology to provide quickly deployable systems.

BSEE research focuses both on development of innovative new technologies as well as improvements to existing technologies. Systematic testing is also emphasized to inform stakeholders and encourage use of the best performing systems.

Project No. Subject Performing Activity (Researcher)
1083 Development of an Oil Recovery Efficiency Sensor Battelle Memorial Institute
1081 Advancing ICEHORSE proof-of-concept to make it more useful in an operational environment Alion Science and Technology Corporation
1072 Evaluation of Skimmer Performance in Diminishing Oil Slick Thicknesses Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
1078 Development of an Oil Thickness Sensor American University of Beirut
1077 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC
1071 Multifunctional Herding-Sorbent Agents for Use in Icy Water Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
1069 On-Board Flotation System for Removal of Surface Oil under Arctic Conditions National Energy Technology Laboratory
1064 ASTM F2709-08 Testing of Skimmer Systems Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
1054 Development of Double Helix Oil/Water Separation Skimmer Technology Clean Ocean Technologies Systems (COTS)
1053 Development of Universal Submersible Skimmer Delivery System Alion Science and Technology Corporation
1052 Enhanced Oil Recovery from Oil-Seawater Mixtures Through the Coupling of Magnetic Nanoparticles and Electrically Conducting Ultrafiltration Membranes University of California, Riverside
1037 Development of an Autonomous Oil Skimmer (AOS) Alion Science and Technology Corporation
1034 Temporary Oil Spill Storage and Recovery in Alaskan Arctic Using Petrogel Technology The Pennsylvania State University
1033 Mitigation of Oil in the Water Column: Phase I - Design US Coast Guard Research & Development Center
1032 Permitting the Use of Oil Spill Simulants: Identifying Options and Building Consesus Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC
1026 Testing of Skimmer Hoses and Hose Couplings Under Simulated Arctic Conditions Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL)
1014 Ice Month – Evaluation of Oil Recovery Systems in Ice Conditions at Ohmsett BSEE sponsored test, managed by MAR and SL Ross
1005 Rapidly Deployable Thermal Hydrate Preventer for Subsea Oil Spill Mitigation Composite Technology Development, Inc. (CTD)
673 Effective Daily Recovery Capacity (EDRC) Project Genwest Systems, Inc.
625 Oil Spill Training and Response (STAR) Calculator Program Genwest Systems, Inc.
589 Investigation of the Ability to Effectively Recover Oil Following Dispersant Application S.L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd.
587 International Oil in Ice Workshop 2007 S.L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd. and DF Dickins and Associates
586 Planning Support for an Experimental Oil Spill in Pack Ice S.L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd. and DF Dickins and Associates
573 Oil Recovery with Novel Skimmer Surfaces under Cold Climate Conditions University of California, Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
555 Partnering in a Workshop to Determine the Scope of an Experimental Oil Spill in Pack Ice in Canada S.L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd. and DF Dickins and Associates
528 Optimization of Oleophilic Skimmer Recovery University of California, Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
520 Summary Report of Activities at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement Ohmsett Facility ATRP Corporation
516 Development of a Method to Produce Large Quantities of Realistic Water-In-Oil Emulsions for use in Evaluating Oil Spill Response Equipment and Methods S.L. Ross Environmental Research, Ltd.
515 Wave Field Characterization at the Ohmsett Wave Test Basin Mar, Inc.; Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington
512 Transfer of Decanting Technology Research to Oil Spill Response Organizations and Regulators S. L. Ross Environmental Research, LTD.
511 Tailored Polymetric Materials for Oil Spill Recovery in Marine Environments  Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara
478 Development of a Standard Method for Measuring the Buoyancy-to-Weight Ratio for Oil Spill Containment Boom S.L. Ross Environmental Research Limited and MAR, Inc.
457 Effect of Oil Spill Containment Boom Characteristics on Boom Performance S.L. Ross Environmental Research Limited
428 Procedures for Reporting Tests of Oil Spill Containment Booms and Skimmers Environmental Consultant, Inc.
395 Extending Temporary Storage Capacity Offshore With Emulsion Breakers    
391 Fire Boom Testing at Ohmsett S. L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd.
377 Project 'Deep Spill' SINTEF Applied Chemistry
354 International Oil and Ice Workshop Alaska Clean Seas
353 The Use of Ice Booms for the Recovery of Oil Spills from Ice Infested Waters Fleet Technology Limited
348 Detection and Tracking of Oil Under Ice DF Dickins Associates Ltd.
333 Field Experiments at the Ohmsett Facility, Especially for a Newly Designed Boom System The University of Miami
330 Oil Spill Response - Performance Review of Booms Environmental Consultant, Inc.
324 Experimental and Analytical Study of Multi-phase Plumes in a Stratified Ocean with Application to Deep Ocean Spills University of Hawaii (UHI) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
311 Oil Spill Containment, Remote Sensing, and Tracking from Deep Water Blowouts: Status of Existing and Emerging Technologies PCCI Marine and Environmental Engineering
310 Mechanical Oil Recovery in Ice Infested Waters (MORICE) - Phase III SINTEF Applied Chemistry
309 Development of an OHMSETT Activity Summary Report Marine Research Associates LLC
299 Estimation of Towing Forces on Oil Spill Containment Booms S.L. Ross Environmental Research
298 Testing at Ohmsett to Determine Optimum Times to Decant to Temporary Storage Devices S.L. Ross Environmental Research
297 Comprehensive Spill Response Tactics for the Alaska North Slope-Oil in Broken Ice Spill Response Scenarios SL Ross Environmental Research Ltd., D.F. Dickins and Associates, Ltd., Vaudrey an Associates, Ltd.
295 In situ Clean up of Oiled Shorelines; Svalvard Shoreline Project Environment Canada
291 Technology Assessment and Concept Evaluation for Alternative Approaches to In Situ Burning of Oil in the Marine Environment Marine Research Associates LLC
289 Re-Engineering of a Stainless Steel Fireproof Boom for Using in Conjunction with Conventional Firebooms S.L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd.
287 Fate and Behavior of Deepwater Subsea Oil Well Blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico S.L. Ross Environmental Research Ltd.
247 Numerical Modeling of Oil Boom Behavior and Rapid Current Boom Development University of Rhode Island (URI)and University of New Hampshire (UNH)
244 Testing of Fire Resistant Booms in Waves and Flames SL Ross Environmental Research
180 Testing and Evaluation of Sorbents SAIC-Canada
163 Preparation a Test Protocol for Offshore Oil Skimmers and Containment Booms Chapman, Inc.
159 Evaluation of Skimmers for Offshore and Ice-Infested Waters Emergencies Engineering Division, Environment Canada
158 Development and Evaluation of Shoreline Cleanup Techniques Western Office, Technology Development Branch, Environment Canada
156 World Catalog of Oil Spill Response Products Environmental Consultants Inc.
155 Identification of Substitute Test Facilities for OHMSETT Emergencies Engineering Division, Environment Canada
153 Alaska Arctic Workshop National Institute of Standards and Technology, Center for Fire Research
152 Recovery Methods for High Viscosity Oils Emergencies Engineering Division, Environment Canada
121 Water Jet Barrier Containment of Oil in the Presence of Broken Ice Emergencies Engineering Division, Environment Canada
113 Open Ocean Boom Test Conservation and Protection Agency, Environment Canada
109 Oil Spill Response Equipment Performance Verification Frank Weston and Associates
085 Subsea Collection of Blowing Oil and Gas Brown and Root Development, Inc.
084 Surface Oil Spill Containment and Cleanup Veritas Technical Services, Inc.
032 Recapture of Oil from Blowing Wells    
004 Cavitating Water Jet Cleaning Nozzle