Oil Spill Water Cleanups As Fast As They Happen Answered
We live and survive on oil today. That dependence won’t go away for at least a few more generations. Today’s technology allows us to drill oil just about anywhere in the world, and then move it to anywhere we want using behemoth water vessels. Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to all this and it happens when our technology fails us, as periodically demonstrated by mankind’s great oil spill disasters. The most recent being the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010. The amount of oil actually dumped upon our ecosphere and contaminating the environment was mind boggling. The numbing numbers are so large that we can’t even get our minds around it. And we all know that the responsible drilling company won’t fess up to how much was really spilled because even they don’t know, don’t want to know and furthermore want to forget about it.
Is there some way to tackle this oil spill problem through the use of the very culprit that created it, namely technology? Of course there is, but it will cost the billions they used to clean up the mess they created in the first place. We want to develop a technological process to be used worldwide that borrows from what we currently know, and clean up these oil spills almost as quickly as they happen upon our seascape.
Did we finally clean up the Gulf oil spill? Yes, maybe? But it took too long and we either didn’t use the right equipment or not enough prepared and available equipment to check the problem. Time is probably the most critical factor involved in mitigating oil spill disasters. While Nature obviously works to clean up ecological disasters, she takes perhaps a decade or more to make a region whole again. We need to help nature accelerate her time schedule to a few weeks not decades!
Oil cleanup equipment exists that is too painstakingly slow and inefficient to get the job done quickly and effectively, and to recapture ~99% of the oil spilled. Today’s processes are makeshift, disjointed, and not organized nor designed to tackle today’s mega-proportion oil spill problems. We need a cohesive mega-solution to handle mega-problem oil spills. A virtual army of specialists with proper equipment to attack, gather up and capture, then deliver the spilled oil to vessel staging platforms. These huge platforms will separate 99.9% of the captured oil/water, dumping the water back. Oil tankers on standby then take this recaptured crude oil to refineries. This process must be set up with the proper equipment to dynamically proceed in real time. Only high sea states should be capable of halting its operation.
The process of oil/water cleanup requires the serial use of various sequential operations where each performs a key stage of the operatic procedure. The orchestration starts with techniques that initially yield the biggest volumetric punch first, then refines this processing by using less volumetric cleaning ability but greater oil separation capability. All the while we have deployed an improved form of today’s containment apron, capable of hundreds of miles of coverage to prevent spreading the spilled oil slick to shore.
Having researched today’s available oil spill removal systems, their usefulness has been categorized according to volumetric processing capability per time. Fast surface skimming techniques plus “huge”, constant flowing centrifugal separators clearly win, but are not 100% effective. Sponge-type, oil absorbent techniques then come to play as they are useful in nearly recapturing the remaining 0.1% oil from the water, but are slow and will be used solely on the remaining 99.99% pure water expelled from our centrifugal oil separators. Today we literally use these absorbers like sponges, dunking them into the oil slick, waiting awhile and pulling them out after they’ve absorbed some oil. Such prolonged processing times are unacceptable. Absorbers are to be used differently than today, their performance is vastly accelerated as they now act as 0.1% oil filters to process the pressurized water expelled from the centrifugal separators. The final residuals of perhaps 0.01% that the high pressure absorber filtration misses will require oil break down chemistry whose end products are environmentally friendly and allows Nature to restore balance. So the actual water dumped back will be better than 99.99% pure.
Now let’s break this process down a bit and address the pieces of equipment involved. Our attack vessels are special, high speed catamarans that ferry cars between different ports today. They use water-jet propulsion, are extremely fast, maneuverable, and will be equipped with a special front-end water scoop to pick up the oil/water slick in real time while propelled forward. Their scoop or nozzle articulates, performing real time adjustments responding to oil slick depths thereby avoiding too much water pickup. Once their holding tanks are full, they reconnoiter with waiting intermediate-sized tankers to quickly dump their oil/water cargo. When these tankers are full, they deposit their load to one of the huge vessel platforms. These staging platforms use centrifugal systems to quickly and efficiently separate huge quantities of the oil and water, and dump the 99.9% cleaned water overboard (Nature effectively handles the remaining 0.1% of oil). When their tanks are full of oil, they start emptying themselves into the large standby oil tankers for delivery to refineries. QED.
For you science fiction/fact fans, this concept requires enormous equipment, is on a huge scale and if viewed as one harmonious system may be the first Oil-Terra-Forming machine to be used on our planet.