The Eagle Team, the impressive group of engineers and designers behind the solutions for BP, has in the past few days been focusing on coming up with practical solutions to the cleanup effort in the Gulf of Mexico. A couple of great ideas have been floated and passionately discussed on by this impressive panel. Here is one of those cleanup ideas:

By Ron Crawford

I have noticed that much of the oil trapped in the marshes and close to shore is found in small patches in shallow water. Much of that oil could be recovered with a small recovery vehicle. I am not aware of a piece of dedicated equipment that is designed to recover oil directly and transport it to a central station.

I believe such a device could be useful. To that end I suggest that our group come up with ideas for a recovery vehicle that both traps and delivers the oil. My thought is that we could design a floating device to be pulled behind a jet ski that would hold about a barrel of oil. A preliminary design would be constructed from PVC tubing and consist of a rectangular structure with a flexible bottom constructed of material that allows the passage of water but traps oil. I have sample of this material that was given to me by the manufacturer. In effect there would be a tub of this material supported by a floating rectangle of 6 inch PVC pipe pulled behind a jet ski. The front of the rectangle would have foldable arms that would extend in a “V” to each side of the jet ski.

The jet ski would move along pulling oil into the “V” in front of the rectangle. The jet ski could then have a divider plate that could pivot into position and send part of the output of the pump up the through the oil trapped by the “V” and shoot it into the rectangular tank. The mixture of oil and water would then be separated by the fabric that is the bottom of the tank. Once the tank is full it is taken back to a central location where it is disconnected and pumped out while the jet ski attaches to another tank. I think I could build one of these in about half a day. If some of you would like to help by drawing this up, making changes you thing are appropriate and helping with this project, that would be great. I think we could work as a group and get this project going. Perhaps we could save some wetlands.

 



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