EDS has recently collaborated with a group of European Partners researching and developing a technical solution to recovering oil spills under Force 7 type weather conditions.
Description of problem: If there is an oil spill at sea or in open water, there is presently no effective means of recovering the oil.
Existing solutions: Existing practices involve deploying containment booms to around the spill to limit the spread of the oil and then burning off the oil from the water’s surface. This method is difficult to apply in rough weather conditions. The alternative is to allow the oil to disperse/degrade naturally, which can have significant environmental impact.
R&D work undertaken: EDS worked with other key project team members on the development of the Force7 oil recovery equipment our role was to operate the equipment, to deploy the Force 7 device. The equipment was designed to be mountable on a vessel and ready for quick deployment in the event of an oil spill occurrence. It is designed to be capable of working in sea conditions in up to force 7 winds, allowing oil recovery in stormy seas. The system is designed to recover the oil to the vessel for recycling or safe disposal, differing to the existing methods.
Force7 Demonstration Trial Objectives:
- To prove the Mop will collect oil and repel water
- To demonstrate the deployment method from a single moving vessel.
At our workshop our Team constructed a “fast tank” fitted with a single mop to prove how effective the new material developed would remove oil from water. This was a great success. EDS also facilitated and arranged the site trials/proof of concept in Cardiff Bay. This involved identification of a suitable vessel, and installation/mounting of the unit. Slight modifications were undertaken to the prototype unit at EDS’ base to ensure correct deployment and recovery of the oil recovery mop. EDS then conducted the site trials at Cardiff Bay to prove effective deployment and recovery of the mop from the vessel in order to prove the viability of the system for use in oil spill recovery.
Trial Outcome: The Demonstration successfully provided proof of concept, the next stage involves recovering oil from open water, which understandably will not be a planned trial but as an agreed response to a spillage incident, to test the Force 7 equipment in actual conditions.
This video shows the EDS team operating the mop and vessels in Cardiff Bay and the fast tank oil removal at our workshop facility.