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Research to enhance mechanical recovery of oil in Arctic conditions

Published April 2, 2018
Research to enhance mechanical recovery of oil in Arctic conditions

Researchers test steam heat to increase the efficiency rate of oil recovery under an ice sheet at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Hanover, New Hampshire, site. The oil, which has been inserted into the pool below the ice sheet, is recovered by saturating the fibers. Cycling the fibers through steam heat rejuvenates them. This process allows for better saturation and recovery rates.

Research to enhance mechanical recovery of oil in Arctic conditions

A researcher monitors a remotely operated vehicle under an ice sheet at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. The ROV is outfitted with an air bubbler that, with the force of the air, herds under ice oil to a recovery site.

HANOVER, N.H. (March 29, 2018) --Nathan Lamie recently led a demonstration of strategies to increase the recovery of spilled crude oil in and under ice at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire. 

In collaboration with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s Oil Spill Preparedness Division, and in conjunction with Alaska Clean Seas, the team conducted testing utilizing the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory’s Geophysical Research Facility. The researchers, in collaboration with industry experts and oil spill responders, identified tasks to improve operations of mechanical oil spill mitigation equipment in offshore and open ocean Arctic environments. 

Modifications, demonstrations and evaluations were made to the existing rope mop oil recovery system in order to enhance oil recovery rates. Additionally, a remotely operated vehicle was fitted with a mounted air bubbler and submerged in the basin to evaluate a technique to use air to herd under ice oil to a recovery site.

“Using steam heat is incredible for the efficiency of the rope mop,” said Leonard Zabilansky, an engineer with the CRREL team. “During each cycle the mop is decontaminated, leaving the fibers rejuvenated for effective oil recovery. And, although preliminary, the ROV has great potential.”



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