National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge
Ever since the Valdez disaster, there has not been an improvement in the oil spill recovery technology until now.
Shell sponsored this event that was started in July and lasted until last week. There were 350 applicants and then there were 10 top finalists. Team Elastec, an Illinois-based veteran company in the oil spill cleanup business, developed giant grooved discs that skimmed oil more than three times better than the industry standard to capture the $1 million top prize in the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE.
Elastec/American Marine company of Carmi, Illinois, and Cocoa, Florida, deployed a system that slurped oil in the test tank at a rate of 4,670 gallons (17,677 liters) per minute, with an efficiency of 89.5 percent. (Only 10.5 percent of the oily mix in the recovery tanks was water.)
Second prize of $300,000 went to Norway’s Team Nofi, which deployed V-shaped flexible boom to capture 2,712 gallons (10,266 liters) per minute and an efficiency of 83 percent. None of the other teams achieved the competition minimum recovery rate, so the $100,000 third prize was not awarded, and will be returned to the X PRIZE Foundation for further contests focused on marine and ocean environmental issues. But the third and fourth place teams, OilShaver of Norway and Team Koseq of The Netherlands, both achieved recovery rates and efficiency rates in excess of the 2,000 gallons per minute and with efficiencies of about 90 percent.
All of the technologies tested have the possibility of helping improve oil spill response.
Here is a short video of what the National Geographic challenge.
There is still oil from the BP spill, a year ago, that could use these technologies. The best thing is that there are options to choose from. Maybe they will get started next week on utilizing these new innovations.
Oil Spill Recovery … as the green future unfolds.