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Great Energy Challenge

National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge

National Geographic

National Geographic

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.

No Responses to “Great Energy Challenge”

  1. Holster Chick Says:

    I love contests like this. In the early part of the last century some of the most amazing accomplishments were in response to a prize. Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in response to the Orteig Prize.

    This National Geographic contest is another great example of people and organizations being inspired by a prize to do something great. A 3X improvement is ocean cleanup is HUGE….and it’s exactly what we need. Moving forward oil companies are going to be exploring and extracting in extreme locations. I have a bad feeling that the Gulf spill and the Valdez spill are foreshadowing of things to come.

  2. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Linda,

    That’s an awesome accomplishment – 4670 gallons per minute. Where were they when the BP spill happened, hey?

    A contest like that with a big purse is a sure way to bring out the top innovators. Like you said, maybe they’ll put it to the real test and clean up the rest of the Gulf. How sweet would that be?

  3. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara …. While the BP spill was going on, the wonders to be were not accepting new ideas. These that were put into the contest were developed afterward. Cleaning up the Gulf would be absolutely tremendous. As the oil is on the Gulf floor just waiting to be mixed up and re-surface.

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