Oil spill X Prize: Winning inventors clean up

日期:2017-06-09 01:00:09 作者:伯奖桦 阅读:

By Dana Mackenzie IT’S A sunny September afternoon on the New Jersey shore, a few days after hurricane Irene blew through, and I am standing atop a tower and looking across Raritan bay. In the distance, I can faintly make out the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Three storeys below is an enormous pool filled with what looks like melted chocolate. The whine of high-speed pumps fills the air as a contraption called the Current Buster pushes its yellow, V-shaped maw though the gooey brown, leaving, in its wake, a ribbon of clear, sparkling blue. But this isn’t Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory I’m visiting. The brown liquid swirling below is actually a layer of 130,000 litres of oil floating on water in the Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank. About the length of four Olympic swimming pools, OHMSETT is the world’s largest wave tank devoted to testing oil-spill response. You remember oil spills. They were all over the news last year, when the blowout of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 of its crew and went on to spew more than 780 million litres of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. For BP, the spill was an 87-day public relations debacle. After the well was finally capped on 15 July 2010, and the surface signs of the spill disappeared, the issue itself seemed to disappear from public awareness. The oil spill problem didn’t go away, however, as the recent grounding of the cargo ship Rena off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand, illustrates. Every year,