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Mitigation of Oil in Water Column: Concept Development

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Technical Report

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U.S. Coast Guard New London United States

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This report summarizes the results of Phase II-A Concept Development of an RDC effort to develop a system that can mitigate the impacts of oil in the water column on the surrounding environment through containment or removal of the submerged oil. This phase of the project involved demonstrating the technical and scientific basis of two approaches as well as their feasibility. Argonne National Laboratory ANL proposes to use polyurethane foam, a commonly used material for many general purposes, as the material of choice to adsorb submerged oil. Prior to use, the foam undergoes a series of chemical processes in order to render it oleophilic and thus more susceptible to adsorbing and retaining oil droplets and dissolved oil in the water column. Dynaflow, Inc. is developing a mitigation system that utilizes a number of microbubble generators to be placed beneath a submerged oil plume in order to allow air bubbles of differing sizes to adhere and lift oil droplets in the water column to the surface where it can be removed by traditional oil recovery methods. Dynaflow is also developing fast-running computer software to optimize the position and number of generators and predict the oil recovery location. The RDC evaluated Phase II-A findings and determined that vendor-specific recommendations have potential for successful outcomes in Phase II-BPrototype Development and Demonstration. Overall, the RDC recommends that both vendors move forward to Phase II-B.

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