NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

An inside look at the science of cleaning up and fixing the mess of marine pollution

Oil No Longer Mixes With Water for Winners of the Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE

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A major push for innovation in cleaning up oil spills has reached its conclusion:  The winners of the 2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE have been announced [leaves this blog].

Office of Response and Restoration Director Dave Westerholm and the rest of the judging panel recently whittled down the pool of competitors for the $1.4 million in prizes in this summer’s contest at OHMSETT, the National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility in New Jersey. The teams set out to show that their new inventions and processes were the fastest and most efficient means to recover oil from the surface of seawater.

Contestants had to more than double the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate tested in controlled conditions by exceeding 2,500 gallons per minute (with at least 70% efficiency of oil collected over water). The X PRIZE Foundation and the panel of judges selected the top ten teams, from a pool of 37, to compete during 10 weeks this past summer and fall. The ambitious targets were set to inspire breakthroughs in oil spill clean-up technology.

The $1 million first place winner was Elastec / American Marine, an Illinois-based manufacturer of oil spill and environmental equipment, for achieving 4,670 gallons per minute (at 89.5% efficiency). Team NOFI, from Norway, was awarded the second place prize of $300,000 for reaching 2,712 gallons per minute (at 83% efficiency). For more information, photos, and results of the competition, visit: http://www.iprizecleanoceans.org/ [leaves this blog].

Learn more about the winning technology from Elastec / American Marine in the video below:

Author: Office of Response and Restoration

The National Ocean Service's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific solutions for marine pollution. A part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), OR&R is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments. These threats could be oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, or marine debris.

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