Abanaki reported that its patent-pending Fuzzy2™ material being used on a disk oil skimmer in the Gulf picked up 56,000 gallons of oil in one day, triple the removal rate of a standard disk without the material.
Originally designed for capturing light oils, the special high-nap oil skimmer material is proving to be effective with the thick, tar-like oil fouling Gulf of Mexico waters since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Mounted on a floating disk skimmer made by CRUCIAL Inc. of Gretna, Louisiana, the material is recovering oil at three times the rate of ordinary skimmer material. In light oil applications that are typical of other oil spills and groundwater remediation, the Fuzzy2 material increases oil skimmer capacity up to five times.
A disk oil skimmer removes oil from water using a rotating disk covered with oleophilic (oil attracting) material. As the disk passes through the water, oil floating on the water’s surface sticks to the material. Wipers scrape off the oil and channel it to a pump that pipes the oil to a ship-based collection container. Unlike other oil skimmer disk materials, Fuzzy2 has a hairy surface that greatly increases its oil-grabbing ability.
According to Abanaki president Tom Hobson, before the April leak, it was believed the product worked best cleaning up "light oil." As reported on HiVelocity, Hobson said, "The oil has changed. The light oils are evaporating off. The oil that's left is a tar-material. We knew our material was very effective with light oils such as diesel fuel, but now we know it also does well with heavy oil."
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has exceeded the Exxon Valdez as the worst spill in U.S. history. Although a temporary cap has stopped the leak at the sea floor, oil skimmers and the clean-up effort in general will be an ongoing initiative for many months if not several years.
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