The world’s first unmanned oil spill boat has been shown to the environmental authorities and future customers in California.
The catamaran drives back and forth over the oil spill and pulverises the oil into small biodegradable particles, using high pressure water jets.
“In this way, the oil particles dissolve and become part of nature’s cycle,” says former SINTEF researcher, and now the entrepreneur of Blue Impact AS, Stein Erik Sørstrøm. Blue Impact has worldwide patents on this technology.
“This was our first major test for whether mechanical dispersion will work, not only in theory but also in practice,” said Karl Nevland, co-founder of Blue Impact, and Field Operations Manager in California.
The Trondheim company, Maritime Robotics, has developed the instrumentation on the unmanned boat.
Like drones in the ocean.
Most oil spills are small, and the need is greatest in coastal waters – not on the open sea. It is also the intention that more boats will operate together. They could then be used as a coordinated device, almost like drones.
The equipment can be easily transported by car trailer or a helicopter, and used where there has been oil spill. The advantage that the ships are unmanned is first and foremost that personnel should not be exposed to oil spill oils.
“Another advantage is that unmanned vessels can be used in risk areas to a greater extent than a manned vessel, and may, in theory, be operational 24 hours a day, according to Sørstrøm.
Source: Robotics & Automation News