Page 40: of Marine News Magazine (October 2017)

Salvage & Spill Response

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Elastec’s Grooved Elastec’s Grooved

Skimming TechnologySkimming Technology

A Turning Point in Oil Spill Recovery.

By Linda Henning leaning up marine oil spills can be a challenge as is no “one-size-? ts-all” skimmer. Oil viscosity is one of the there are various types of oil spilled but only a few most critical parameters affecting a skimmer’s recovery per-

Ceffective recovery methods. The three main tech- formance. At opposite ends of the viscosity spectrum are nologies for oil spill recovery for inland and offshore wa- light and heavy oils. Gasoline and diesel fuel as well as Bak- ters are mechanical, insitu burning (ISB), and dispersant ken crude are light oils. They spread and evaporate quickly. application. Absorbent booms and pads may also be used, Heavy oils, such as bunker and bitumen, are more viscous but they are more effective for small fuel spills. and can cause more environmental harm as they linger lon-

Mechanical recovery, usually an oil skimmer, is a device ger and may even sink. Medium viscosity oils are, well, in that skims contained ? oating oil and transfers the recovered the middle and are somewhat easier to recover mechanically.

oil to a storage container or vessel. Selecting the appropriate Oil skimmers come in all sizes, con? gurations, combi- oil skimmer depends upon the oil’s viscosity, slick thick- nations and materials: drums, discs, ropes, brushes, belts, ness, adhesive characteristics and weathering properties. Sea weirs, suction, aluminum, steel, polymer, pneumatic and states and the ability to access and encounter the oil are also hydraulic. Oleophilic polymer skimmers generally recover important factors, among others. It is possible that more a higher ratio of oil relative to water and are also effec- than one type of skimmer may be needed on a single spill. tive in recovering medium viscosity oils. In 1990, Elastec, an environmental equipment manufacturer in Carmi, Ill., perfected the oleophilic smooth drum skimmer which re-

No “one-size-

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