August 2015 - Marine Technology Reporter

MTR100: Ohmsett

Posted by Irina Tabakina

PO Box 473, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716   
T: 732-866-7183   
E: [email protected]   
Program Mgr.: Bill Schmidt
No. of Employees: 18


Ohmsett provides independent and objective performance testing of full-scale oil spill response equipment and marine renewable energy systems. It is the largest outdoor saltwater wave/tow tank facility in North America and the only facility where full-scale oil spill response equipment research, testing, and training can be conducted in a marine environment with oil under controlled environmental conditions.
Managed by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE), Ohmsett is part of its oil spill research program ensuring the best and safest oil spill detection, containment and removal technologies are available to protect the U.S. coastal and ocean environments. The facility is maintained by MAR, Inc. through a contract with BSEE.
The facility has the capability to test and evaluate oil spill response technologies such as: mechanical recovery systems, chemical agents and dispersants, ice and cold weather climate, remote sensing and detection instruments, sorbent materials, booms, viscous oil pumping units, and oil water separators.
The test tank can accommodate many alternative energy devices, in particular wave energy conversion mechanical devices, in a controlled environment at meso-scale. The advantage is that arduous scaling considerations are minimized, and validation testing is more realistic.
In addition, Ohmsett provides a venue for first responders with the most realistic hands-on training available, enabling rapid and efficient response to an oil spill.

Ohmsett consists of an above-ground concrete test tank measuring 667 x 65 feet wide x 8 feet deep filled with 2.6 million gallons of salt water, machine shop, and oil/water chemistry lab. The wave generator produces random waves that closely approximate waves in the ocean, such as sinusoidal and harbor chop, Pierson-Moskowitz, JONSWAP, and Frequency Modulated Slide, with scalable ocean water depth, wind speed, and model scale factor.
To accommodate cutting-edge technology, BSEE recently upgraded the facility with newly developed equipment to measure oil slick thickness during testing. An acoustic tool adapted to operate from a Remotely Operated Vehicle, detects oil in and under ice, tracks location, and measures thickness. The sensors provide real-time measurements of the slick thickness and include cameras for real-time viewing and recording. To accurately and rapidly assess cold water and ice testing parameters such as total surface oil versus ice area coverage and oil layer thickness, a thermal imaging camera with processing software was developed specifically for use at Ohmsett. The Tactical Rapid Airborne Classification System creates images that separate ice, water and oil of several thicknesses based on differences in the thermal emittance.
To expand the ability for testing in simulated Arctic conditions, BSEE funded the development of surrogate ice modules made of composite materials that can be modified to simulate natural ice in various Arctic conditions.”   

The MTR100 is Marine Technology Reporter's Annual report on 100 leading companies in the subsea industry, published in the July/August 2015 edition of MTR -

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