August 2016 - Marine Technology Reporter

MTR100: Ohmsett

Marine Technology Reporter

Managed by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE), Ohmsett – The National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility 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 (MD) LLC through a contract with BSEE. At Ohmsett, research and testing is conducted in a realistic setting to produce the most accurate and reliable results generally without scale modeling. Many of today’s commercially available oil spill cleanup products have been tested at Ohmsett and a considerable amount of performance data and information on mechanical response equipment has been obtained here. In addition, the test tank can accommodate 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. For government agencies, private industry, and oil spill response organizations from around the world, Ohmsett is the premier training site for their emergency response personnel. With this hands-on training using real oil, participants are able to increase proficiency using booms and skimmers, practice removing spilled oil in harbor chop and wave conditions, and analyze skimming performance after collecting and measuring recovered oil.

Ohmsett’s outdoor saltwater wave/tow tank measures 203 meters long by 20 meters wide by 2.4 meters deep and is filled with 10 million liters of crystal clear saltwater. A crow’s nest is mounted on the main bridge 9.1 meters above the water, providing an excellent vantage point for mounting test equipment, such as sensors, to remotely detect oil spills, as well as for video documentation of a test. The facility is equipped with a computerized wave generator that is capable producing wave characteristics of 59 cm height (H1/3 at 7 meter wave length), 83 cm height (H1/3 Harbor Chop), and wave length up to 30 meters.

Ohmsett’s testing capabilities include equipment tow bridges, a data collection system capable of recording up to 32 channels, programmable wave generator, fully equipped machine shop, on-site oil/water lab, oil distribution and recovery system, and a dispersant application system. The experienced staff assists clients with product evaluations, improvement recommendations, and acceptance testing of equipment. Testing specialties include test protocol development; containment booms; oil spill skimmer systems; remote sensing equipment; dispersant testing;  behavior of dispersed, weathered and emulsifies oils; cold weather and broken ice conditions, sorbents; temporary storage devices; viscous oil pumping and oil/water separators.

Email: [email protected]

(As published in the July/August 2016 MTR100 edition of Marine Technology Reporter)

Other stories from August 2016 issue


Marine Technology

Marine Technology Reporter is the world's largest audited subsea industry publication serving the offshore energy, subsea defense and scientific communities.