The Development of Hybrid Rapid Response Agents to Mitigate the Impact of Oil Spills in Marine Environments

Lead Proponent:   BC Research Inc.
Location:  Richmond, BC
OSRS Contribution: $ 925,896
Project Total: $ 1,286,480
Strategic Area:  Oil Spill Response Science Program

Project Objectives:

This project will accelerate the development of a hybrid spill-treating agent (STA) as a rapid response agent to combat marine oil spills at large scale. The hybrid STA would have both gelling and herding properties, to prevent or slow down the spreading of an oil slick by rendering it into a thickened (gelled) state, as well as to use it as a herding agent, to facilitate either controlled burn or skimming operations.

Current oil recovery rates for spills on water are estimated to be in the range of 10-20%. With current STAs, there are few options to prevent or slow down weathering processes, including spreading and dispersion. Delaying the spreading and weathering process would potentially facilitate cleanup and improve the degree/rate of oil removed. 

Expected Results:

Identification of a new class of STA’s that will improve Canada’s ability to rapidly respond to a dilbit spill in a marine environment and could be adopted as a general purpose oil spill treating agent and would be a good addition to the range of response techniques available to response organizations.

Existing STAs have well-known limitations for ship board deployment in a rapid response scenario due to high loading requirements which makes deployment impractical. A proactive approach towards developing and implementing an accompanying ship board measure is novel and would place Canada at the forefront of world class tanker safety systems and oil spill response. This is an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment towards balancing economic development with responsible environmental stewardship.

Project Partners:

NORAM Engineers and Constructors
University of British Columbia

Find out more:

B.C. Research Inc.