US Coast Guard calls for high-tech help in BP oil disaster

Coast Guard wants high-tech help to handle BP Deepwater oil disaster

The US Coast Guard has issued a call for better specialized technology to help it better respond to the ever-widening BP Deepwater oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 

In what some may regard as too little too late, the Coast Guard is looking for all manner of technology such as advanced wireless sensors to help it track the movement and amount of oil in the Gulf, which depending on who you listen to amounts to over 140 million gallons and its still leaking. 

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The Coast Guard's Broad Agency Announcement says it needs to address five key technology gaps:   

1.       Oil Sensing Improvements to Response and Detection: Tactical oil sensing, surface oil tracking and reporting, submerged oil detection, submerged oil tracking and reporting, etc.

2.       Oil Wellhead Control and Submerged Oil Response: Wellhead spill control, wellhead shutoff measures, submerged oil collection, submerged oil treatment, etc.

3.       Traditional Oil Spill Response Technologies: Booms, skimmers, surface collections techniques, absorbents, near- and on-shore response, innovative applications not commonly used for oil spill response, disposal, etc.

4.       Alternative Oil Spill Response Technologies: In-situ burn, alternative chemical treatments, innovative applications not commonly used for oil response, etc.

5.       Oil Spill Damage Assessment and Restoration: Damage assessment techniques, tracking surface restoration technologies and submerged restoration technologies, etc. 

The US Coast Guard Research and Development Center will evaluate the submissions - and their potential cost - to determine if the technology as a potential for immediate benefit to the spill response effort, the Coast Guard stated.  Submissions then will be forwarded to the Deepwater Horizon Response Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for further action.  

In related news, the US Department of Energy this week opened an online portal where the public can get all the technical details it can stomach about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf.  The DOE site offers online access to schematics, pressure tests, diagnostic results and other data about the malfunctioning blowout preventer and other problems in the ongoing mess

The DOE said it wants to make all data widely available to ensure the public is as informed as possible, and to ensure that outside experts making recommendations have access to the same information that BP and the government have. 

The information posted at energy.gov/oilspilldata includes detailed raw data on the pressure readings within the blowout preventer, as well as rates and amounts of hydrocarbons captured by the top hat and by the riser insertion tube. There is also a timeline of key events and detailed summaries of the Deepwater well configuration, the blowout preventer stack tubes, and the containment system, the DOE stated. 

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8   

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