Herder/Burner SystemsW. Scott Pegau, Prince William Sound Science Center
Scope of work:
This is a Joint Industry partnership project with additional funding from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), ExxonMobil, Shell, North Caspian Operators Company, and Clean Caribbean and Americas. These entities along with OSRI have contributed funding to develop a remotely operated surface vessel (ROSV) for oil spill response. The initial design is for a system that can be deployed via ship or helicopter and can travel up to 12 hours from the original deployment site to deploy chemical herders and ignite the resultant slicks. The system also includes a tethered aerial camera to guide the operators to the most appropriate portions of the slick. This project is a follow-on to OSRI project 18-10-11. Extra support was provided by OSRI to support testing the ROSV at a planned field release off Canada. BSEE has provided additional support to expand the effort and build a platform that can be used to test other remote sensing technologies that may be used during a spill response.
The purpose of this program is to incorporate an existing manned helicopter-mounted herder application system with a new aerial ignition system mounted on the same helicopter. The resulting combination will provide an effective oil spill removal tool that can quickly fly to an offshore site and deal with a spill before it spreads over a large area. The most important benefit of this tool apart from the speed of response is its ability to operate independently without the need to have vessels at the spill location.
The ultimate goals for this program are: 1) to develop and test fully operational, FAA certified helicopter-based herder/burn systems, both manned and unmanned, that can be made available to OSROs to be used in the event of an oil spill incident, and 2) to train the next generation of highly qualified personnel (HQP) in deploying the new rapid response tool.