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Model V20 Centrifuge
Dances With Oil!

The ongoing leak of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico has reached epic proportions and shows no signs of stopping. All attempts to stop the leak of crude oil into the Gulf have failed thus far leaving the only option for the time being to clean the oil from the waters of the Gulf as quickly as possible.

Actor Kevin Costner came forward not long ago with a machine that his company -- Ocean Therapy Solutions (OTS) - has developed with bold claims that the machine could clean up the massive and ever increasing oil spill floating in the Gulf. The machine is a high-tech centrifuge that is offered in several different sizes with the largest of the machines capable of cleaning crude oil from water at a rate of hundreds of gallons per minute. The centrifuge promises to leave the water 99% clean of crude oil.

BP is reaching for any lifeline to help stop the growing catastrophe and reportedly took one of the machines to test. The initial test failed due to dispersal agents added to the crude oil transforming it into a peanut butter consistency that the machines could not work with. OTS adjusted the machines to work with the thickened consistency and they now reportedly work as described.

BP COO Doug Suttles said, "We were confident the technology would work but we needed to test it at the extremes. We've done that and are excited by the results. We are very pleased with the results and today we have placed a significant order with OTS and will be working with them to rapidly manufacture and deploy 32 of their machines."

Costner says that over the last 15 years he has invested $20 million of his own money into the company to develop the centrifuge machines. Costner says that he was inspired to start the development of the machines after the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska in 1989 dumping 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound. 
ABC News reports that depending on the water to oil ratio the centrifuge machines can extract as much as 2,000 barrels of oil per day from the gulf.

OTS CEO John Houghtaling said, "The machines are basically sophisticated centrifuge devices that can handle a huge volume of water and separate at unprecedented rates. They were developed from older centrifuge technology. Normal centrifuge machines are very slow and sensitive to different ratios of oil to water mixtures at intake."

Costner acknowledged that BP has ordered 32 of the oil separating machines. He also claims that that number of machines could mitigate much of the damage done in the waters of the gulf.

He said, "It's not too late … That oil's going to keep coming towards those people. That well has not stopped. So we have to be out at the source, sucking it up … I mean, we have to treat it a little bit like war. We mustered logistically everything we had to get the beaches of Normandy. We have to muster everything we can to keep it from hitting our beaches."

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By Enoch2001 on 6/17/2010 3:47:36 PM , Rating: 3
Hundreds of gallons per minute seems like it wouldn't help much. 32 of the machines is supposed to help how much area? Can't be much. More like positive PR. Seems to me like going to fight a war with a 1 pump daisy BB gun.

Uhhhh... noooo - not just a PR stunt. Just one of these will process 2000 barrels of oil a day. So 32 of them will process 64,000 barrels a day. That's hardly just a "BB gun" dent in what's out there so far. In a little over 2 weeks time, over 1 million barrels could be processed.

That's assuming all the surface area of the contaminated ocean could be processed. That's more of the challenge, IMHO.

RE: Big Machine and Hundreds of Gallons? So what....
By ICBM on 6/17/2010 4:17:52 PM , Rating: 3
I hope you are right. What is the ratio of oil to water that this machine is supposed to pick up? Is it something like 1 part oil 10 parts water? Hundreds of gallons a minute just don't seem like much compared to total water volume, even just surface volume.

For perspective, we use a center pivot irrigation to water 100 Acres. We are pumping 1000gal/min out of a well, and it takes the pivot 72 hours to deliver just 2" of rain fall to 100 Ac. That is why hundreds of gpm didn't seem like much to me.

By VahnTitrio on 6/17/2010 5:18:01 PM , Rating: 4
You are about correct. Assuming these extract the top 12 inches of water (which with wave action stirring things up is not farfetched), running all 32 of these 24/7 they could clean up 153 acres per day (assuming 50 million gallons per day processed).

For those of you wondering that's about the smallest lake you could possibly water-ski on, or about a half mile by half mile. This may work to help contain further spillage, but as far as cleaning up what has already escaped these are pretty much useless.

By xsilver on 6/18/2010 2:34:54 AM , Rating: 3
I think what the OP is saying is that given the choice to plug the leak NOW or have these machines, You'd rather plug the hole because its causing way more damage than 32 of these machines can handle.

By AssBall on 6/17/2010 4:39:25 PM , Rating: 5
So 32 of them will process 64,000 barrels a day. That's hardly just a "BB gun" dent in what's out there so far. In a little over 2 weeks time, over 1 million barrels could be processed.

I like how positive you are about their peak theoretical performance being sustainable. I'll be really generous and say they maybe could get 35% of that in the gulf. That's IF they can keep them running all day and IF they don't break and IF weather is calm. So think even lower.

BP is already getting about 30,000 barrels a day (Washington Post) without these and hopes to double that by the end of the month (well they are running one to see if it works). And like you say processing that much surface area is going to be tough even with the booms.

And Ocean Therapy won't even be able to manufacture or deliver all 32 of these until late July or August. I'm trying to be positive about this too, but grab a dose of reality. It's mostly a PR stunt.

By Solandri on 6/17/2010 6:28:53 PM , Rating: 4
The point of these isn't to separate their max rate of oil (though it would be nice if they did). The point is the tankers following the skimmer ships get filled up with something like 90% water 10% oil, then have to leave and take that to a processing plant to separate the oil from the water.

By moving initial separation to the skimmer ship, they can fill the tanker up with (say) 10% water 90% oil, meaning the tanker doesn't have to make as many trips, less downtime for the skimmers, and thus a more efficient oil collection response overall.

By AssBall on 6/18/2010 7:12:38 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the addl. info.

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