Seven weeks after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, oil slicks have inundated the shores of mainland United States. Traditional oil recovery methods have proved inept.
BP has collected only 25 million gallons of oil and water from the surface of the Gulf and burned 238,000 barrels into the atmosphere — leaving plenty of oil to suffocate marshes, turn beaches black and poison marine life. A normally optimistic friend of mine recently joked that BP had discovered an organic, biodegradable material to absorb oil: pelicans.
That cynicism is poisonous, but it is not without justification. With over 100,000 solutions proposed via a highly publicized suggestion line, BP, the US Government and sub-contractors have plenty of available, established technologies to choose from. And yet, from many accounts, the technology sits idle along the gulf, waiting for permission to deploy. [Read more…]