May 12, 2010

Simple Brilliance

Not every complex problem needs to have a complex (and expensive) solution. Check out this quite green idea for capturing much of the oil still being emitted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Via the Huffington Post, which has the back story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 12, 2010 10:08 AM

As a somewhat different idea, I ran across this. It explains why this works, although in the context of a different thing to absorb it, human hair.

Posted by: Skip at May 12, 2010 10:32 AM

Too bad this makes so much sense. Our betters in Washington will never go for it.

Posted by: TimothyJ at May 12, 2010 10:52 AM

Note the real reason for this catastrphe, the word to use the hay has to come from "up top". That means it has to go the the executatives, then the lawyers, then Washington, then to committee and more lawyers. But the time the ok comes the oil will have been naturally processed by nature and we can drill for it again.

Note all the finger pointing on who is to blame for this. I have worked rigs and can tell you that the project engineer at BP is the one with the prize. He and only he is the man that prevents a blow out. He calculates the mud, makes sure the preventers are working, ok's the cement and so forth. If he was on the floor when the well blew, which is where he belngs, then he should have been the last man off and should have died closing the rig. I have known this to occur.

Posted by: David at May 12, 2010 01:13 PM

Great idea. Maybe I'm a pessimist but I don't see this going anywhere because the right palms aren't being greased. Besides we Americans tend to go for over-complicated and over-engineered solutions. During the space race we spent millions to develop a pen that worked in the vacuum of space. The Soviets used pencils.
I love this country but sometimes the people running it are schmucks.

Posted by: NevadaDailySteve at May 12, 2010 01:18 PM

While the hay demo represents an admirable effort, the trouble is that it doesn't scale up to sufficiently address the actual scope of the problem at hand.

The volume of hay required to collect the amount of oil present makes the idea logistically impractical in this case. Several folks have already done the math, Google it if you're interested.

On the other hand, for something like keeping a repair garage leak from fouling a local river, it's a quick and easy solution.

Posted by: Junk Science Skeptic at May 12, 2010 02:05 PM

This was posted to you tube a week ago. How many hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil have been spilled and uncaptured since then? Fix the problem now, point fingers later.

Posted by: Web at May 12, 2010 02:20 PM

A lot of wheat straw available. After the grain is thrashed a lot of us bail up the straw and have it around just in case. I don't care who did the math, there is a lot of old wheat straw sitting around, and there is a whole lot more in the fields after harvest. It would probably be worth more than the grain.

Posted by: bman at May 12, 2010 02:54 PM

I agree with every comment here - especially Nevada Steve... and I site all the completely unnecessary projects the Military Industrial Complex has produced over the past 50+ years.

But simple, workable, logical answers like these two gentleman have produced will get ignored... because some petro-chemical corporation wants and gets the contract for dumping even more crap into the ocean. That, my friends, is the height and definition of fascism - greased palms and all.

Posted by: blakeart at May 13, 2010 11:15 AM

You forget that you are talking about his imperial majesty the President. Why he could make a decree and force the use of behaya grass. After all that is what you all really just said didn't you? So he should just order it done and it will be now won't it?

I say he will throw everything and the kitchen sink at the problem including the hay.

Posted by: Ron at May 15, 2010 09:02 AM

It is amazing. Really amazing. This is not a big problem.

Since the incident about 4.3 million gallons have spewed from the well.

Four million gallons of oily water have been skimmed from the water. That means about 2 million gallons of crude have been skimmed.

1.9 million gallons have been either absorbed by sorbet buoys, or the chemicals dumped to disperse it.

That leaves less than half a million gallons still in the water, and it will be cleaned up shortly. They are gaining ground on the problem.

Now here is another little known fact. 16 million gallons of crude comes up through seeps in the cap rocks in the gulf every year, and is cleaned up naturally without any human intervention.

Posted by: Matt at May 16, 2010 05:17 PM