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An Autonomous Sailing Robot To Clean Up Oil Spills 62

Posted by Roblimo
from the sailing-without-human-help dept.
rDouglass writes "Protei is a low-cost, open-source oil collecting robot that autonomously sails upwind, intercepting oil sheens going downwind. This crowd sourced, open source hardware, collaboratively developed project could help prevent the tragedy of the next oil spill. Furthermore, it is a prime example of what people can do together when they collaborate, working together on the research and development, design, and funding. Licensed under the Open Source Hardware (OSHW) license guarantees that as many people in all parts of the world will benefit from this effort as possible."
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An Autonomous Sailing Robot To Clean Up Oil Spills

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  • by rDouglass (1068738) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @02:57PM (#35769090) Homepage
    I pledged $150 to this project and look forward to wearing the Protei hoodie that they'll send me. I couldn't believe that it hadn't gotten more attention. I'm not affiliated with the project in any way, but I know that I'm going to weep with bitter joy when I see one of these skimming oil from an oil spill. I hated the feelings of helplessness and desperation that I hada when watching the tragedy of the Gulf spill. Supporting this project at least gives me something concrete to do which just may one day help keep our oceans clean.
  • Wind Power (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2011 @03:47PM (#35769362)

    Why use wind power when there's all that juicy oil floating around??

  • by nido (102070) <nido56@yahQUOTEoo.com minus punct> on Saturday April 09, 2011 @05:10PM (#35769858) Homepage

    Last summer, when the oil geyser had been flowing uninhibited for over two months, I posted here about my idea for using the US Navy's portable nuclear reactors [teslabox.com] to power air pumps that would oxygenate ocean waters affected by the spill. The oxygen would feed the bacteria already present in the water that happily consume seeped oil.

    The slick on the surface isn't "the tragedy" of these oil spills. Most of the tragedy is below the surface, where TV cameras and congressmembers won't see it.

    One of the visitors said that it'd be difficult to pump air to the depths of the ocean, and suggested pumping oxygenated surface water instead. I took that and other feedback to write a short followup piece on Cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico [teslabox.com].

    I welcome anything good at cleaning up our messes. Especially a device this open and energy efficient. But let's not pretend that cleaning up the surface could possibly "prevent the tragedy". By the time this thing is out there cleaning up, most of the tragedy has already gone down.

    While this thing might be okay for little oil spills, like the one from a few weeks ago [chron.com], effectively responding to future underwater blowouts will require massive infrastructure and power. Like what could be stored on, delivered and powered by a retired nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

    I just want the politicians to order the Navy to get some guys thinking about the idea: When Disaster Strikes, Send the Enterprise [sendtheenterprise.org]. Or maybe I'll write the Japanese embassy to suggest that they offer to buy the Enterprise, thereby saving the US Navy $millions in decommissioning costs. They have the infrastructure to refuel it, if required, and the motivation to dedicate it to disaster response.

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