Non-dispersing Response Technologies

Dispersants, and to a lesser extent in-situ burning, are the most emphasized and researched alternatives. However, non-dispersing technologies such as solidifiers, elastomers, and coagulants hold much unrealized potential as alternatives that can be applied to spilled oil to prevent its spread and provide for its recovery and removal. As opposed to dispersants, these products actually allow for the removal the spilled oil from the environment instead of diluting it into the environment. Despite this fact, almost all the research and development, marketing, and scientific studies in the alternative response technology arena have focused on dispersants. This project aims to help move these alternatives into the general oil spill responders knowledge base as well as the into the regulatory pre-approval process.

The Council develops bibliographies and syntheses of relevant research in this subject area. These provide recent knowledge in the subject area which can then be used to aid the decision-making process about their use and the potential for funding future research.

See also our page on In-Situ Burning.

Non-dispersing Literature Reviews

The Council’s bibliographies can be found below.  They were most recently updated in 2013.

Surfacewashing Agents Or Beach Cleaners

Surface washing agents or beach cleaners or shoreline cleaning agents, are formulations containing surfactants and are designed to remove oil from surfaces such as shorelines. The desired mechanism is that of detergency rather than dispersion. These agents generally have properties different from dispersants and are of typically lower aquatic toxicity, do not disperse oil except at higher mixing energies and are applied quite differently than dispersants. Surface washing agents are typically applied on oil stranded on beaches during low-tide phases and then the oil is removed using low-pressure water and directed toward an oil recovery area.

This version of the report reviews the old work and updates the topic until 2013.
View: Surfacewashing Agents Or Beach Cleaners
Author: Merv Fingas, Spill Science
Date: January 1, 2013
File size: 1.0 MB

Review Of Oil Spill Herders

Herding agents are surfactant mixtures or singular surfactants, used to drive thin slicks of oil to a desired location or to push slicks together so that they can be collected or burned. Herding agents contain a surfactant which has a spreading pressure greater than that of oil. Historically these agents were not used to any extent. Recently they have been tested as agents which may assist the burning of oil in ice situations. The idea is that the herding agents may push the oil together to yield burnable thicknesses in those cases where it is too thin to burn.

Herding agents have limitations such as they are not useful in any but calm conditions and the limitation is that only about a 3 mm slick can be herded together. Further, the herding effect diminishes with time as the surfactants dissolve slowly or adhere to solid objects in their path. Action is probably limited to about one hour. Herding agents would be used by spraying them around the slick to compress the slick inward. At this time, herding agents are not approved for use in the USA nor are they common commercial products.
View: Review Of Oil Spill Herders
Author: Merv Fingas, Spill Science
Date: January 1, 2013
File size: 0.5 MB

A Review of Literature Related to Oil Spill Solidifiers 1990-2008

This report is a review of the limited literature on oil spill solidifiers published from 1990 to August 2008. The report identifies and summarizes data on solidifier effectiveness, composition, and application.
View: A Review of Literature Related to Oil Spill Solidifiers 1990-2008
Author: Merv Fingas Environmental Technology Centre
Date: September 12, 2008
File size: 1.0 MB
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