FORU with the European fund for regional development (EFRO) started a project to developed a solution for sheen on the water surface.
What is sheen?
Everywhere in the world there are problems with surface water contamination in the form of sheen. Sheen is an oil layer that has a thickness of less than 5 µm (0.005 mm) and has a silvery/grey to rainbow color on the water surface. The total amount of oil per area varies between 40 – 5000 liter per square kilometer.
Damages to marine health and economic losses due to sheen.
This generates a pungent smell, is hazardous for marine health and can result in economic losses when it occurs in tourist areas. Causes of sheen can be for instance naturally or happen by human error with the transport of hydrocarbons. That’s why a relatively small spill (<5 m3) can cause concerns on well-being of people, tourism and flora & fauna in a big area.
Current way of dealing with the problem.
The current way of dealing with this problem is dispersing the oil in the water, the use of sorbents or doing nothing. Dispersing the oil in the water can be done chemically or mechanically and relies on nature to break down the hydrocarbons. During this process the oil is still toxic to humans and marine organisms.
A different technique is the use of sorbents. Sorbents are made of a material, mostly Polypropylene (PP), that only absorbs oil. This can be thrown on the water surface and must be removed when it is saturated with oil or when there is no oil left in the area of the sorbent. When doing nothing, the lighter fractions of the oil will evaporate, and the rest will disperse naturally by wave and/or wind action in the water.
Foru Solution objective in this project
If you decide to solve the problem with current cleanup methods, it will require a lot of workers that are trained. This will result in high costs for a problem that maybe occurs a couple of times per year. Therefore Foru-Solution is investing to build a machine that will automate this cleanup process. Thereby cutting down on costs, clean up the sheen quickly and be standby 24 hours a day. Like the FORU skimmers, its unique selling points will be easy to use, low maintenance and a sustainable design.
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