Coast Guard seeks oil spill technology

Agency appeals to private sector for help

The Coast Guard is, perhaps belatedly, seeking technologies to help combat the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a broad agency announcement, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center asks for white papers proposing technologies to deal with five specific needs:

• Oil sensing improvements to response and detection – such as tactical oil sensing, surface oil tracking and reporting and submerged oil detection.
• Oil wellhead control and submerged oil response – for example, wellhead spill control, wellhead shutoff measures, submerged oil collection or submerged oil treatment.
• Traditional oil spill response technologies -- booms, skimmers, surface collections techniques, absorbents, near- and on-shore response and similar approaches.
• Alternative oil spill response technologies – such as burning the oil where it is, alternative chemical treatments, innovative applications not commonly used for oil response.
• Oil spill damage assessment and restoration -- for example, damage assessment techniques, tracking surface restoration technologies and submerged restoration technologies.

In the document, issued June 4, officials state that the Coast Guard’s R&D Center issued the request at the behest of the federal on-scene coordinator and the national incident commander, under the provisions of the Oil Pollution act of 1990.

The announcement was published on FedBizOpps as BAA HSCG32-10-R-R00019.

Although the April explosion at the Deepwater Horizon well, and the resulting spill – which is still ongoing – was the precipitating event for the issuance of the solicitation, it will remain open for one year.

The announcement contains instructions for submitting white papers.

In another development, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La), chairwoman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee, has scheculed a hearing on June 17 at 10 a.m. entitled “Harnessing Small Business Innovation: Navigating the Evaluation Process for Gulf Coast Oil Cleanup Proposals.”

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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