After the BP oil spill, the X Prize Foundation offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could come up with a better way of cleaning up oil. But the winning team, Team Elastec/American Marine, didn’t merely do better — they blew other oil skimmers out of the water (ha). Their skimmer sucks up nearly 90 percent of spilled oil. You can check it out in the video above. The details, according to NPR:
The industry standard is for oil skimmers to remove 1,100 gallons of oil per minute. The X Challenge set the bar at 2,500 gallons per minute.
Obviously it'd be preferable for oil not to spill into waterways at all, but this is apparently too much to ask. And as long as it's a risk, a better cleanup strategy is a welcome advancement.
Get Grist in your inbox