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Protei The Robotic Oil Cleaning Sailboat


Image by Cesar Harada

Protei is the plural for Proteus, son of Poseidon, the god of the sea.

Protei is a cool open source project aimed at creating a fleet of autonomous sailboats that help skim the surface of the water and clean up oil spills.  Basically the designers have moved steering from the rear of the sailboat to the front and added a long tail that absorbs the oil.

From their website:

Our vision :
Protei is a fleet of pollution collecting sailing drones. It is using existing technologies in an innovative design we can implement on the short term to address the crisis. We are developing a low-cost open-source oil collecting device that semi-autonomously sails upwind, intercepting oil sheens going downwind. The design of protei is meant to be hurricane-ready, self-righting, inflatable, unbreakable, cheap and easy to manufacture for immediate response.

Click through for a video explaining it in more detail.

If so inclined, you can donate to the next prototype on Kickstarter.


Read the remainder of this entry »


Bad Robot Worsens Oil Spill

Bad RobotAn underwater robot bumped some of the machinery that is helping to collect part of the oil leak.

This forced BP to actually take the well cap off again to fix it, leaving nothing to stem the flow of oil into the ocean.

The cap was removed as fluid was seen leaking from it and was a potential safety hazard.

Crews are checking for ice crystals forming on the top of the oil well and are trying to replace the cap.

via (CBS3) & (Foxnews)


Robot Sub Deployed To Stop Oil Leak

UT-1 Ultra TrencherThe oil drilling rig known as the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig was engulfed in an explosion last Tuesday. On Friday, the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico had completely sunk.

Transocean, a Swiss company owned the oil rig and had leased it to BP.  Currently the former oil rig site is now leaking 42,000 gallons of oil a day. They plan on deploying a robot sub to plug the leak by tightening valves at the wellhead. Shown here is an underwater robot  called UT-1 Ultra Trencher by Soil Machine Dynamics.  This robot is used to bury oil and gas pipelines in the ocean floor and may be similar to the robot they use in the Gulf of Mexico.  The BP press release states:

“We are attacking this spill on two fronts – at the wellhead and on the surface offshore,” said BP Group Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who has traveled to Texas and Louisiana this week to meet with response personnel. “The team on the ground and those at sea have the Group’s full resources behind them.”

Here is the latest BP press release in full.

As a second safety measure, they may drill a second well to cut off the oil flow from the first well.

Let’s hope they get this cleaned up quickly.

Link via (Times Online)