Last week, Florida-based Enviro Voraxial Technology (EVTN) announced that it has received a purchase order from BP for an underwater version of its Voraxial 4000 Separator. Mounted on a skimmer vessel, the machine takes oil-laden water from the sea and spins it at high speed in a central cylindrical chamber. The resulting centrifugal force pulls the water to the outer edges of the chamber, leaving the oil in the middle. Once separated, that oil is then captured and stored in onboard holding tanks, while the water flows back into the ocean. BP wishes to try out their single 4000 on a trial basis, with an eye towards using multiple machines for cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
According to EVTN, oil-skimming vessels using its invention can operate for ten times longer than other vessels. This, the company claims, is because the oil a Voraxial Separator collects is much more concentrated than the oil/water mixture obtained by other systems, taking up one-tenth the amount of space in the holding tanks – while other oil-skimming vessels need to go back to shore to empty their tanks, a Voraxial-equipped vessel can keep going.
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