The first stage of an effective oil spill response is to deploy containment booms that limit spreading and concentrate the oil to facilitate clean up. However, there is a pressing need for boom systems that can successfully contain oil in fast flowing water, like rivers, and along coastlines affected by tides. There is also a need to enable speedier cleanup in slow moving waters.
Researchers assessed the effectiveness of several novel oil containment boom concepts in fast flowing water with varying amounts of light, medium, and heavy oil. The results suggest that some of the new boom designs can successfully collect oil in water at speeds up to 3 times faster than conventional boom designs. The next step is to confirm these findings in full scale testing and field trials; but already, this research represents a significant contribution to improving oil spill containment technology.