Oil-eating AEROS Robots Could Clean Oil Spills In Days
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has triggered the development of schemes that can protect the environment if such disasters happen in future. While some people are proposing use of dispersants or hay, the Global Response Group is proposing a more high-tech approach. The group is proposing automated robots called the Airborne Robotic Oil Spill Recovery System or AEROS that can clean oil spill in days.
The AEROS is a fleet of airplane-deployed robots that can contain oil and use centrifuge-like separators to collect oil for refining. For the system to work, airplanes first drop these robots and inflatable booms near the spill site. Once inflated, the booms surround the oil and the robots use GPS to get behind the boom’s flap, directing water into the cleaning system.
The robots suck oily water and spin the liquids, sending denser water to the outside and creating a stream of oil in the center. Water that exits the robot is 99 percent pure. Oil collected during the process is stored in bladders, which can later be removed by crew members to recycle.
The developers believe that each robot can clean up to 3000 gallons of oil per minute, scrubbing the affected area in just a few days. The group is also in talks with the Chinese government to establish the first AEROS airbase, which will be able to deploy these robots to protect the country’s fishing waters from oil spills.