Herding agents
Preliminary testing of chemical herding agents to thicken oil slicks among loose pack ice for the purpose of in situ burning has been completed. Following encouraging results obtained from these initial tests, further research is being conducted including verifying field experiments.

The activity in this task is based on the following previous work:

  1. A successful test program at the scale of 100 m2 in the Ice Engineering Research Facility Test Basin at the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in November 2005; 
  2. A test program at the scale of 1000 m2 at the Ohmsett test tank in natural or artificial pack ice in February 2006; and,
  3. A series of burn tests at the scale of 50 m2 with herders and crude oil in a pit containing broken sea ice in Prudhoe Bay, AK in fall 2006.

Since the results of these meso-scale tests are encouraging as the results of the small-scale tests, the next logical step is field tests in lower concentrations of pack ice. Field tests are critical to proving the concept since even the largest test tanks have walls that seriously restrict the time scale over which herder experiments can be conducted.

LAST NEWS: Field test (100 to 700 litres) were performed on Svalbard in May 2008 and uncontained burning was succesfuly performed at low ice coverage and in open water. See pictures on front page.

Contact; Ian Buist (SL Ross, Canada) 

Published November 13, 2006

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