Gulf Oil Spill: Engineering Approaches

Posted by Beth Perkins on Jun 24, 2010 11:00:00 AM

A couple of weeks ago Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s live radio show “Talk of the Nation: Science Friday” discussed some “outside-the-box” solutions that can “plug the leak,” a rather innocuous euphemism to stopping the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He invited 3 prominent proponents of “other options” – crowdsourced solutions to contain, cutoff and clean the Gulf Oil Spill – for a lively discussion around the ideas submitted to InnoCentive and The New York Times Dot Earth blog, the need for a crowdsourcing capability to increase the effectiveness of response efforts, and general preventative measures around oil spills and other disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

Included in the interview were journalist and Dot Earth blogger (The New York Times) Andrew Revkin, UC Berkeley professor Robert Bea, and our very own CEO, Dwayne Spradlin. Dwayne shared some of the ideas and solutions InnoCentive received to the Emergency Response 2.0 Challenge, Solutions to Respond to Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Ideas to “cover and collect” the leak ranged from explosives, various containment methods using metal or liquid nitrogen and “natural” barriers designed using sand and reefs. We received schematics, plans, drawings and sample materials and directions on how to use them. Interestingly, we even received ideas similar to BP’s containment dome that was to be deployed during the week of the interview.

The show was called Gulf Oil Spill: Engineering Approaches and aired on May 7th. Have a listen – they mention some interesting and innovative solutions to our first Emergency Response 2.0 Challenge.

Topics: Innovation Insights, Challenges

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