Countdown to the Awards Ceremony: Team Elastec/ American Marine
When an oil spill occurs there is very little time for preparation, there is only time for reactive measures utilizing the best possible equipment and knowledge you have to date. You hope that it is the best solution possible, you trust that you have done all the necessary homework required to safely and effectively recover the oil from the water’s surface and you believe that the responses will be swift. However, in a Competition, all bets are off and while the playing field (or in this case a water and oil filled tank) has been equalized as much as one can in real world conditions, there is no telling who has the best technology – not until all the results have been tabulated.
“Unlike most spills we have been called to, we knew the exact parameters we were about to be facing," Don Johnson, Elastec/ American Marine team leader said.
"We created our procedures, reexamined them in detail, potential problems were analyzed and corrective actions established. However, this machine had never been in oil. We were testing a machine whose size and capacity had not even been contemplated before. Picking up a minimum of 2500 gallons of oil from the surface of the water, while traveling forward, and then doing the whole thing over again in waves was a huge step forward.”
The advantage to testing in this “controlled” environment is one that cannot be imagined – the ability to test and re-test creating a method of retrieving data that can be utilized to create a better technology is unparalleled.
“The testing at Ohmsett proved our design to be even better than we had expected. While the fulfillment of seeing the equipment perform flawlessly in the test tank would have satisfied most for quite a while our enthusiasm lasted about three hours after the last test. More precisely, around the dinner table that night, when the talk quickly moved from “did you see that” to “what if we did this” mode. I can assure you that an exorbitant number of napkins were used during the course of the evening around that table, all filled with various sketches of new ideas. We are now in fast track mode of developing a new line of ultra efficient skimmers based around the technology we have developed because of our involvement with the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE.”
We at the X PRIZE Foundation look forward to seeing these new technologies as a result of the Competition and wish Elastec/ American Marine the best of luck!