Deep Water Horizon Response

Blue Ocean Institute
Hi Carl,

I am so pleased to finally hear your voice, a voice of science and ecology, on the media giving an alternative advise on approach and possible action to mitigate the BP Disaster.

I have been Blogging [here] at my Wiki and I would like you to have a look at my recommendations to the President that I put "on the record" back in May 29th when I was finding that it was impossible to reach proper authorities with solutions to the disaster and due to my concern of a long term consequence due to use of dispersants will threaten the world with Toxic Oceans - killing the Gulf and causing ecological systems collapse in the Atlantic and damaging the health of the worlds' oceans at a time when there is already extraordinary stress on the world's oceans.

On the 29th May I asked for this action:

I would take every engineering proposal to an open internet based system of consultation, with capacity to enable anyone who has a potential contribution, to make that input quickly and effectively. This is not to be a media circus - this is a serious and professional method to assure that we will not be deprived of "fielding in" any potential solutions that otherwise could be neglected or lost. Next, the government's program must include not only the engineering component - it must have strong Ocean Ecology and Life Science teams that will decide on the most important aspect: the mitigation of the toxic impacts of the ongoing crisis. We have seen the President's Energy Advisor (Steven Chu) on-site but we have not seen the presence of Dr. John Holdren, the President's Science Advisor, who is an Ocean Ecologist. The use of the dispersants is an ill considered strategy and is not lessening the environmental impact but has only the goal of making the BP uncontrolled ocean floor gusher invisible - to "keep the oil off the beaches". The concern is that this makes the crude miscible in the ocean depths.

The internet based solicitation of White Papers, outlining solutions under five categories of action was initiated on about the weekend of June 12th as follows:
Deepwater Horizon Response
Solicitation Number: HSCG32-10-R-R00019
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Location: Contracting Office, USCG Research and Development Center

I had already submitted my Plume Balloon as an unsolicited proposal on the 8th and 9th of June to the best channels that I could find and then I merged these proposals into a White Paper, titled "Plume Balloon" and submitted this under the Solicitation Number, above on June 14th, which received a Tracking Number 2002082 on the same day.

I write you about this because during your interview, on CNN today, you recommended the strategy of mitigation of the pollution by technology that would prevent the mixing of the oil with ocean, by means of containment that would enable the use of dispersant to cease. My technology proposals are completely viable and technically feasible and will accomplish this goal starting directly at the source and channelling and containing the oil at the surface (or in sub-surface soft, fabric reservoirs). This can be achieved by the use of soft, fabric structures: that is, large diameter fabric tubing that will "lay-flat" (start empty) and will fill only with the blowout hydrocarbons and prevent mixing with seawater. This was the key element of my proposal of June 8th, but on June 9th I also envisioned a further key component, which is the Plume Balloon structure. This is a structure that operates at or near the seabed and creates a volume where the gushing flow of the hydrocarbons can separate to gases and liquid fractions. The liquids will be withdrawn from a pool at the base of the structure while the gases will expand into the upper hemisphere of this structure and will be vented up to the surface (for flaring).

The Plume Balloon can operate at the depth and easily withstands the pressure at the ocean floor (one mile deep) since as it is a fabric tension structure it will collapse (or expand) in response to the difference in pressure. This capacity to handle only the pressure difference is the key, and the "over pressure" is controlled by the venting of the gaseous hydrocarbons at a rate that will not over stress the very high strength fabric construction of these components. The key is that the liquid is not gushing to the surface with the gases at a high velocity that cannot be constrained. The liquid crude oil is pumped from the liquid pool that will form in the base of the Plume Balloon and the rate of flow in of these liquids will balance the pumping out and the venting of the gas to the surface will keep the pressure in balance with the deep water pressure. As I say in the White Paper, the Plume Balloon is not a method to stop the flow but rather to contain it and prevent pollution.

These are technically feasible methods and I cannot say with confidence that the authorities understand my approach to the problem, yet the 3rd message indicates that a "further evaluation" will not go forward. I doubt very much that my approach is the same as the "similar proposals" that Horizon Response claims to have on-hand from other Offerers of White Papers and/or those parties who already were in a position (as known contractors) to be heard by PB and/or by the government authority that is responsible. As an inventor, with 6 USA Patents, that have been described as establishing fundamentally new domains of invention, I know that my approach can be unique in the world. I do not comprehend how those responsible can lump in the very few proposals that would be judged to have technical merit or high technical merit and feasibility with the 80,000 ideas that have been received. The process of a global tender for White Papers would anticipate and be organized to handle such an administrative challenge or else those responsible should be replaced with people who can get the job done.

It is entirely inappropriate for the administrators of this Solicitation to claim to not have sufficient resources for extended discussion with anyone that has a serious contribution to make and could participate (if retained on the list of selected Offers) in bidding to contract for an offer of services. I can form a Teaming Arrangement with very capable industrial partners who can mobilize the right technology to manufacture and deliver the key components for implementation and I suggest that we should not be knocked off the list of Offerers who will be invited to bid to deliver such feasible solutions. Among others who have expressed interest to team with Sola Roof to develop and implement the Plume Balloon solution, I copy Jim Bob Carpenter, who leads ECP, a technology supplier with a strong capacity, and I hope that together we can assure this most critical evaluation process can remain open and transparent and not result in a further level of damage where insiders will attempt more deficient and ineffective response simply because they wish to eliminate competition. This will only result in the further damage that insiders will probably grossly over charge for their services which is a potential further insult to the American people.

I have Blogged the details of the blow-by-blow of the 3 responses received to this date from the Horizon Response (Alternative Response Technologies) program administrators. This response continues to be anonymous and clearly negligent of proper consideration and procedure. In my replies I have attempted to protect my rights and insist on a just and careful discussion of the unique aspects of the Plume Balloon as outlined in the White Paper.

Carl, my methods will certainly accomplish the objectives that you have brought forward in your CNN interview. Therefore, please help me to be able to have a full and transparent further evaluation of the Plume Balloon.

Posted at my Wiki Blog: Deep Water Horizon Response