Canada Announces Six International Recipients of Funding for Oil-Spill Research

The organizations will receive more than $4.1 million for research projects aiming to improve protocols to minimize the environmental effect of oil spills in water.

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The government of Canada announced on 18 March the six international organizations that will receive more than $4.1 million for research projects designed to improve protocols and decision-making to minimize the environmental effects of oil spills.

The recipients include the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Johns Hopkins University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, SINTEF Ocean, Texas A&M University, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The areas of research are as follows:

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Canberra, Australia

  • Direct and indirect ecosystem responses to oil spills and options for interventions
  • Combined microbial sampler and physical sensor payload for rapid oil-spill surveillance at depth

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

  • Effects of crude-oil properties, dispersants, and weathering on the breakup of plumes and slicks

New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, USA

  • Capturing the behavior of oil on the meter scale; oil convergence because of waterfronts and vertical advection
  • Effect of particle shape and hydrophobicity on the formation of oil-particle aggregates; a combined experimental/numerical investigation leading to formation of a predictive model

SINTEF Ocean, Trondheim, Norway

  • Assessing effectiveness of bio-based agents for oil-spill treatment in Arctic and subarctic environments

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

  • Computer modeling to forecast risks, needs, and challenges for responses to offshore oil spills

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA

  • Quantifying the effect of oil photochemical oxidation on the performance of chemical herders in Canadian waters

The projects are part of the $45.5-million Multi-Partner Research Initiative announced in December 2017. The initiative was created to facilitate collaboration among oil-spill experts to provide the best scientific advice and tools to respond to oil spills in water.
A total of 35 projects will focus on a range of innovative strategies and technologies to aid in oil-spill response. Researchers will investigate computer modeling to predict the movement and fate of spilled oil, the use of chemical dispersants and herders, the efficiency of in-situ (or onsite) burning of oil spilled at sea, and the potential of bio-based agents to disperse oil through biodegradation.

“Collaboration is key when working to respond to oil spills,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. “These new partnerships will lead to more scientific knowledge, innovative response measures, and advanced technologies that will help minimize the impacts of oil spills on our marine and coastal waters. We are working together to keep our oceans and our coasts clean, healthy, and safe.”