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  • Accepted Manuscript

    Assessing the Performance and Cost of Oil Spill Remediation Technologies

    Daniel P. Prendergast , Philip M. Gschwend

    PII: S0959-6526(14)00409-0

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.04.054

    Reference: JCLP 4260

    To appear in: Journal of Cleaner Production

    Received Date: 16 September 2013

    Revised Date: 17 April 2014

    Accepted Date: 21 April 2014

    Please cite this article as: Prendergast DP, Gschwend PM, Assessing the Performance andCost of Oil Spill Remediation Technologies, Journal of Cleaner Production (2014), doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.04.054.

    This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service toour customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergocopyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Pleasenote that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and alllegal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

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    Assessing the Performance and Cost of Oil Spill Remediation 1

    Technologies 2

    Daniel P. Prendergasta and Philip M. Gschwendb,* 3

    a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 4

    MIT Bldg. 48-123, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA 5

    dprender@mit.edu 6

    b Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 7

    MIT Bldg. 48-413, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA 8

    pmgschwe@mit.edu 9

    10

    * To whom all correspondence should be addressed: 11

    Philip Gschwend [tel: 617-253-1638 email: pmgschwe@mit.edu] 12

    13

    14

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    Abstract 1

    Oil spills are an especially challenging chemical contamination event to remediate. Predicting the 2

    fate and effects of spilled oil is a formidable task, complicated by its complex chemical composition and 3

    the potential for catastrophically large discharge volumes. The proper choice of cleanup technique is 4

    equally complex, and depends on a host of factors, including oil type, spill location, spill size, weather, 5

    and local regulations and standards. This paper aims to provide a broad review of the current technologies 6

    used to remediate oil spills, and the context in which they operate. The chemical characteristics of an oil 7

    spill are discussed, including implications for transport modeling, and impacts that arise from short-term 8

    and chronic toxicity. The most common remediation technologies (mechanical recovery, dispersants, and 9

    in-situ burning) are reviewed, as are emerging technologies (hydrophobic meshes and magnetic sorbents). 10

    A comparative analysis is performed on these methods by calculating a maximum oil encounter rate for 11

    each device, which is an under-reported performance characteristic critical to planning a response effort. 12

    Finally, a review of cleanup cost estimation techniques is used to assess the cost-effectiveness of 13

    remediation methods. Analysis shows that waiving the legal penalty for recovered oil can result in 14

    significant cost savings for the liable party, and may drive improvements in recovery-focused technology. 15

    The authors suggest continued research into improving oil spill recovery methods and understanding the 16

    fate of individual compounds in the spilled oil. This will both minimize potential environmental damages, 17

    and reduce the uncertainty of their impacts. 18

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    Review of the composition and fate of spilled oil, including modeling approaches. Calculation of the maximum oil encounter rate for various remediation techniques. Estimation of cleanup costs including cost averted by recovering spilled oil. Net negative cost of cleanup can be achieved, promoting removal of contamination. Recommend increased development of oil spill recovery methods.

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    Assessing the Performance and Cost of Oil Spill Remediation 1

    Technologies 2

    Daniel P. Prendergasta and Philip M. Gschwendb,* 3

    a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 4

    MIT Bldg. 48-123, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA 5

    dprender@mit.edu 6

    b Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 7

    MIT Bldg. 48-413, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA 8

    pmgschwe@mit.edu 9

    10

    * To whom all correspondence should be addressed: 11

    Philip Gschwend [tel: 617-253-1638 email: pmgschwe@mit.edu] 12

    13

    14

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    Abstract 1

    Oil spills are an especially challenging chemical contamination event to remediate. Predicting the 2

    fate and effects of spilled oil is a formidable task, complicated by its complex chemical composition and 3

    the potential for catastrophically large discharge volumes. The proper choice of cleanup technique is 4

    equally complex, and depends on a host of factors, including oil type, spill location, spill size, weather, 5

    and local regulations and standards. This paper aims to provide a broad review of the current technologies 6

    used to remediate oil spills, and the context in which they operate. The chemical characteristics of an oil 7

    spill are discussed, including implications for transport modeling, and impacts that arise from short-term 8

    and chronic toxicity. The most common remediation technologies (mechanical recovery, dispersants, and 9

    in-situ burning) are reviewed, as are emerging technologies (hydrophobic meshes and magnetic sorbents). 10

    A comparative analysis is performed on these methods by calculating a maximum oil encounter rate for 11

    each device, which is an under-reported performance characteristic critical to planning a response effort. 12

    Finally, a review of cleanup cost estimation techniques is used to assess the cost-effectiveness of 13

    remediation methods. When recovering spilled oil averts a fine, and then the fine is subtracted from the 14

    cost of the spill, mechanical recovery methods are found to have a negative cost per unit recovered for 15

    offshore spills with a variety of oil types and sizes. Waiving the legal penalty for spilled oil that is 16

    recovered can result in significant cost savings for the liable party, and may drive improvements in 17

    recovery-focused technology. The authors suggest continued research into improving oil spill recovery 18

    methods and understanding the fate of individual compounds in the spilled oil. This will both minimize 19

    potential environmental damages, and reduce the uncertainty of their impacts.20

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    1. Introduction 1

    The worldwide use and distribution of crude oil and its derivatives continues to impose a 2

    potential threat to aquatic environments. Accidental releases can occur from a variety of sources including 3

    tankers, pipelines, storage tanks, refineries, drilling rigs, wells, and platforms (Vanem et al., 2008). 4

    Fortunately spill frequency and volume from all international sources have decreased since the 1970s 5

    (Burgherr, 2006) due to the identification of management-based risk factors (Bergh et al., 2013), 6

    increasing implementation of preventative regulations, and the development of corporate social 7

    responsibility practices by the oil production and transportation industries (Rauffleta et al., 2014). Despite 8

    these global improvements, there may be an increased risk of spills on a local level due to increased 9

    industrial activities in countries with high economic growth, e.g. in the South China Sea (Woolgar, 2008). 10

    Additionally, catastrophic spills remain a possibility from all sources. Noteworthy examples include: the 11

    1989 sinking of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker off the coast of Alaska (Peterson et al., 2003), the subsea 12

    blowout in the Gulf of Mexico of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in 2010 (Camilli et al., 2011), and 13

    the 2010 pipeline spill of diluted bitumen in Michigan (EPA, 2011). The inability of responders to 14

    prevent the spilled oil from reaching sensitive areas led to economic, social, and environmental damages. 15

    These large-scale spills in highly mobile aquatic environments highlight the need for remediation 16

    technologies that can respond swiftly to mitigate potential damages. 17

    Oil spill clean-up technology has expanded to include a variety of approaches in the past 50 18

    years. Spill response techniques are typically classified as mechanical/physical, chemical, and biological 19

    (Dave and Ghaly, 2011). While only briefly described below, detailed reviews of these techniques have 20

    been published, including their operational limitations (Ventikos et al, 2004) and a qualitative assessment 21

    of their strengths and weaknesses (Dave and Ghaly, 2011). The mechanical/physical class includes 2

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