Elastec/American Marine wins top prize at Warsaw event

Elastec/American Marine wins top prize at Warsaw event

Carmi, IL USA (October 12, 2012) - Elastec/American Marine continues to earn awards for its innovative grooved disc oil skimming technology.

Peter Cheney, who represents the Carmi, Ill.-based environmental products manufacturer in Europe from his base in Estonia, accepted the Nafta Gaz Grand Prix Award at Oil & Gas Warsaw 2012, an industry conference and exhibition held in September in Poland’s capital city. It was the top prize given at the exhibition--the first Oil & Gas Warsaw in which E/AM has participated.

The judges based their decision on the high standard and advanced nature of technical solutions, novelty of solutions, practical and aesthetic qualities, product quality and practical usefulness of the solutions, and the degree of progress of implementation.

E/AM’s grooved disc technology has repeatedly won international acclaim over the past year. The company captured one of two Excellence in Environmental Technology awards presented in February at the Offshore Arabia 2012 conference in Dubai. E/AM received a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award at a gala awards ceremony in New York City Oct. 4. And last December, National Geographic ranked the technology second in its “Most Hopeful Energy Developments of 2011,” and The Washington Post cited it as the 13th best “Moment in Innovation” of the year.

Elastec/American Marine has been building smooth drum skimmers for more than a decade. Several years ago, working in conjunction with a graduate student at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, grooves were incorporated into the oleophilic (oil-attracting) surface of skimmer drums. The grooved drums doubled the oil recovery rate (ORR) of the smooth drum skimmers and have proven to be effective in waters from the Arctic to the tropics.

However, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made it clear that a critical need remained for more efficient skimming equipment. That prompted Wendy Schmidt, president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, to offer a $1 million prize (in a competition conducted by the XPRIZE Foundation) for the best technology that would recover at least 2,500 gallons of oil per minute at a 70 percent oil-to-water efficiency rate.

E/AM met the challenge, developing a 64-disc skimmer that posted an oil recovery rate of 4,670 gallons per minute with an oil recovery efficiency of 89.5 percent. That tripled the industry standards and enabled Elastec/American Marine to top 349 other contestants and take home the grand prize late last year.

Extensive testing has shown that the technology is scalable, and it is now being incorporated into an X SKIMMER line, with two models (the X150 and X250) expected to hit the market later this year.

The ten-disc X150 and the X250, which will feature 16 discs, embody the same operating principles that provided the record-breaking results in the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE: high-speed grooved discs, a high encounter rate, matching pump performance and high throughput efficiency. From deployment to decontamination of the mechanical skimming system, both units combine the ability to collect and recover oil at towing speeds well in excess of those employed by conventional systems.

The advancing grooved disc skimmers are just the latest addition to the Elastec/American Marine arsenal of equipment designed to combat oil spills. Those tools include disc, drum and weir skimmers, containment and fire boom, BoomVane products, vacuum equipment and dispersants.

The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE is a $1.4 Million competition designed to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions that will speed the pace of cleaning up seawater surface oil resulting from spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources. It is a one-year competition with head-to-head competitive demonstrations taking place at the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (OHMSETT) in Leonardo, New Jersey, USA (www.ohmsett.com). A $1 million prize will be awarded to the team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the sea surface at the highest oil recovery rate (ORR) and the highest Oil Recovery Efficiency (ORE).

Founded in 1995, the XPRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. The XPRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration (Ocean and Deep Space). Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive XPRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XPRIZE CHALLENGE for advanced rocket development. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics XPRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.

Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation that strives to advance the development of clean energy and support the wiser use of natural resources. She is founder of the foundation’s 11th Hour Project and of Climate Central. Her other work, at ReMain Nantucket, focuses on generating a model for smart community downtown development on the island. With her husband, Eric Schmidt, Wendy created the Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 to provide future opportunities aboard research vessels for urgent ocean studies. Wendy earned an M.A. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College. She serves on the boards of The Natural Resources Defense Council, The California Academy of Sciences, GRIST, and The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation.

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