How it works

Oilwhale has been developed and prototyped in Finland for several years.

Oil Whale is a unique oil spill recovery system with higher capacity and efficiency. The oil containment system consists of a barge like container which can be attached alongside a vessel or incorporated into a purpose-built ship.

The Oil Whale system, unlike other oil containment systems, doesn't require any mechanical contact with the oil during the recovery process, and thus prevents emulsion with water. The barge like system has gates in the front, which takes in the oil in the same form as it is in water. This means that the oil-water form is left unperturbed as much as possible to use water as a carrier for oil and to keep the flow as much laminar as possible. Thus, emersion and dispersion of water is totally prevented.

The Oil Whale system works in such a way that the oil and water levels are maintained inside the system, which allows the system to remove the water using the doors provided in the hull of the system. The collected oil can be transferred either to another ship or to a barge while the main module still collects the oil. None of the factors like the viscosity, stiffness, or the temperature of the oil can affect the process of Oil Whale system.

Simulated results

Accurate simulations have proven that the Oilwhale method for oil recovery works.

In this simulation oil is introduced to the vessels ballast tanks and then pumped out from underneath the ship.

Oil is represented as red, water is blue and the ships hull is the black outline. The holes in the ships outline represent the holes that would be used to pump out the oil.

Oilwhale simulation

Oilwhale technology explained

This video demonstrates how oil is directed into the ballast tanks of a ship and then water is pumped out from underneath the ship, leaving the less dense oil on top.
Oil can be later extracted at shore with pumps.

Oilwhale prototype being tested in the Finnish archipelago

A prototype barge was used to test the oil collecting properties and maneuverability of Oilwhale.

Oilwhale can be fitted to different types of vessels

Oilwhale can work as a separate platform or integrated into a ships design.

Oilwhale X-Prize Competition Runs

Oilwhale was selected as one of the 10 finalists in the 2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge.