Construction completed at brand new test tank in Fairbanks, Alaska

Construction of a lined, 10,000 square meter temporary test basin was successfully completed in Fairbanks, Alaska.

90-Degree Panorama from north corner of test basin (note small concrete pavers used to keep geotextile cover submerged)

90-Degree Panorama from north corner of test basin (note small concrete pavers used to keep geotextile cover submerged)

Under contract to the JIP, SL Ross Environmental Research Ltd and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) spent September constructing a temporary test basin to be used next spring for further testing of herders. Based on an extensive evaluation of several site options, the JIP selected the Poker Flat Research Range, managed by UAF, due to its relatively calm winds, distance from populated areas, land area and logistics access.  Experiments will be conducted in March-April 2015 to improve knowledge of the effects and performance of herders in ice prone waters.

View of completed basin from east corner facing west

View of completed basin from east corner facing west

What are herders? They are designed for application around the perimeter of surface oil. Used in tiny quantities, they ‘herd’ the oil, causing it to thicken and occupy a smaller area.   This facilitates in-situ burning (ISB).

The aim of this project is to both apply the herder and achieve ignition solely from aerial platforms, utilizing manned and robotic helicopters. This vital research will contribute to the development of an application system that allows herders to be sprayed from the air, enabling their use in cold water as well as in open drift ice at break-up and during the Arctic summer. Validating this technology will provide an important OSR advancement as it can be implemented rapidly in remote areas with helicopters in contrast to existing options that depend on slow-moving vessels.