In Situ Burning of Oil in Ice – Herders Fate, Effects, and Window-of-Opportunity

Key Goals

The objective of this project is to advance the knowledge of herder fate, effects and performance in support of the overall goal of enhancing the operational utility of in Situ Burning (ISB) in open and ice-affected waters.

The use of herders to thicken on-water slicks among drift ice for subsequent burning has been studied for a number of years. Two field experiments using herders, conducted during the SINTEF Oil in Ice JIP in 2008, were effective with 80 to 90 percent removal efficiencies being documented.

Herders can provide an additional tool to support the use of ISB as an effective response strategy in pack ice and open water. Herding agents can thicken oil slicks in open water as well as in sea ice concentrations up to 70% ice coverage, conditions where containment by traditional booms becomes increasingly impractical.

More specifically, the goals of this study are to:

  • Summarise previous research, focusing on herder fate and effectiveness, and environmental aspects (e.g., toxicity, biodegradation, fate), and list key references;
  • Conduct experimental research on the environmental effects (toxicity and biodegradation) of using herders for in situ burning;
  • Conduct small-and mid-scale experimental research on the effects of oil properties, oil weathering processes, waves and slush ice on herder effectiveness and slick ignitability;
  • Perform laboratory-scale experiments on the impacts of the herder monolayer on the feathers of diving seabirds;
  • Prepare a project technical report;
  • Present the research findings at a scientific/technical conference;
  • Publish the research findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.