Two Norweigan companies, Miros and Ocean Visuals, have formed a partnership to combine their oil spill detection technologies.
The deal will see the two companies deploy IoT sensors and data analysis techniques to help prevent future oil spills from becoming environmental disasters.
So what’s behind the move?
When an oil spill happens at sea, detecting the event and investigating its seriousness can be as challenging as the cleanup. Adverse weather conditions, and even the time of day, can complicate the process. As a result, automated systems using remote sensors have come to the fore in recent years.
Avoiding another Deepwater Horizon
The disaster at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 was the largest marine oil spill in history, spewing an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil leak was discovered two days after the initial explosion on the afternoon of April 22nd and flowed for a total of 87 days.
Tracking the movement of the oil and identifying its concentration were two challenges immediately faced by the cleanup operation. In those scenarios, situational awareness is key to damage mitigation.
Which is where the IoT comes in today.
Miros and Ocean Visuals join forces
Miros’ Oil Spill Detection (OSD) system combines radar and infrared sensors to provide an early warning for spills and allow recovery operations to take place in total darkness.
The Miros system can be used by ship owners, port authorities, and offshore rigs to form a network of sensors that provide round-the-clock surveillance and automated alarms. Satellite and airborne systems can cover huge areas, but fail to provide that level of continuous, localised monitoring.
On the other hand, Ocean Visuals‘ technology relies on Hyperspectral Laser Induced Fluorescence (HLIF) based Lidar. This empowers recovery workers by providing more information than simply where the oil is heading.
Hyperspectral imaging picks up the light that oil emits in the blue-green spectral range. As well as making the oil easy to spot in difficult conditions, Ocean Visuals can effectively ‘fingerprint’ each oil sample, giving first responders all the information they need to identify the category, concentration, and type of oil in real time.
That information can then be used to make informed decisions on the best way to handle the leak and disperse the oil.
Both companies’ technologies will be combined in the new partnership, which will provide industrial customers with a set of complementary sensors that can handle the surveillance, detection, and verification of oil spills.
Andreas Brekke, CEO at Miros AS, believes that the move will help clients adapt to the dynamic threats presented by oil spills. “The real novelty of this cooperation is being able to solve a wider range of our customers’ operational challenges,” he said.
“We can now offer detection capabilities at all relevant distances and across a wider range of operating scenarios, with unprecedented automated verification capabilities.”
Ocean Visuals CEO Christian Testman, said this industry-first partnership will benefit clients immediately. “We are excited to cooperate with Miros and supporting their large client base in this space. This is an important first step towards true sensor fusion in oil spill detection”.
Internet of Business says
This exciting partnership is an inspiring example of how the IoT isn’t just about connecting smart devices, but also about adding new technologies to data analysis.
Multispectral sensors – often attached to drones – are becoming increasingly important across many applications of IoT technology, such as farming, critical infrastructure maintenance, and other forms of disaster recovery, such as radiation leaks or power station fires.
Meanwhile, projects like Southampton University’s MAVIS project, are releasing ultra-low-cost printable drones into extreme weather systems to help track the paths of storms and hurricanes.