This summer, teams from the U.S., Norway, Finland and the Netherlands spilled oil in a massive saltwater pool off the New Jersey shore and tried their best to clean it up. Tuesday in New York, one team will win a $1 million X PRIZE purse for their efforts.
The Ohmsett facility in Leonardo, N.J., features North America’s only full-scale oil cleanup testing facility. The 666-foot-long, 65-foot-wide, 11-foot deep pool holds 2.6 million gallons of saltwater.
A wave generator creates waves up to 3 feet high, as well as irregular “harbor chop” waves. A bridge alongside the pool serves as a simulated boat, capable of towing oil removal equipment at speeds up to 6.5 knots. Teams can observe their progress from a control tower, and video cameras capture oil recovery above and below the surface.