Accidental oil spills are not something people, especially those in the oil and gas industry, want to think about, much less discuss, but the unfortunate reality is that these spills can happen from time-to-time.
One of the most efficient ways of dealing with the catastrophic problem is the method known as in-situ or controlled burning, which takes advantage of the fact that oil can be ignited on water if the layer is at least 3-mm in thickness by burning off the excess water. This can be done even in arctic conditions. Not only is this method highly effective compared to mechanical clean-up, chemical dispersants and natural assimilation, but it also can result in the least detrimental overall impact on the environment.
PyroBoom, a product of Applied Fabric Technologies, Inc., is a highly fire-resistant oil spill barrier that uses a unique, woven blend of refractory yarn and metallic materials to yield a fabric to which a polymer coating is then applied. Flotation is provided by a series of stainless steel hemispheres, containing a high-temperature resistant, closed cellular material. The firebooms proprietary Inconel/Fiberfrax refractory fabric with its silicone coating has been tested to withstand repeated burnings at temperatures up to 1315°C/2400°F without catastrophic failures. PyroBoom requires no external accessories or cooling pumps, and is far lighter so as to enable easier handling.
The product was an important element in the clean up of the Deep Water Horizon disaster in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.