Posted: Jul 14, 2010 6:36 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Jul 14, 2010 6:54 PM
Dr. Chandra Theegala of LSU's Ag Center only wants a chance, something BP and the Coast Guard have yet to give him.
He designed and built an oil skimmer, first a smaller prototype that cost about $160, all with materials from Home Depot, then a larger version that cost $7,000. The larger version can separate oil from water at a rate of up to 600,000 barrels per day, much more than skimmers that are currently available.
Theegala took that skimmer to the Gulf at the beginning of June but was never allowed to test it. After two weeks, he packed it up and brought it back to LSU.
Now, Theegala is waiting for approval to help skim the Gulf of oil. He's afraid that all that waiting has been bad for the Gulf, especially considering the amount of dispersants used, dispersants that prevent anyone from using skimmers.
"What they have added at this point with sub-sea dispersants is almost unprecedented. We have never added this much quantity before, ever, so we don't know the long-term impacts. It could be haunting us for the next 20 years or hundred years. We don't know," said Theegala.
Theegala said he is at the top of a list for approval to use his skimmer. He hopes to hear back from BP and the Coast Guard within a week.