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Jun 04

Emergency Special Edition: Wanted: Creative Ideas for Dealing With Oil Blowout in Gulf

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Emergency Special Edition

Wanted: Creative Ideas for Dealing With Oil Blowout in Gulf

Editor's Note: The massive deep sea oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico has been flowing for more than a month. Several potential solutions have been tried; all have failed. You and the other members of our worldwide audience of over 300,000 principal investigators, in all fields and specialties of research, comprise a huge reservoir of creativity. Innovative methods for solving this drilling crisis--or the next one--are needed.

We are inviting all scientists reading this Alert to immediately submit their most creative and novel ideas and concepts for stopping the oil flow and/or remediating the leaked oil. You do not need to be an oil specialist (in fact it is probably preferable you not be one)

Whether unusual or conventional, all submissions will be printed (subject only to normal editing). They may be signed with name, title and affiliation, or be anonymous. Please limit to 200 words maximum, no diagrams. Post your ideas.

The entire list of suggestions will be shown on our website, and the first 250 have already been sent to the Chief Executive of British Petroleum and The President of the United States. As this matter is urgent, kindly respond within 72 hours. On behalf of the worlds' citizens, thank you for contributing your nuggets of scientific creativity.

Comments (312)
written by GeologyProfessor, June 04, 2010
Why not call on the CIA? Doesn't anybody recall they (using the subterfuge of Howard Hughes' seafloor mineral mining), built and used the Glomar Explorer with a huge, long "claw" to snag and raise a sunken Russian submarine from amazing depths. That's the kind of experise and creativity we need now.
written by Artic Associate, June 04, 2010
The first "hood" lowered over the wellhead "falied" becuse it became clogged with strange ice crystals forming inside it. FOOLS! The ice crystals were not the problem, they were the answer. Line the hood shell with modest electric heating wire grid to prevent the ice from sticking to the walls. Add a slow-turning impeller blade to keep the ice and slushy mizture in motion. Apply suction to the sea-surface end of the hose leading upwards from the hood apex. Voila. You have a continuously flowing icey oil slush "daiquiri" cacching all the oil in ice particles and bringing it to the surface for its intended use.
written by Zoology Guru, June 04, 2010
Those weird worms that grow on the ocean floor near hot water vents must contain a gel with unusual phase properties. Why don't they freeze solid? Let's harvest a couple tons of that goo (sorry Greenpeace) and mix it with the oil at the wellhead.
written by John Paul Jones, June 04, 2010
Can't soime of the minisubs hovering at the wellhead be fitted with a high-power vaccuum sucker pipe to pull the outflowing oil aboard and then push up a hose to the surface? Simil;ar to a Wet Vac in your lab.
written by Richard Gronostajski, June 04, 2010
Drop a dewar flask of liquid nitrogen down and pump liquid nitrogen around the pipe until it freezes and then cap it. It may take pumping the LN2 directly into the pipe, or perhaps around the pipe to form an ice plug. Once the flow is stopped it should be easier to put in a permanent plug.
written by John Paul Jones, June 04, 2010
Get DARPA into the act. They probably have some secret, fast-acting enzymes that could tear the oil to bits at the wellhead.
written by Michael Hutchinson, June 04, 2010
Instead of a cap, a cork.

Lower a torpedo-like metal cylinder into the riser, which fits snugly, but not too tight.

Weight of cylinder slightly greater than (oil pressure x cross-sectional area of riser)

Lower it a few hundred feet.

Repeat top kill.
Professor of Pediatrics
written by Ben Gaston, June 04, 2010
From pediatric cardiology.

Spring load a 3 ft-diemeter flat umbrella (spokes on the outside, steel mesh between the spokes) around then end of a mile-long cable, with a titanium sheath on the outside of the spring-loaded umbrella and on the outside of the cable.

Put the cable into the well and pass it down into the oil reserve.

Pull the sheath back to let the pring-loaded umbrella deploy.

The force of the oil pressure gradient will push the umbrella against the open lower end of the pipe, slowing or stopping the leak.
Fill the pipe above the umbrella with concrete.

Academic cat-owner
written by Mary, June 04, 2010
There is a kind of kitty litter that clumps into near solid form when it coms in contact with water. There must be an equivalent material that will clump oil. Dump it by the boatload where the oil is gushing out and eventually it will clump sufficiently to plug the leak.
Professor of Animal Sciences at Purdue University
written by Patricia Y. Hester, Ph.D., June 04, 2010
Spread feathers from poultry processing plants on gulf water surfaces to absorb oil and then skim the oil soaked feathers from the gulf waters and incinerate.
Repurposed Water Tower (inverted) as Improved Containment Dome
written by Kemp B. Cease, M.D., June 04, 2010
A large steel inverted funnel (wide at the bottom, narrower at the top) should be immediately fabricated. The narrower outlet at the top should be of a large enough diameter to easily fit over the existing broken pipe. and will be attached to additional sections of pipe leading to the surface of the water. The funnel should be lowered in the water and guided to dock with the broken end of the existing pipe so as to slip over it and then be lowered down over it to the sea floor. As it is lowered, additional sections of pipe would be added to the pipe connected to the top narrower part of the funnel so as to create a pipe around the original pipe, extending to the surface of the water, and allowing the oil to flow to the surface within it and to be pumped into tankers. The wide mouth of the funnel at the sea bottom would sit over and around the existing blowout preventer. The funnel may require structural additions to create a cofferdam at the sea floor for full containment. This funnel and pipe-around-pipe approach might provide containment of the oil until a means of decommissioning the well can be devised. Time is of the essence, obviously. To expedite things, perhaps a section of a water tower (inverted) could be re-purposed for the funnel and modified to accept pipe of the appropriate size. Google image searching will reveal multiple examples and options.
(Originally submitted 5/1/10 to Joint Incident Command, Adm. Allen, and Pres. Obama)
Phase Change of a Viscous Fluid
written by Robert Joseph PhD DPM , June 04, 2010
Oil is a highly viscous liquid. One possibility is to cool the final segment of pipe to a point where the flow slows to a manageable rate of intervention or to the point where the pressure of outflow is managable enough to cap the pipe. One consideration for "capping the pipe" would be to use a semisolid substance that might have the capacity to change from liquid to solid when mixed with oil or oil containing products. As the cooled oil thaws, it will react with the solidifying agent to cure and clog the pipe. I have no idea what possibilities might be out there for a solidifying agent, that is outside my realm of expertise. Just food for thought that might be used to built upon. Another consideration would be have those in charge begin utilizing some creative problem solving processes and tools such as TRIZ to come up with some alternate solutions.
Robert Joseph PHD, DPM
written by dckem, June 04, 2010
thread a high explosive charge into the pipe and push it into the subsurface rock and explode it, effectively causing a high pressure and temperature cave in that would seal the pipe and area. the subsequent 2ndry wells would tap in below and relieve any pressure that might cause some leakage.
Measuring the effect on mammalian organisms
written by Katya Tsaioun, June 04, 2010
We do not have a solution for containment of oil, but we would advise to start understanding the effect on living systems that this spill is producing as we speak. Understanding the minimum concentrations of oil that affects mammalian biology and which mechanisms of toxicity are involved would allow for definition of safety margins and invention of potential coping and detoxification strategy.
VP of R&D;
written by Zairen Sun, June 04, 2010
One simple solution is to use a big bomb to blow the well and everyting up. The amount of debris should stop the gushing temporally. At the same time, dig other wells around it. This seems to be a unwise solution, but it should be better than no solution. It will guarantted to work.
Associate Scientist
written by Josh Waters, June 04, 2010
You just take alot of various shaped and sized magnets, some round, some flakes, some square, etc., and drop them onto and around the leaking pipe. The iron pipe will attract the magnets, and the varying size and shapes will fill in the cracks and crevices and slow the leak long enough to permanently cap it.
written by Rick Davis, June 04, 2010
It seems to me that crimping the pipe in multiple places should significantly reduce the flow if not stop it. Reducing the flow for a month or two should allow the drillers to drill the relief well.

The ultimate question is what sorts of redundancies can be built into the system to allow for drilling at 1 mile depths? The blowout preventer failed. There needs to be a much more reliable system for killing the flow when things go terribly wrong.

written by Snowman, June 04, 2010
My colleagues who do Artic studies are always complainng how the oil freezes solid in their cars and trucks. So why not let the outflowing oil percolate slowly through a mesh at the wellhead, till it freezes into blocks. Then let these giant "icecubes" float to the surface, and haul them off to the refinery. Melt them there into usable oil.
written by Anonymous, June 04, 2010
Why does not BP offer a $10 million reward for a new, incisive idea, instead of continually trying the same tactics that have been around the oil industry for 50 years?
Make all the top oil executives accountable for this. Their huge salaries and compensations reduced to zero. Also, place huge fines to them.
written by Citizen, June 04, 2010
To minimize future oil spills, it is important to make all the top executives (of oil companies) accountable for oil spills (large and small). Their huge salaries and compensations should be reduced to zero when accidents occur, and they should pay huge fines, to help pay for the clean-up (why should I have to pay for the mess they make?). Now, there are no real penalties for oil managers. They keep making millions per year, so effectively, "it is not their problem". The fishermen and many others will lose their jobs, but the oil executives will not lose theirs.
Associate Professor
written by Michael Hutchinson, June 04, 2010
Correction to earlier suggestion.

Lower a heavy metal cylinder into the top of the riser, which fits fairly snugly, thus reducing the flow, and whose weight is greater than oil pressure x area of riser.

Repeat top kill.
written by neil234, June 04, 2010
Perhaps the fastest and cheapest solution is to use explosion. A circular or cylindrical charge should be installed around the well. Strong directed (cumulative) explosion will simply burry the well (some fish around of course may die, sorry, but they will die anyway in a while if the blowout will not stop).
Chief Plumber
written by Albert Einstein, June 04, 2010
BP should drop Janet Napolitano onto the wellhead. Her huge rearend would close off any further oil gushing out of the well.
Sr. Research Scientist
written by Quincy Brown, June 04, 2010
Seems that plug flow in riser cap is caused by small diameter of tube. Leave the cap in place and continue suction there, but consider running a large shroud down the length of the riser cap assembly, open at the bottom and secured to the bottom of the riser cap with cables or wires (a repurposed oil boom, perhaps?). The excess oil flowing out from under the cap will be guided to the surface through the shroud, where it can then be suctioned off from a small area.
Professor (Physics)
written by Richard, June 04, 2010
Do we know what is the pressure in the well that needs to be overcome? If 100psi or less, then a 30,000 lb steel cylinder, tapered to a point at the lower end, and of slightly smaller diameter than the well, could be lowered in and its weight alone would be sufficent. It would be about 20 ft long. This assumes there is direct, straight line access to the well.
Professor Molecular Genetics
written by Tom Doetschman, June 04, 2010
If hydrate crystals form at high pressure after association of oil with water, would pumping water into the pipe where the heavy mud was pumped in cause hydrate crystals to form and then attach to the inner side of the pipe (or to the cap that is now in place)and then slow the oil flow?
written by Warrior, June 04, 2010
Well, at least we now know how to send submersibles to the ocean oilwells of our adversaries and cut off their pipes at the seafloor. This will deny them usable oil, plus the wild outflow will create a helluva mess for their seafood and shipping. And since nobody will see our silent craft deep down, we escape all blame.
written by Wafik El-Deiry, June 04, 2010
This idea occurred to me soon after the disaster started. On May 23, 2010 I suggested on Twitter (weldeiry) that liquid nitrogen could be used to freeze the oil leak and prevent further flow. This would at a minimum buy time until a more permanent solution could be found. Freezing the flow would have prevented catastrophic damage that has been occurring and that is apparently continuing to occur. If BP has the capability to deliver tens of thousands of barrels of mud, tires and golf-balls and 100's of tons in devices, I suspect there is enough liquid nitrogen around to freeze the flow from this well. The idea should at least be discussed.
written by lin, June 04, 2010
It seems that BP's current top cap should work.

In case not, BP may resume its top killer method. the previous failure of this method
was because the oil running-out speed is larger than the fluid injecting speed.

By squeezing some pipe section (instead of cutting off), the oil outflow speed can
be reduced. In this case, injecting speed can outpace the outflow speed.

just a second thought.

written by anonymous, June 04, 2010
They need something heavy to counteract the pressure from the well. The original cap was the floor mantle. The second cap was the concrete supplemented by drilling mud. The problem began when the gas was released after the mud was removed. Now the problem is getting something heavy enough at the right place down that deep. The heaviest item already at the bottom of the Ocean is the earth itself. However, how to get enough of it on the path of the oil and gas to counteract the pressure of the well? It seems a targeted explosion could do the trick.
It does not require the crazy nuclear options that have been proposed. The deep water submersibles that are currently being used could place planned charges that would then be detonated in a controlled fashion. This does not require any new inventions or technology, just application of what is used above ground.
Professor of Physiology and Biophysics
written by Tom Adair, June 04, 2010
It seems like someone would have already thought of setting off an appropriate sized explosion at the well site. It seems like the Department of Defense could orchestrate such an event. They seem to be good at blowing things up. Why has neither BP nor the US government mentioned such an approach? Could it be that an explosion would ruin the site for future drilling? I hope financial issues do not get in the way of fixing the problem especially since financial issues lie at the root core of the problem.
S. Ward Casscells Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia
written by Mark D. Miller, MD, PE, June 04, 2010
Perhaps a series of stacked cylindrical concrete interlocking pipe segments. These segments could be sequentially stacked on top of one another until they reach the surface. This would direct the flow to the surface where it could be pumped out.
written by Tamal Dey, June 04, 2010
I learned that they already inserted a tube in the riser to divert some of the oil spill (20%). Why not use the same technology to insert a cylinder and then let the mouth of the cylinder expand inside the riser to fit snugly? Then, almost all oil can be directed to the surface through the cylinder pipe.
written by nguyen d, June 04, 2010
to protect the marshes, how about connecting and using all the fishermen's net which are at least 50' in length and depth, line them with a fabric that allow water to pass but not oil plume or oil droplet that are below the water surface and could potentially move toward shore. the boom could be attached on the water surface for thicker oil. that way the fishermen get some compensation also.
Directof of Evidence Based Practice
written by Brenda Marshall, June 04, 2010
I don't know of a solution to the leak, however this catastrophe might have some solutions for other problems like our sagging economy and high unemployment! I think the US should put together a government based work force that works on the clean up and prevention side. This is a massive problem that requires huge manpower. The oil companies who are drilling on American land can foot the bill, it's about time they paid back.
written by Jlee, June 04, 2010
Why not crush the broken pipe tip, narrowing the opening causing a slowing of the flow, then add the cap, then the larger dome over that. Seems several remedies will have to be implemented at one time. None will work 100% alone. From now on, a second alternative shaft should be drilled so that a major spill like this one could be dealt with weeks earlier. How many of these disasters will it take for us to use alternate fuels!
Squib load
written by Justus Verhagen, June 04, 2010
Not unlike M Hutchinson, I'd try to fire a lead bullet into the pipes, the bullet being of just larger diameter than each pipe. This'd result in a squib load, like a gun barrel with a stuck bullet.
written by Rosanne, June 04, 2010
I am not a scientist but I live in the Bay Area where there is a large oil refinery in Richmond. Oil tankers have their crude pumped over a very long distance from the Bay to the refinery. Why can't some kind of pump or vacuum device be used to suck up the oil in the large oil plumes and be loaded into empty oil tankers. there must be a process to separate the water and oil and still use the oil. the company that provides the removal can keep all proceeds.
written by Long-term Researcher and Florida Saltwater Fisherman, June 04, 2010

Seriously consider a nuclear explosion which is sadly being written off by some without being give serious thought as it would "violate" the arms treaty.


win-win solution
written by Sue Suit, June 04, 2010
watch this video on how to clean up an oil spill....says it all, using natural resources which can then be recycled into energy...a win-win solution to this crisis
written by GCI, June 04, 2010
Not try to block the leak, but contain and collect all the oil from leaking. Probably one can find an old, useless capsized ship or giant tanker, fill them with sea water, and then cover the leaking hole. The lighter oil will fill the upper part of tank, BP can collect all the leaking oil from there … for many years.
written by Doctor J, June 04, 2010
Drill a hole into the pipe and inject an oil coagulant.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Western Kentucky University
written by Aaron Wichman, June 04, 2010
Pump oxygen down to source of leak and burn oil as it escapes from wellhead.
At ocean floor, as close as possible to leak, suction oil/water mix and inject it back into the ground.
Use radioactive material close to leak to break down oil.
Drill relief well extremely close to original well to speed process.
Sink a casing into the ocean floor around the leaking wellhead. Then cap it.
Fragment well liner so that oil seeps into surrounding rock layers before reaching the ocean floor.
Research Nurse
written by Sally Webster, June 04, 2010
Consider - a high velocity centrifuge and suction pump at the spill site, that sucks in all the oil and water and mixes it at great speed and pumps it up to the surface. At the surface, filters could be set up on a US Naval Air Carrier(our biggest) and oil could be seperated and reused, and the water pumped back into the ocean after cleaning.

It's important that all jobs created by this spill are US jobs and not people from BP reallocated.
Innovator, PE, Small businessman
written by J. Corey, June 04, 2010
It's hard to un-shoot a bullet, especially once it's ripped through flesh; as this blowout has done to the gulf waters. The right answer is to stop chasing oil. Let its price rise naturally as supply declines and renewables will replace it at sustainable price points. In the short term, had they not cut it off with shears, the main pipe should have been PINCHED instead, then welded shut with thermite. IT may still be possible to seal the riser with thermite welding even now.
Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok Thailand 10160
written by Professor Viroj Wiwanitkit, June 04, 2010
The first thing is to know the actual magnitude of the present catastophy. The data of the environment (wind, tide,etc.) should also be assessed. After getting the information, prediction of the direction of the spreading of the oil should be performed. Any oil trapping system should be allocated to the predicted problematic area. If the tools are limited, the area with more problem must get before. The local wisdom such as natural oil absorbing plant should also be used. Also, don't forget to predict for the long term outcome and plan for solving of any long term problem.
Professor, University of Rochester
written by Dr. D. Friedman, June 04, 2010
Rather than trying to block the flow, redirect it at its origin under controlled circumstances and collect it above the surface. This will require fitting some type of piping or tubing over the existing opening to duct the oil to the surface where it can be contained.
written by N. Greene, PhD, June 04, 2010
It confuses me that with the wealth of knowledge and expertise that the USA has in the field of engineering and relative fields that this is STILL an issue. My suggestion is a three-fold solution. First, design a slightly larger piping to encase the current oil tubing. The overlay piping must be heated by some method (e.g, internal heating coil/wiring) and seal the inner piping. Secondly, cap the outer piping with a large bulb or bag that has an inlet for a suction hose. Thirdly, attach the suction hose to a rigorous pumping device that dumps to a large vessel, preferably on a truck bed so that the oil can be moved to a suitable location. It seems to be a pretty easy, perhaps somewhat costly, fix to me. Then again, I'm not an engineer!
Consulting Geologist
written by Tom Bown, June 04, 2010
Bombard the leak site with rip-rap. Although this procedure will not stop the leak, it will disseminate the pressure. The pile of rip-rap over the leak site could then be cemented with concrete.
written by Nuclear Weapon, June 04, 2010
The Russians have already managed this problem. They used 6 nuclear weapons, sealing five wells. Operation Plowshare in the Nevada Desert in the 1950's investigated nuclear weapons to dig a sea level canal in Costa Rica. Sandia National Labs has the expertise to explode a weapon a mile deep and stop this in the flash of an eye.
written by Jon VonOhlsen, June 04, 2010
I t may be possible to entrain the outpouring oil into a funnel and pump through a flexible pipe to the surface. The entrainment would be provided by high-flow pumps surrounding the output orifice. The difference in oil-water viscosity provides a method to separate the oil/water entrainment based on flow, ie the seawater goes around the funnel, while the oil goes in. This would require FEA modeling to determine the optimal funnel shape.
As the desperation of this situation increases, one result should be no more deep well drilling.
Professor, Imperial College London
written by Robert Winston, June 04, 2010
Time that President Obama stopped making himself ridiculous and admit that deep sea drilling like this - eagerly encouraged by Americans - is a highly risky process and this was an accident waiting to happen. It would have eventually happened with any company. We have been drilling for oil for over 150 years and we knew over one hundred years ago that capping a gushing oil well could present horrendous difficulties even on land above sea level. I guess the best solution is likely to be side drilling to relieve the pressure in the uncapped source (or even cap it) - but clearly one problem is the length of time this is going to take to get down so far.
written by YZ, June 04, 2010
Reduce the oil pressure in the old well.

Drill a new oblique well nearby and connect it to the old one under the sea floor. Pump oil through the new well to a ship. This reduces the oil pressure in the old well at the sea floor and makes it easier to seal the old well. The new well can be sealed later.
Associate Professor
written by Kaphalia, June 04, 2010
Current thinking of BP putting a big heavey weight cone is good one to collect the gushing oil from the sea floor; prevention and containment. Funniling the oil up to the surface and collecting it in containers or tankers should be the goal. This will give time to put more efforts on clean-up of freely floating oilshit to save the various forms of land and sea lives and vegetation before a full blown hurricane season is up.
professor emeritus biophysics
written by enrico bucci, June 04, 2010
POZZOLANA is the only cement which settles and hardens under water
The petrol gushing from the bottom has an upword pressure of more than 16 Atmospheres, otherwise it would be stoppe by the water pressure, which at the bottom of 1500 m is close to 15 Atmosheres. Pozzolana sould be sent under a comparable pressure.
POZZOLANA is used in Italy since the roman times for underwater constructions.
Contact Italian ambassador to receive the necessary amount.

Please put this suggestion at the top.

Enrico Bucci [email protected]
Professor of Prosthodontics & Biomaterials, University of Louisville
written by Lawrence Gettleman, June 04, 2010
Not much can be done that is not already being tried at this point.

For the future, redesign Blow-Out Protectors to be "closed" as the default condition. Use a shape-memory alloy (such as NiTi) as the valve device which, in the absence of external control from controllers (heat in the case of a shape-memory alloy), would snap shut if electrical or physical contact is lost. Install more than one as a secondary fail-safe. The current BOP required active closure which failed, resulting in the blow out.

Could it be that this is a nefarious plot by British Petroleum to float the newfound oil all the way to Britain on the Gulf Stream?
deep boom containment
written by Richard Bonomo, June 04, 2010
Oil drilling rigs could be equipped with a *large* inflatable, deployable structure, weighted at the bottom with deep skirts protruding into the water which could be quickly deployed over the area were the bulk of the oil is rising to the surface. Resembling an upside-down wine glass when inflated, it would remain mostly submerged and trap much of the oil. Tankers could then draw the oil from the top for storage and refining. Larger versions of these could be kept ashore and transported on surface vessels if needed. The deployed trap could be towed to keep it over an oil plume. Multiple traps could be deployed. A concrete version of this has been used in the Persian/Arabian Gulf for decades to serve as normal crude storage at tanker terminals. This would "buy time" to allow for for permanent repair of the wells in question. It would only work where undersurface currents are not turbulent. It could be supplemented with fabric large-diameter "caisson" dropped over the leak-point which would contain the plume and help keep it intact as it drifted to the surface. [email protected]du (drop caps)
Senior Lecturer
written by L Balko, June 04, 2010
Have you contacted engineering research programs at MIT, Cornell, and Harvard? They have excellent oceanography and engineering programs. The Lab of Ornithology also has marine design experts for deep deployment - perhaps they would have engineering insights?
Diabetes Researcher.....USAF Munitions Technician....
written by Rob Mott, June 04, 2010
When Saddam set the oil field wells on fire in Kuwait, we blew them up to "cap" them....
A conventional shape charge can be placed on the bulkhead by the sub-rover and detonated, caving in the pit, or lower a MK84 (2000 LB conventional)with a proximity detonator and pull it......

Assistant Professor
written by Gregory Cooper, June 04, 2010
Why not try a balloon? since they have a route into the openning (in the form of the new cap) could they send a stent-type balloon contraption into the whole and have the thing expand to close off the drilled hole?
Supervisor, Benefits Administration at University of Miami
written by Jose Candelaria, June 04, 2010
I like the idea that Professor Hutchinson gave where you drop a torpedo like projectile into the tube. However, instead of it just being the projectile include an inflatable portion around the side that can be inflated once it has been lowered into the tobe where it causes a perfectly tight seal and not allow oil to come out. The torpedo can be held in place by drilling a hole on the top of the tube and passing a large bolt or pin in place that hold the torpedo from being forced out by the oil pressure.
written by Suf Alkhaldi , June 04, 2010
Oil should be mixed with another chemical to increase its freezing temperature. This will increase the viscosity of oil which will close the hole (or decrease the amount of oil release from the pipe), and it will make it easier to clean although dispersing oil will be easier for bacteria to biodegrade.
Assistant Clinical Professor
written by Warboys, I, June 04, 2010
Go to Woods Hole in MA. http://www.whoi.edu/
They have a maned robotic sub which has enough mass and thrust to manipulate items on the bottom to plug the leak. This allows visual to work better than small cameras.

Start allowing oil drilling where it is safe on land. Deep sea can be done once they prove they can fix problems.
Assistant Professor, ECU
written by Rick Williams, June 04, 2010
Insert a bladder into the wellhead and then inflate. The bladder could then be back-filled with concrete or another material to create a more permanent seal.
Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Management
written by Dr Tom, June 04, 2010
YES, I thought of that right away!
My suggestion on DAY 2!!!!!! was to use a ship like the Glomar Explorer and place a concrete dome, with a ledge on top, over the sawed off top of the pipe. Then you could drop lead/concrete ingots over it to seal it to the ocean floor. After stopping the leak, counter drill another well to take pressure off of the "sealed" well.
Are those idiots in Washington the BEST we can do?
Ph.D., C.P.C. of Clarkson University
written by Dana M. Barry, June 04, 2010
In order to reduce the amount of oil spill, I suggest the following. Send submarines (that have storage tanks)to the location of the oil leak. The submarines can collect the oil (in their storgae tanks)as it leaks. Then it can be transported to the oil companies, etc. Be certian that the submarines are stable in terms of pressure. For example, a liquid such as water may first be needed to fill their storage tanks. When the submarine arrives at the location of the oil leak,the original liquid in the tank is gradually replaced by the oil. This will help to maintain a somewhat constant pressure from the inside of the submarines used. Good luck. Thanks. Dana Barry
Associate Professor
written by Sanjeev Baskiyar, June 04, 2010
1. Sand bags that are a mixture of sand and iron pellets should be stacked over the leak. Packed pellets of mercury may be used.

2. Clog the pipe along a long length with coats of rust and highly viscous glue that is not soluble in salt water or oil.
written by wayne, June 04, 2010
Why not use a caisson, like used to build old bridges. Control its bouyancy with trapped air, and stabilize it with cables from the corners to big ships. Then slowly slacken the cables, while continually adding concrete to the top of the caisson as it is lowered deeper and deeper over the well. When it hits bottom, add more weight to seal the edges on the sea floor.
Sr. Medical Secretary
written by Z. L. Layman, June 04, 2010
Using the previously suggested natural means of using hay, hair, etc. for the cleanup would be helpful, but in addition, could a controlled burnoff work? Keep it slow as not to vastly contribute to more air pollution. I will leave the means of actually stopping the flow to those far more mechanically inclined!
Emeritus Prof of Chemistry, Truman St Un.
written by Ken Fountain, June 04, 2010

I'm a chemist, retired memritus prof. A potentially simple solution for the oil spill is
LN2 pumped into the flow near the holes, and down the pipe. The evaporation of the
LN2 would cause the oil to nearly solidify, or at least become quite thixotropic (think catsup),
thus slowing the flow enough to get aa handle on a permanent cap. It would take tons of
LN2. Placing apparatus to generate LN2 from the air at the site on ships would be a simple
solution to the supply problem.

Second, the LOC (liq Oxygen) co-produced from the air would help the cleanup. Submersibles
would bubble the LOX through the plumes of oil, thus saturating the light fractions (supplying aquatic
life simultaneously). Escape of the gaseous O2 produces volatile mixture which can be ignited
(Heck of a boom!) This produces sufficient heat to syeam distill more light fractionss into the
ignition zone for ignition. The heavy fractions do not flow well, and can be scooped up for salvage
more easily. This may not be a total solution, but maybe one to buy time till a relief well is in place.
It would take tons of
LN2. Placing apparatus to generate LN2 from the air at the site on ships would be a simple
solution to the supply problem.

Second, the LOC (liq Oxygen) co-produced from the air would help the cleanup. Submersibles
would bubble the LOX through the plumes of oil, thus saturating the light fractions (supplying aquatic
life simultaneously). Escape of the gaseous O2 produces volatile mixture which can be ignited
(Heck of a boom!) This produces sufficient heat to syeam distill more light fractionss into the
ignition zone for ignition. The heavy fractions do not flow well, and can be scooped up for salvage
more easily. This may not be a total solution, but maybe one to buy time till a relief well is in place.

K.R. Fountain, PhD. Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Truman St. Un.
written by J Roes, June 04, 2010
Assuming appropriate geology, drill a blast shaft, a few hundred meters should do, parallel to the well and destroy it by a lateral underground explosion. Should be self-sealing and self-containing when the seafloor collapses.
Asst Professor Immunology
written by John R. Rodgers, June 04, 2010
Not a specific suggestion: but offer a major prize, like a free lease and/or rights to all the oil from that site, to the oil company who can stop the leak first. Why is BP the only player involved here? I understand that the US government has little expertise or equipment to deal with it- but other oil companies do.
Professor, Pathology
written by H J Van Kruiningen, June 04, 2010
On the day of invasion of France, D day, barges loaded with cement were moved across the English Channel and then sunk in the water to create piers for the landing of great nuimbers of troup and supply ships. They are still there. I suggest a similar solution for this spill, however recognizing that the descent into the water will be much greater and there will be a need to have tethers to ships on several sides to pull the mass to one side or the other to place it squarely over the leaking pipe(s). One would need to design the correct, perhaps pliable, bottom to the barge, and the cement might need to be soft, not yet hard, so as to shape some over the site.
Research Scientist
written by Mohammed Ali, June 04, 2010
There are some liquids or chemicals can easily solidify with water, apply one of those pour into the area of water from where the leak is, that will hold to the pipe and stop leak make it permanent if you do not want to open again.
Crimp the Pipe
written by Dr. Timothy Sawicki, June 04, 2010
Take a hydrolic arm such as those used to free people trapped in cars and bend and crimp the pipe tight...squeezing the pipe at certain places will slow the oil and crimping and bending completely will stop it...
The "Just Say Less" Campaign
written by Thomas J. Stohlgren, June 04, 2010
Any remedies to reduce the oil leak and reduce the harmful effects of the oil spill to our ecosystems and economy, must be combined with the bitter pill of energy conservation. Our dependence on oil will force exploration to high risk areas. More lives will be at risk. Accidents will be more frequent and costly. The only viable long-term solution is for the government to treat our addiction to foreign and domestic oil at the source: the users. The U.S. government has spent over $2.5 trillion in the failed War on Drugs over 40 years targeted suppliers, yet the number of drug users in America has increased. The “Just Say Less” campaign must be committed to mandate reduced consumption. Government employees will telecommute one day per week, and flexible work schedules will reduce congestion on the nation’s highways. Tax incentives will help private business follow suit. The Internet will be used more effectively to replace travel with teleconferencing, online course work for students, and to augment a new four-day school week synchronized with parents’ work schedules. Reduced highway speeds and energy efficient vehicles will be more strongly encouraged and enforced. Research into alternative energy will increase. Just Say Less!
written by pk, June 04, 2010
How about a gradually tapered cone device with threads so it could be screwed into the pipe to plug it?
written by Steve Engroff, June 04, 2010
Pump sea water into the well. With all the problems BP has experienced with crystalized methane clogging up their "hats" it seems possible that using that to our advantage and pump the sea water deep into the well (instead of the mudd used in the top kill procedure) may be an effective method - nothing ventured, nothing gained. I can't see that it would cause any harm if it didn't work.
Assistant Professor
written by RD, June 04, 2010
The oclusion device should have prolonged cone shape that has a hollow center to siphone the oil into an extension tubing. The weight of the cone should be calculated base on the pressure in the leaking pipe.Ideally the cone should have magnetic properties in case of pressure changes.
Asst. Professor, Env Health Sci., NY Medical College
written by Michael Shakarjian, June 04, 2010
Treat the pipe as a blood vessel. Insert a balloon catheter into the pipe to stop the flow of oil.
Graduate Student
written by Justin Whitehill, June 04, 2010
Why doesn't BP just crimp the end of the pipe. They could also treat the pipe like a water hose and try to fold it over on itself. Is this too naive? I think that this would be an easy and fast solution if they have the appropriate tools to carry out the job. If crimping the end doesn't succeed it would at least reduce the flow rate which would potentially make the oil exiting the pipe easier to handle. Just seems like the logical approach to me.
PhD Student
written by Brian, June 04, 2010
I'm not sure what is contained in the "TOP KILL" mixture. Media coverage made me think it was mud and cement, it might be more than this. I think a modified top kill method using a bolus of sand and hair should be tried. hair is used in the floating boom dams to help prevent oil spill advancement. Sand (or activated silicon mixture) causes oil to clump up and oil sand is very difficult to separate. Basically, I am suggesting to plug the pipe with what you would normally find plugging your bathroom pipes at home!
Trauma Surgeon
written by Robert Quickel, MD, June 04, 2010
In trauma surgery, we use something called a Fogarty catheter to stop arterial bleeding coming out of a transected or partially transected large artery. It's essentially a catheter with a balloon at the tip. The catheter is inserted and the balloon is blown up with saline, blocking the arterial blood flow while the artery is repaired or tied off.
A rigie pipe with a long inflatable "balloon" at the distal end could be inserted into the well. The balloon would need to be very durable but able to distend. Then, instead of just pumping mud and golf balls into the oil that's already flowing out, the mud can be pumped into the balloon, which will fill up and block the pipe. Friction and whatever machinery is used to insert the pipe will keep it all in place long enough to allow the well to be definitively capped.
Intelligent American
written by Jim Fox, June 04, 2010
Put in Jail all culprits! Particularly the BP CEO's for killing protected wildlife.
Nobody asks the question: How come BP and other oil companies are allowed to drill in places where they cannot plug the well?
There was a news item early on, according to which: Safety equipment used by BP in North Sea oil wells, and required by Britain and Norway, are NOT required by the U.S. !!! Shame!
How come the Federal Governmen
Professor, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
written by Mario A. Inchiosa, Jr., Ph.D., June 04, 2010
I have tried several times over the past four weeks to make a suggestion to BP about the oil leak, but I have not heard back from them.

I have reviewed the following ideas with my son, who has his doctorate in physics, and he believes that it may have merit.

Basically, it would involve creating a large hill on top of the leaking pipe by dropping a mixture of gravel, sand, (and, perhaps, dry Portland cement) to cover the area of the leak.

(Some of the following data is from investigative reporting from the Wall Street Journal; the rest is basic physics.)

The net pressure at the leak is 400 psi.
The diameter of the pipe leaking oil and gas is 9 inches.
Therefore, 400 psi X 63.6 square inches = a total force of 25,440 pounds (~ 12.7 tons).

It would be necessary to drop a mass of gravel and sand to first cover to the top of the blowout preventer (BOP), and then an enough to exert a downward pressure in excess of the 12.7 tons of the pressure leak.

For perspective, 12.7 tons represents about 210 cubic feet of a mixture of gravel and sand. However, in water, its effective downward weight would only be about 2/3 of that, because of the density of water. So, it would take about 19 tons of gravel and sand (318 cu. ft. of gravel and sand) to oppose the upward pressure of the oil leak.

However, a single railroad car filled with gravel and sand would be about 10 or more times this amount of fill. (Typically, 3200 to 4000 cu. ft. per car.) Bottom-dumping rail cars (very common for transporting coal) could be lowered by crane to dump their contents.
Note: The dome that they lowered over the leak at the time of that attempt weighed 74 tons. So, they must have a crane on site that can handle large loads.

It might not take an especially long time to create the hill; it would not take any specialized technology, and would not depend upon BP alone.

I am not an engineer, but I do have some background in mechanics.

I would like to hear from you.

Best regards,
Mario A. Inchiosa, Jr., Ph.D.
New York Medical College,
Valhalla, NY 10595
E-mail: [email protected]

Senior Scientist
written by Dr.J. William Louda, June 04, 2010
Gut feeling- start at the top of the BP corporate ladder and shove their executives into the pipe until enough are there to stop the flow.

Real suggestion--the first big containment box that failed due to clathrates (methane hydrates: which should have been expected, look at the P-T relationship of methane hydrate formation / stability; my undergraduate students in Environmental Chemistry could have told them this!) may work now--that is, the earlier pictures revealed a hydrate plume (white to white-ish) while the more recent pictures don't. Is this because they have released the majority of the thermogenic methane head or, with dirspersants being added, do we just see them anymore. That is, if the methane proportion is in fact much lower perhaps the big box wouldn't freeze up. Also an earlier comment here suggested heatingthe box-try that too.

If all else fails go to the 'stuff an executive in it option', especially the big boss that "wants HIS life back!"

written by John, June 04, 2010
Instead of pushing things in through the above mentioned fogarty catheter, push the catheter well inside the pipe, inflate the balloon to prevent leak, but then suck the oil out through the center of the catheter - need a big suction device on the ship on the surface.
Physical Scientist
written by John Furey, June 04, 2010
Robot pipe crawler. To kill the well a long section of pipe must be plugged. Prior to injection of cement, the flow must be mostly stopped. Available actively powered robot pipe crawlers can crawl some hundreds of meters down and then brace and deploy a stop. After pumping hundreds of meters of cement on top, the robot is abandoned.
Cotton-Carbon oil Absorbent
written by Seshadri Ramkumar, Associate Professor, Texas Tech University, June 04, 2010
Texas Tech University developed and patented a cotton-carbon Fibertect absorbent. The raw cotton layers absorb oil and the carbon retains noxious hydrocarbon vapors.

This video link gives how the technology works:

Associate Professor of Oceanography
written by Dr. David F. Naar, June 04, 2010
Two concepts below: 1. To contain gusher to a surface ship. 2. To stop gusher.

1. To contain oil while trying to stop the leak: Take a ~2 km-long ~5 mm-thick soft rubber/plastic hose that is ~ 1 m in diameter with excessive lead weighted funnel at one end that would be
placed over the Gusher. The buoyancy and turbulence of the oil would cause it to rise and fill up the "wind sock" like "hose) containing it until it reaches at the surface. The important thing
is that there is some rigidity to the hose so it doesn't collapse on itself, maybe using "hula Hoop"
or spiral coil also made out of more rigid material that would keep open the cross area of hose.
The hose at the surface could have a "pull-up pump" that would pull the flow up and into
rotating cargo ships or oil tankers (potentially allowing for future refining at a refinery). The "Pull-up pumps" could be running while the long~2 km hose is deployed from the sea surface to the seafloor, to make sure that it is not blocked open with deep water rising to the surface, and then use ROV's to drop it onto the small funnel with the heavy lead weight from ~50 m up down over the rising Gusher plume, and then once sitting on the seafloor, release any floats that allowed the ROV to move it, leaving only the heavy weights to keep it in place. This could further be attached to drilled in seafloor anchors as needed.

2. To stop Gusher. Place 72 powerful (military has many options) controlled explosives placed in the form of a ~20 m diameter and 100 m deep cylindrical grid within the seafloor surrounding the well pipe (maybe 12 in a circle at 10 m depth, 12 at 20 m, 12 at 30 m 12 at 50m , 12 at 70 and 12 at 100 m depth) and set up the explosions to be timed that they detonate the layers in a time sequence such that the deepest layer is detonated last (probably only need a few millisecond delays between layers, so that an overall TOP DOWN squeezing of the pipe occurs, at which time, more material can be placed over the area to fully seal the seafloor surface (large Cement cap etc).
Professor of Civil Engineering
written by Chester Wilmot, June 04, 2010
Suspend a pipe, larger than the current riser pipe, from the surface with a pump in the pipe near the base. The bottom of the pipe (below the pump) is cone-shaped to fit inside the riser pipe. To operate, position the pipe above the riser pipe, turn on the pump slowly (it needs to be a variable speed pump) and direct the end of the pipe into the riser pipe and increase the speed of the pump to pull it into and firmly embed it in the riser pipe.
Assistant Professor of Computer Technology - Purdue University
written by Victor M. Barlow, June 04, 2010
It is truly a shame when POLITICS (surprize, surprize) gets in the way of a PROVEN, workable solution. A constructive, non-lethal (for humans)use of nuclear weapons? Reminds me a lot of "beating swords into ploughshares." Simple physics problem - squeeze the straw (oil well) closed with sufficient application of heat & pressure. Conventional explosives would also work, but not as well. PLEASE RECONSIDER.
Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
written by Komerath, June 04, 2010
Instead of focusing on capping the pipe at the ocean floor, do it at the bottom of the pipe. It's much easier.

Send a small wire-guided gadget with an electric propeller down through the oil flowing in the pipe, to its very bottom, and release a spring catch to open a very solid "umbrella" or clamshell, that holds itself against the rim of the pipe. That should be enough. The pressure of the oil below should hold the seal tight against the pipe, cutting off the flow. The pressure above the gadget is then lower than the pressure below.

Once this is in place, dump something in that hardens after a while, because now there is no excess pressure in the pipe, and anything that sinks in water will sink in the oil. Now you've formed a plug, and when it hardens, it's permanent unless you deliberately punch it out.

The oil flow velocity in the pipe is not huge, and an axial compressor off a very small model jet engine from the aeromodeling hobby community should do for the propulsion. It might take an hour to go down the pipe. The clamshell gadget to open out like a flower and form the seal, and the electrically-switched spring release for the clamshell should be pretty easy for any machine shop to build. It's basically the technology of an umbrella, OK, a sturdy umbrella built of metal not fabric.

This may be easy and quick enough for the present disaster, but at any rate it should be easy to develop for the future if the govt or oil companies are willing to try.

And when they are ready to re-use the well, if ever, they can just send another gadget down and push this one down and out of the way.

The pressures are all huge, but at any given depth the pressures are not very different all round, and there's nothing here that steel can't do.

Of course I must be blissfully ignorant of some other hugely simple but insurmountable problem, but ignorance is so cool. :-)

As for cleaning up the oil already spilled, well.. reversing entropy increase is a tough problem. Stopping the flow is the simple part, above.

Best regards

Narayanan Komerath
written by Ren Hoek, June 04, 2010
Detonate a low yield, ~15 kilotons, atomic weapon below the ocean floor in the vicinity of the drill site. this will cause the drill pipe to collapse and effectively seal the surface flow. The subterranean detonation will result in no release of radioactive material and the low yield would have the risk of any seismic destabilization as negligible. This technique has been used successfully by the soviet to seal gas and oil well discharges.

It has been considered in this case but dismissed for reasons of political correctness
Professor Chemistry San Juan College NM
written by Eric Miller, June 04, 2010
The problem with some of these ideas, like a torpedo, is that building one takes a long time. Explosions might make the situation worse. They already built the funnel device. They gave up too early. If chrystals are freezing in it, then you put heaters on it to warm it up.
written by Dexter, June 04, 2010
In regards to the cleanup there are some good ol boys in Louisiana that have the solution, it’s on YouTube use shredded straw blow it out onto the oil slicks. It absorbs the oil, when it gets to the beach its ready to be picked up by existing equipment and then can be burned to generate heat for other uses....it’s just too simple for most scientist/engineers to have come up with...it really works!
written by Duke Wagner, June 04, 2010
Stop using dispersants which make the situation not SEEM as bad on the surface, while allowing the oil to spread much farther below the surface affecting an indeterminate area of the oceans. You cant clean what you cant see or get at. Counting on bacteria to take care of it later and not wanting to see the problem is typical knee jerk reaction to a problem. The solution to pollution is NOT dilution!!
Dr. D
written by Joe DeFrank, June 04, 2010
Surrond the cut pipe with an arc welder source and melt the pipe shut. Consider bunker buster bomb inseted below the surface and collapse the hole.
written by Eric Cohen, June 04, 2010
This is a physics and engineering problem. Institutions such as Purdue and MIT will have the brainpower and the expertise to find the solution.
President, Active Spectrum Inc.
written by James White, June 04, 2010
Methane hydrates are a widespread, known problem with deepwater Gulf of Mexico production. Those who have been following the disaster will recall that hydrates caused the first 'Top Hat' to plug up and fail. Engineers are currently injecting methanol to prevent hydrate deposits from forming in their current effort to cap the well.

However, methane hydrates can also be put to good use in this case. The key is to cause precipitation of the hydrates INSIDE the blowout preventer and riser pipe. This will require a mechanism to rapidly cool the oil to ~< 1oC (depending on pressure and a wide range of factors that are not totally understood).

I would therefore second the idea presented here and elsewhere that the blowout preventer and riser be cryogenically cooled either with liquid nitrogen or liquified natural gas to promote the precipitation of methane hydrates within the wellhead. The key will be to sufficiently cool the oil to cause methane hydrate precipitation before it erupts out of the broken riser pipe into the gulf.

It may even be possible to pump liquid nitrogen into the blowout preventer using the piping already put in place during the 'top kill' effort. Just be sure to flush out the pipes to get rid of entrained seawater. Either dry air if it can be compressed to that pressure, or some type of oil that will not freeze at 77K.
Professor, University of Alabama
written by David B. Brown, June 04, 2010
Proposal for skimming and clean-up. Consider all of the reasonable and promising solutions being proposed. Combine those that are quite similar and get those individuals together into teams. Subdivide the affected areas so that each team has an area to demonstrate their approach (skimming and/or clean-up). Provide adequate resources to each of the teams to demonstrate their proposals. Quickly evaluate and eliminate those that are clearly not as effective as others. Ultimately converge on the best possible set of solutions (may be several depending on the specific circumstances). To the extent possible, get the local fishing fleets involved -- no one has more of a motivation to succeed.
Professor of Medicine USC, Director of Research, Heart Institute, Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles
written by Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD, June 04, 2010
As a cardiologist I look at this as a similar situation to a bleeding blood vessel. A catheter with an angioplasty balloon could be placed below the site of the bleed and the angioplasty ballon inflated under pressure to stop the bleed. Could a similar process be used by fashioning one or more large metal catheters with an inflatable balloon at the end? The catheters are guided below the site of the oil leak and then the balloons are inflated through tubes in the catheter with pressurized air or fluid and the balloons then fill the areas below the leak. The balloons would need to be made of expandable and tough material and inflated under pressure with either air or perhaps a liquid. I am thinking more along the size and shape of weather balloons. The compliance of the balloons would allow them to fit to the shape of the damaged areas and fill in crevices, hopefully shutting off the leak. They could also be filled initially with a liquid that then hardens into the crevices. Just a thought, Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
written by Keith Colburn, MD, June 04, 2010
How about a large tanker with vacuum hoses to suck up the spilled oil in the water while we are waiting for BP to cap the well.
crimp the pipe
written by jack westfall, June 04, 2010
how about bending the pipe over and crimping it. this may not totally stop the leak but would decrease the gushing oil a bit while the permanent solution is found.
crimp the pipe redux
written by jack westfall, June 04, 2010
how about putting a small hole in the pipe and inserting an expandable device that would plug the pipe. we do this in hemmohagic strokes to stop the bleeding. multiple expandable metallic devices could be inserted along the pipe.
written by Anonymous, June 04, 2010
Given that oil tankers represent the largest mobile storage containers could not BP ship empty ones over to the Gulf (though it is getting later and more diffuse by the minute) and pump the water/oil mixture into them then filter/separate the oil and water mixture and pump the water out?
written by John Schweinfurth, June 04, 2010
Decompress the well with several other wells locally. Some wells are already up and running in the area. Once the well is decompressed, use inflatable balloons as above to cut off flow.

Neuroscience researcher
written by Bill Proctor, June 04, 2010
Project Azorian II. Why hasn’t the “Hughes” Glomar Explorer been sent to lower and hold almost any large structure (such as an old boxcar filled with BP executives) compressed over the leaking oil pipe? It took the HGE just over a month (in 1974) to secretly at least part of the Russian K-129 submarine with nuclear torpedoes, from a depth of over 3 miles. Instead of needing nearly 300, 60-foot pieces of down pipe, it would require “only” 84 to reach the oil-spewing pipe in the Gulf. Using the weight of the ship and down pipe, certainly this procedure would at least stop the oil flow until the parallel well can be completed to suck the oil to relieve the pressure. With just a little more ingenuity, the HGE could be used to place a permanent cap or containment system over the entire blowout area.
Research Scientist
written by Jose E. Velazco, June 04, 2010
Here are basic design considerations to contain the oil leakage in the Gulf:

1.Cut the pipe to obtain a clean cut surface
2.Attach a metallic flange (Flange #1) to the cut pipe. The inner diameter of the flange should be slightly bigger than the outer diameter of the pipe.
3.Weld that flange to the pipe (flange material should be similar to pipe material for ease of welding). Make sure that the pipe is flush with the face of the flange. Welding should avoid any future leakage.
4.Use a second solid “blank” flange (flange #2). Flange #2 should be same diameter as Flange # 1 and should include the same amount of bolt holes. Use four long bolts to bring the two flanges together.
5.Gradually tighten the bolts to close the gap between the two flanges until sealing the leakage.

Other Considerations:
1.A ring seal may be used between the two flanges to obtain a total seal.
2.Flange #1 could be initially cut in two pieces (2 semi-circles) for ease of assembly onto the pipe.
3.The 4 bolts shown could be welded to Flange # 1 from the onset.
4.The cut (in step #1) should be performed at a point where the pipe is perfectly round.
5.Cutting and welding could be performed with robotic tools currently available.
Assist Prof.
written by Xilin Zhao, June 04, 2010
Make some ball-shaped hollow cages with spikes pointing outward using very strong materials. The diameter of the cages should be between half and one diameter of the well. Shoot the cages down one after another followed by heavy mud containing solid, strong particles that can penetrate the cages. When soaked in oil, the particles would expand so that they will be trapped inside the cage.

When oil and mud push the cages together, many cages will stuck together (opposite magnetic attraction or ligand-receptor shapes can be designed into the cage materials). Filling the stuck cage with mud mixtures should biuld a long plug above which more cages mixed with quick bonding cement can be poured.

The key is to first get multiple layers of two or more cage complexes stuk deeply in the well without blocking oil flow (no presure buildup). That may allow followup pumping of mud to form a long stretch of plud that will be strong enough to allow cement reinforcement bfore oil pressure push the plug back up.

written by jack westfall, June 04, 2010
how about a long funnel cap. attach a bell below the leak that gradually clamps down on the exposed pipe. this could have a cap on it or a long funnel. the problem encountered in the first dome of ice crystals clogging the outlet of the dome could be part of the solution. if the ice crystals clogged the dome, why not use them to clog the pipe.
Associate Professor, Colorado
written by Mark B, June 04, 2010
Underwater nuclear explosion. 10-100 kiloton just above the sea floor seems easily possible, and would likely cave in the sediment surrounding the drill site. At those depths, dispersal of the radiation would be widespread and would not reach, let alone influence the surface. Probably much smaller detonation than those tested underwater in the 50's.
Texas Tech University
written by Michael R. Ryan, June 04, 2010
Create a collar composed of two pieces. The first piece is a half cylinder with side flanges along the length and a “horseshoe shaped” channel at one end of the semicircle. The horseshoe length should extend across the entire diameter of the pipe and the open part should be larger than the diameter of the pipe coming out of the well. The channel should be machined to provide adequate support for the plate detailed below while maintaining tight tolerances to minimize/restrict any further leakage.

The second piece of the collar should be a half cylinder that completes the first half cylinder with corresponding flanges. The flanges serve to secure the two pieces together around the existing oil pipe.

The third component is a plate that is machined to fit within the channel at the top of the cylinder. As the plate is pushed into position it would effectively cut off/cap the existing pipeline. Once secured, a more permanent fixture could be attached that would permit the capture of any future oil flow.
ask kindergartners
written by jack westfall, June 04, 2010
i think the top scientists are too sophisticated. ask kids. they solve this problem in the sandbox everyday.
Research Scientist
written by Peter Kaczkowski, PhD, June 04, 2010
I think that crimping the pipe is a good idea to reduce the flow. The shears used in the recent cutting procedure can be used to make multiple crimps over a length of pipe. The ragged edge of the aperture remains a challenge for sealing to another pipe that connects either to the surface, or to a valve or to a cap.

I propose a coupling to seal to the existing rough pipe using a self-tightening "chinese finger trap" approach. A suitable structure could be made of cables, lined with a flexible layer for better sealing to the pipe (low temp elastomer or even a thin metal bellows) firmly attached to a larger pipe and valve. The diameter of the longitudinally compressed trap can be sized to easily exceed the rough or crimped pipe stub, and then lowered onto the pipe. The back pressure must not prevent the fitting of the coupling, so any valve attached to the coupling must be open. When in place, pull down the ring at the end of the cable trap until snug, then allow the backpressure to build by closing the valve, pulling the trap tight. This will conform to the uneven surface as needed.

Such devices can be built in advance and be at the ready.
Adjunct Instructor - University of Missouri - Kansas City
written by Michael W. Kelly, June 04, 2010
I suggest the use of waste tires without steel belts ground to the consistency of cat litter. I have used this before for absorbing spilled transformer (C-10) oil and the result was very effective. This material is also reusable once saturated with oil. Whether this material would be useful for raw well oil would be a question for BP as I am ignorant of its affinity for such raw oil. I am quite sure that many suppliers have this material available, as it was quite easy to obtain a few years ago. I can see no end to the supply of the raw materials (used tires) and I doubt there would be any contamination of the environment as long as the material is not ground finer than that of cat litter. This method would require stopping the use of dispersants though. I hope this may be of some help.
written by blackbrook, June 04, 2010
What expands rather than contracts when under pressure? - An umbrella. If this principle could be selectively applied inside the well and be stronge enough to hold it could allow the successful implementation of the top kill.
written by Marine Biologist, June 04, 2010
I have seen deep-sea divers cutting steel and "burning" sunken wrecks and toppled rigs on the ocena floor without using tanks of oxygen. I think they use thermite oe a similar compound which provides or makes its own oxygen as it burns. Why not set up an ongoing series of these "burning candles" around the wellhead to burn the gooey oil into light vapor that would just bubble up and away
Professor of Pathology
written by John Toffaletti PhD, June 04, 2010
I have already suggested this to BP, but no response. They should construct an extremely strong "balloon" out of polymer that is reinforced with carbon fiber or steel that would be slightly larger than the opening. It would be inserted deep into the opening then inflated. As the pressure is very large at that depth, liquid could be used to inflate it. This device would form-fit to the opening.
Staff Scientist, National Cancer Institute [affiliation for identification only]
written by Bert Gold, Ph.D. FACMG (Genetics), June 04, 2010
Now that the "top hat" has been successfully deployed, what is needed is a cloth wrap around the interface of the old pipe and the new "top hat" as a binder and seal. This cloth could be of the same material as fire hose and could be manufactured so that velcro clips would bind the cloth as it is wound around the interface by robots. Manufacture would take next to no time and deployment should be very rapid as well. Seeping oil into the interface should provide a particulate seal in a very short time. This would direct the flow only up the "top hat."
Assistant Professor, CDR USN (ret.)
written by David Claborn, June 04, 2010
One of the concerns is the deoxygenation some areas as a result of heavy blooms of micro-organisms that 'eat' the oil. Mechanical oxygenation of endangered areas can be done over large areas using existing technologies. Baseline information is need now to see what levels of oxygen should be used as targets.
Human Beeing
written by Jane Doe, June 04, 2010
Just pump the oil directly into the White House, I am sure there will be a faster solution to deal with this desaster then.
Hinged cylindrical encasement with new shut off valve
written by Shannon, June 04, 2010
Assumes cut off of mangled portion of pipe
Develop hinged cylindrical encasement allowing attachment from the side of the outer pipe rather than the top. The cylindrical encasment would be hinged on one side with hydrolic closure mechanism and appropriate seals where cylinder will meet once closed around the pipe. The encasement would also have a cut off valve at the top of the pipe top which would be left open during the time the encasement is secured around the pipe allowing oil to continuously vent during the encapsolulation process. Once secured, the top valve could be activated stop the flow of oil.
written by anonymous, June 04, 2010
They should have crimped the riser pipe closed with a "jaws of life", but since they just cut off the pipe so close to riser, they can't do this now....

written by Daniel J. Kane, PhD, June 04, 2010
Fill it with Republicans.
speech-language pathologist
written by JG-UW-Madison, June 04, 2010
Don't know if this is possible but a wild idea. Is it possible to transport molten lava to the site and release it near the spill or off shore to create barriers to the flow of oil?
written by the engineer , June 04, 2010
there are many ways to stop the oil flow but the main thing that bp should do is shut off the oil supplies, but if you have been watching the news they are failing to do this. my idea of how they should stop the oil flow is to cover it with rocks and dirt then after this they can send a small amount off explosives down to make it all collapse on itself stopping the flow
Dr. Podiatric Medicine
written by Anthony H. Borrelli, June 04, 2010
the pipes leading from the well head should have a flap similiar to a vein so that the flow goes only one way and is open as long as the flow continues.

Also there should be a shut off device at a point where the pipe can snap off should buckeling and abnormal bending occur if the surface rig should fail
Several pipe cutoff ideas
written by Peter Kaczkowski, PhD, June 04, 2010
The diamond saw will work when there is no side pressure, like sawing through a tree that tends to tip to pinch the cutting tool. A crude cutter (like the shears used recently, or an underwater blowtorch) can be used to make a rough cut. Then, a hydraulic gripper can grab in two places below the rough cut and hold the diamond saw for a clean cut between the two jaws. A cylindrical cage with guides and fixtures for all of the required tools and cameras can easily be made to fit over the crudely cut pipe end. The cutoff tools can also score the pipe circumferentially if desired for better sealing to a coupling. Wire saws may be easier to use than saw blades.

This "cage" approach has been used by the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington to cut off and retrieve deep underwater "smokers" which are large metallic sulfide columns, very rough and uneven, and belching very hot opaque fluid. The cage was lowered over the column, and a chain saw like device was able to cut through many inches of metallic material, which was held by the cage and then raised to the surface for study and display in several museums.
Professor of Entomology, Oklahoma State University
written by Brad Kard, Ph.D., June 04, 2010
The big problem is that the pressure at the sea floor exceeds 150 atm, plus the additional pressure of the 1000s of feet deep pipe in the sea bed. All stop-flow devices must be able to exceed/overcome these pressures. An very strong metal tube with and expandable, balloon-like but parabolic fitting on its distal end is inserted into the pipe and the 'balloon' expanded with a non-freezing liquid (at the temperature and pressure at that depth)until it seals against the inner wall of the pipe. There may not be a device that can overcome the pressure of the crude, but there may one.
Associate Professor of Chemistry, State University of New York at Binghamton
written by James Fang, June 04, 2010
The issue can be split into an oil flow and pollution of the leaked oil. When people are trying to stop the oil flow which is the root of the problem, it is equally significant to think about a cleaning of the leaked oil – this has to be done prior to the hurricane season in Gulf of Mexico! My suggestion of remediating the leaked oil is to isolate it by sucking the flow mixture into a huge tank built on a ship. The oil and pitch which float in ocean will certainly be suspended in the tank with sea water. They can be “concentrated” and eventually recovered when the dense sea water is simultaneously released from the bottom of the tank. This sounds so simple but should work, indeed. The more collection systems, the better. Again, it has to be started NOW, as hurricane season is approaching.
written by clumsy, June 04, 2010
Most of the comments I read here are ignorant. Impossible to push something down the well below the sea floor because guess what, the DRILL PIPE/SHAFT is still inside the tube/well and that can't be removed. So forget the "umbrella idea". Second, the pressure in the well is much too high at the BOP to cap... the oil will find its way out. Even if top kill had been successful, the oil would have started leaking from the seafloor underneath the BOP as the wellseat has been compromised during the initial explosion. The only short term solution is to remove as much of the oil as possible to the surface, i.e via the top hat just installed. It will leak badly, and the plan should be how to best minimize the leakage. I suggest an inflatable tube, like a heavy tire tube, place inside the top hat, that once lowered over the sheared top pipe and secured, could be inflated to provide a tight seal inside the top hat but outside the sheared pipe. I also recognize how difficult everything must be 5000 feet down. Best solution? Let the engineers solve the problem. Obama, Jindahl, and the rest NEED to focus on the real problem: our addiction to oil. Now is the time to raise gasoline tax to raise revenue to get us rolling away from oil... toward, gas, nuclear, wind and solar. They have got the sympathy of the public now lets get going!!! anyway peak oil is here, this is our last shot at fixing things and creating jobs once and for all!!! Peace all.
St. Jude Children's Reserach Hospital
written by McGehee Marsh, PhD, JD, June 04, 2010
I am an environmental toxicologist and trying to discover if any Biology Departments in this country are on the Gulf Coast collecting plants and animals to re-introduce when the coast returns to its pre-spill state. Many microorganisms, eggs, larvae,and juveniles won't survive and after we have restored the habitat we will need these precious specimens to inhabit.
Postdoctoral Researcher
written by Thavasi Renga Thavasi, June 04, 2010
I propose the application of biosurfactants instead of chemical surfactants. The reason is biosurfactants are eco-friendly, biodegradable, it also promote the existing microbes to degrade the oil faster. Even though the process is little slower than chemical biosurfactants, but the long lasting benefit is huge. Since it is summer the rate of biodegradation would be more faster than winter, so if we apply the biosurfactants now it will be easy for the microbes to degrade the oil quickly.

The science behind the biosurfactant is, biosurfactants are amphiphilic molecules produced by microbes using hydrophobic substrates or even using glucose. These versatile molecules reduce the surface tension drastically. It also emulsify and disperse the oils very quickly, these two processes will make the oil available to the microbes present in the area.

Since, all biosurfactants are not produced in high yield, but one biosurfactant called SOPHOROLIPIDS can be produced in large quantity through fermentation and the reported yield is 700g/L. There are few published papers available on this biosurfactant and its influence in biodegradation. But no one has done study on its application in marine environment. I also known that some companies sell this product in market.

Since my Ph.D is on biosurfactants and their application in oil degradation, I am ready to provide more information in this regard. In may lab scale study I observed 25 to 30% increase in biodegradation rates as compared to controls without biosurfactant.

People may say that we can clean the oil by using mechanical devices and chemicals, but your again polluting the environment by adding chemicals and their resides will be there for ever. In physical clean up process like use of boomer, skimmers and in situ firing, these approaches can not clean all the spill oil. So it is not a complete cleaning. the only way is to promote the biodegradation of the oil through eco-friendly methods as I proposed above.

You can reach me through [email protected]

Lets protect the nature for our future generation.
University of Michigan
written by Taihao Quan, June 04, 2010
Why don’t use explosive devices such as hydrogen bomb or nuclear bomb?
Professor, California State University, Los Angeles
written by Yong Ba, June 04, 2010
Send a thin pipe into the deep well and pump water into the pipe. Hope gas hydrate will form along the well’s wall to clog the oil well. Permanent solutions will be applied once the oil/gas follow is slowed down.
written by RT, PhD (NE), June 04, 2010
If the goal is a quick seal (a little late now probably) then the obvious answer would be a low-yield nuclear weapon detonated on the sea floor some short distance from the leaking pipe. The transverse component of the shock wave should collapse more than enough of the pipe to stop the flow and the environmental effect would be minimal. Otherwise, use the suggestion of Artic Associate, June 04, 2010 to heat the shell used previously. Oh, and add some weight to the shell, DUH!
Assistant Professor, General Surgeon
written by Willie Melvin, June 04, 2010
this problem is not unlike an arterial bleed, and first step in control is direct pressure (as attempted with the dome and top kill)
if this doesn't work the next is intra-arterial control of blood flow with a balloon device (as my colleges indicated above) this needs to be of a material that would be resistant to rupture or disruption of the balloon (thick rubber, kevlar etc) then inflate the balloon in the lumen of the pipe. Usually we use air to inflate the balloon, the hydrostatic pressure of fluid would work better here (much like the hydrolic bladders used to expand cruched cars)
this would stop the flow!'
a more sophistacated version would be a balloon that would have a central area through which the oil could be removed in a controlled manner.
written by Shabeli, June 04, 2010
Use a submarine from the Navy to position a steel cap over the pipe. The submarine could push the cap down and seal the leak to some extend. Meanwhile the relieve well is constructed.
written by Judy MacArthur Clark, June 04, 2010
A way to view this is "How can we mitigate the overall global environmental disaster" rather than just focusing on the Gulf. So a way to do this would be to collect the oil from the Gulf, presumably by corralling it and siphoning it out, and ship it to the deserts of North Africa. There you could spread the oil on the desert to create a biomass suitable or establishing an agricutural environment. The latter technique is well established and, once pump primed with biomaterial, become self sustaining.

The balance sheet in fiscal terms would show the cost of collecting the oil in the Gulf balanced by the profitability of the agriculture in otherwise hostile growing territory.

But the balance sheet in environmental terms is even better. The environmental problem in the Gulf is minimised as much as possible, while the environment in North Africa is substantially improved and becomes a signifiant contributor to reducing greenhouse gases (the plant life, including trees, is an absorber of CO2).

This is not a crazy notion. It's a serious way in which BP could also recover some of the reputational damage and help the longer term issues of saving the planet.
oil tankers
written by anonymous, June 04, 2010
To help clean up the spill- Get a tanker, suck up the oily water, spit out clean water, keep the oil and sell it.
written by Deborah and Shannon, June 04, 2010
The theory of using a catheter (just like the urinary catheter used in humans) with material that can withstand pressure and put into the balloon a material that can withstand pressure, use the tubing to go up to the surface and load the oil onto boats that can safely carry it away. :)
written by Dr. Y. Cui, June 04, 2010
Three steps:
1. Pour enough amounts of surface functionalized magnetic particles in this area, and the surface functionalization can make the oils bind to the particles.
2. Use ships or anything else which can move in this area taking some objects with magnetic fields to attract the above particles on the magnetic objects.
3. Remove the magnetic fields on the objects to release the oil immobilized particles to re-generate the oil.
written by K. Rozman, June 04, 2010
You should explode a huge charge(small nuke?) at the bottom of the ocean floor near or at the drill hole to make the opening as big as possible.That will reduce the pressure near to nothing and the hole will close by itself due to tectonics.K.R.
written by Dring Crowell, June 04, 2010
Insert a small steel pipe (catheter) into the large 21 inch pipe and rapidly deploy from inside the catheter an inflatable, thick-walled rubber balloon (like balloon angioplasty). If there is enough friction with the inside wall of the larger pipe, it might plug it.
written by Solar Energy Researcher, June 04, 2010
We wouldn't even be needing this oil from beneath the ocean floor if the econuts would just get out of the way. Right in the USA we have a 200-year supply of coal, gigantic suplies of natural gas, plentiful sun and wind--plus we invented the harnessing of atomic energy for power. So ask yourself, who logically would pay a lot of cash to politicians to make sure we stay dependent on mostly foreign oil? Not the econuts; they are just innocent dupes. Follow the money.
Professor of Biology
written by Steve L'Hernault, June 04, 2010
Build a funnel with a pipe or hose attached to its spout. There should also be a large diameter gate-type valve (#1) off to one side of the spout and a silicone rubber doughnut around the inner circumference of the funnel. The doughnut is connected to the surface by a hose, which has a gate valve between the funnel and the start of the hose. Lower the funnel over the wellhead with a second gate valve open so no oil pressure builds up during its positioning. Pump the doughnut full of seawater so that it expands and grips the broken pipe. Close gate valve #2, then close gate valve #1 and begin pumping oil through the pipe/hose attached to the spout.
Partner - Dolan's Green Solutions - www.dolansgreensolutions.com
written by Ardeshir Vosooghi, June 04, 2010
Our idea is NONTOX Sprayed right at the source, over the slicks, at the underwater plumes, and used clean marshes, animals, anything else oil is sticking to.

Non-toxic and safe to humans, animals, marine and plant life, 100% Biodegradable, Non-flammable, Immediate protection from auto ignition of petroleum hydrocarbons, Provide superior cleaning of oil coatings and wastes, Accelerates biodegradation rates of petroleum hydrocarbons, Reduces costs associated with soil and water remediation procedures, Provides treatment to most petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, Helps in the precipitation of metals in wastewater discharges, Acts quickly to effectively remove highly soluble elements, Works in concert with indigenous bacteria, No cultured or foreign bacteria are introduced into the ecosystem,
Eliminates obnoxious odors associated with crude oil, petroleum derivatives and other organic molecules that are proceeding through the natural decomposing process. The product is cost effective, readily available and requires no special equipement to apply.

Secretary/Jackson State University/Jackson, MS
written by Shirley Carpenter, June 04, 2010
Shirley Carpenter, secretary/Jackson State University/Jackson, MS
I think maybe to take the "ballon effect," by using the same material used to block the oil spill from reaching the gulf shores, place it over the open hole until its filled, cap it off, let it float in the water until you guys come up with some way to dispose of it. Or maybe just use the "Hefty effect," cover the spill with the heavy duty rubber material, let it fill, use a draw string to close the ends, let it float to the surface. I think people on the gulf region will not mind looking at the ballons floating in the water knowing it is contained, rather than the oil, gas, and mud.
Research Area Specialist/Associate
written by Daniel Acevedo, June 04, 2010
Lowering a second pipe with the same diameter as the one that is leaking and seal both pipes at the each end with proper rubber clamps. This was used when a leaking pipe was gushing oil on a boat. Here they sealed the leak with rubber and clamps that tighten as much as posible.
Adjunct Professor
written by Dharma R. Kodali, June 04, 2010
Melting the steel pipe to weld and seal requires high heat. Create high heat around the pipe can be done by an exothermic chemical reaction. One example can be a tightly sealed sodium with out exposing to water until it is in place, around the pipe. This may melt the steel pipe to weld on itself. However this may require something else to hold the melted metal in place by pushing the gushing oil down.
Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Medicine
written by Jiankan Guo, Ph.D., June 04, 2010
Upon the e-mail request this morning, when I was scrolling down the screen to upload my idea of a giant inverted funnel strategy, I noticed that Dr. Kemp B. Cease, M.D. had already proposed similar approach a month ago. However, I realize the details are different. My version is that we lower a group of 3 co-axial giant metal pipes (pipe inside pipe) with the inner most pipe's diameter a few times bigger than the diameter of the lower marine riser package (LMRP). The far outside pipe and inner most pipes are made shorter allowing the middle pipe to sit on the sea floor. Then inject special cement through the space between outside and middle pipe, and between middle and inner pipe continuously. At the same time, pump out liquid from the inner pipe to a row of vessels at the sea level. The middle pipe can have anchor features attached. Gradually, the well will be plugged. Otherwise, we continue to collect the oil from the inner pipe safely.
written by Gani, June 04, 2010
The oil pipe is 21 inches as reported, Lower a 5 inch thick 18 inch steel pipe inside the 21 inch . This pipe should be as long as possible. This will reduce the diameter 5 inches.
Pollow it with another 5" thich 12 inch pipe, then a smaller pipe till you can lower a solid cone to reduce the flow to a point you can plug it. There will be oil coming out between the pipes but it will be reduced to the minmum.
OR can you drop cannon balls smaller than the 21 inch oil pipe . Fill it close to the surface with large steel balls, then small steel balls . This will reduce the flowing oil as well as the pressure where you can cap it

Good luck
written by Ricardo A. Cruciani, June 04, 2010
What about drilling new wells next to the liking well to extract the crude and dry out the field faster, collect the crude directly into ships and send it out to the refineries?
written by A.R. Nejad, June 04, 2010
it seems that the outlet of well should be closed, there are many rough suggestions either by
explosion of weak nuclear bombs or by emptying big stones from
big oil tanker ships just above the well or hitting the oil well by
many strong submarine torpedo. it is possible to have explosion ring all around the well(s). two stroke torpedo seems more appropriate.
the second plan may be; decreasing the outlet pressure (dm/dt) of oil by making many connected wells close the main oil wells hence dividing the outlet dragged-oil among all of them then sealing one by one that is much easier.
written by sk, June 04, 2010
Show all the radio/tv talk show hosts one by one down the pipe and let reasonably knowledgeble people deal with this issue.
Seriously the news media is way out of their zone in hyper ventilating and aggravating the general public (not that it has any effect but it complicates how people who are working on the issue address this problem). I bet each one of them has no clue how oil was ever discovered and how difficult it is to get them and refine it. For all those who think who can live without oil, remember this is still the best technology available. The next best efficient technology thats available is nuclear. (how are we going to deal with that? some day everyone will have to turn to this and not use it to kill each other). Efficiency is the key in energy policy. Let the BP engineers and govt. scientists do the job. Rest if you can legitimately get on board and contribute do so else should stand and watch. time is the best fix)
To be fair for BP, they would like this well to be still functional and not have this cleanup problem.
Initially I was thinking that may be a giant crimper (like a can crusher) would do the job. It will reduce the oil out flow but also leak just a little bit to keep the wells from blowing up.
written by Eknoor Grewal, June 04, 2010
I am not a scientist in this field, don't even know how oil drilling exactly works, but I think it would be a good solution to suck as much of the oil as you can from leak point (I hope no fire down there), bypassing the damaged pipe(s) reconnect it to the pipe(s) reaching the ocean surface.
However, before seeking suggestions it would bave been a good idea to present us with a schematic so we know where exactly is leak and everything is connected.
written by Wiltz Wagner, PhD, June 04, 2010
Reverse the Arrows.

All current approaches will fail. The first hurricane will wipe out the marsh and instead of the absurdity of wiping oil off of individual blades of grass, rags will be wiping oil off of the beignets in Jackson Square.

There is only one answer and it is sitting right in front of everyone. Reverse the arrows that are directing water and oil movement.

Army engineers can do this, no question: remove the levees south of New Orleans and redirect the fresh water and alluvial soil into the dwindling marsh.

Result. All the grass will be washed, not wiped individually. The alluvial soil will be deposited as it has been for millennia and rebuild and extend the marsh. The salt water now creeping into the marsh will be diluted. That will with time protect the city and restore the crucial fishing estuary and wild life sanctuaries.

Some communities might be flooded, but those places depend on the seafood in the gulf, so those people will move anyway.

It’s a win-win-win. The marsh is cleaned. The marsh is rebuilt. The fishing is restored. New Orleans is saved by the marsh storm buffer.

Currently the oil moves north: tides, currents, storms.

The mighty Mississippi can beat the whole problem.

Unfortunately, we have no John Kennedy to unite the whole country to go to the moon.

Our current President is busy making stentorian speeches on a different topic every day.
written by Fellow PI, June 04, 2010
BP used a drill to make the hole in the first place....why not plug the hole with the 'drill'?
Ph.D. Preventive Medicine, Environmental Health Science
written by Catherine Zeman, Ph.D., June 04, 2010
Create some giant "oil absorption" peanuts that will float but will also absorb the oil. Use fising nets to gather them in once they reach maximumm saturation and reprocess them once they are gathered into useful fuel. One could also experiment with the materials to find the perfect mixture of absorption and floating capacity. Even if they sunk to the bottom of the ocean but absorbed the oil it would be helpful.
smart valve well cap
written by chris padwick, June 04, 2010
Many people have mentioned capping the well with a heavy torpedo shaped or bulbous cap. If you envision this cap with a heavy duty relief valve embedded in it, in which the relief valve is the same diameter as the broken well pipe, then I think you have a good chance. When you place the cap over the well, the oil pressure flowing out of the well will make it very tough to keep the cap in place. So you open the relief valve wide open. Put the cap on top of the well. The oil will flow out of the the relief valve, so there will be no oil pressure to contend with. Weld the cap in place (I'm implicitly assuming that you can weld at that depth). Once the cap is welded in place, now you can start to close the relief valve, slowly. You might do it over the course of a week, slowly closing it a little bit each day.
written by Garlyn Norris, June 04, 2010
TWO Key issues that keep beind discussed are the upward pressure of the oil, and the ice from when the pump it up the hose. My Idea would be to inject a gel into the well that could be heated and frozen as required for the funnell process. IE ICE/HEAT PACK
written by S KRUGER, June 04, 2010
precise explosion (not neuclear) nearby the pipe on the see floor to seal the leaking hole
written by Y. Zhang, June 04, 2010

Support the position is (0, 0) on the see floor, may make a precise explosion at (x, y) close to (0, 0) to push nearby materials to seal the
leaking hole. Need some engineering calculation to see how much explosive is needed (but not neuclear, it's too much).
written by L Junck, June 04, 2010
If the funnel and capping methods fail, try rocks. Shi_loads of rocks (choose your consonant, "p" or other). Rocks of various sizes, so that their packing density is high.
Neonatal section Chief Reading Hospital and Medical Center
written by David Sorrentino, June 04, 2010
Insert an uninflated ballon inside of a tube, like the siphon that has already been inserted. The ballon can then be extended into the oil pipe and pumped full of something like cement or heavy mud. As the ballon inflates it will occlude the pipe and stop the oil.
solution to the problem - WILL CAUSE MINDS TO PHAUSE!
written by nephew of Earl p Halliburton , June 04, 2010
Thursday, this week I meet with some of the greatest minds in this world...

Folks that have known for years that are in this OIL industry, and

some longer

longer than I..

Folks the real Idea to fix this problem will come from GOD!

No man-University-Company-Government-or Society in our world can or

would be

Willing or able to conceive the actual social, economic, ecological, ethical scope and

Breath of this problem - The real Hope lies in invoking the aid of GOD!

But man soon forgets where the real solutions come from.

If I said to you that I may have the answer - you may

Say, I am CRAZY! (I'm not that impressive). That just can't be and stop reading!

AT THE END OF THE DAY WHAT IS CLEAR IS; The solution may be at hand.

To close a leaking well, but I remain quit or to speak the words out load,

Because I am afraid!

So you must know that the an answer is possible and it can't be done

without the world's commitment, this Idea will change everything!

It so over-whelming that it will cause the best minds in this world

to phase!

Be careful - what you ask for you may get it!

Professor of Biology
written by Tony Farone, June 04, 2010
As a temporary collection system, could the submersibles fit giant hot air-like balloons to the pipe and then the collected oil and gas would float, contained/prepackaged, to the surface to be collected by nearby ships?
Magnetic Jam of Blowout Preventer
written by Don Grady, June 04, 2010
I assume the blowout preventer is made of metal. Attach a variable strength electromagnet to an appropriate point on the blowout preventer; then pump metal filings of varying sizes into the blowout preventer in the same manner as the "mud" in the topkill procedure. Increase the strength of electromagnet as needed to attract and hold filings to the side of the pipe until oil flow is stopped.
Professor, University of Missouri
written by Richard Guyette, June 04, 2010
The crater-pressure-diffusion method
Leaks can be stopped by the diffusion of source pressure though many small channels. These small channels are then less difficult to obstruct and block. Methods: First, US navy submarines will explode the oil pipe site with downward (45 degree) traveling torpedoes. A crater as deep as possible (20 meters?) into sediments and bedrock will be created and the above surface well casing blown away. After this crater is formed several possibilities will present themselves. The addition of large amounts of heavy and large aggregates (metal ore, compacted scrap iron, crushed vehicles) could be a first method for diffusing the pressure into more and smaller channels. After this addition, filling the crater with gradually smaller and smaller heavy aggregates would be necessary. Heavy barium clays could be used between aggregate additions. Alternatively or additionally explosives could be used to move the crater rim back into the depths of the crater and over the oil pipe emissions. Also, explosives could be used to move fine aggregates over the diffused oil emissions of weakened pressure. Small explosives could be used in the heavy aggregates of the newly filled crater to decrease the size of the channels.
"balloon angioplasty"
written by Thomas M. Davis, University of New Hampshire, June 04, 2010
The title says it all. Balloon angioplasty. Just find the right materials and method of inflating. Insert deep enough in broken pipe to go beyond all leak points. Inflate.
Hydraulically crimp the riser
written by T. Ragucci, Sr. Scientist, June 04, 2010
Hydraulics could provide the leverage to crimp the riser away from a joint. I think the trick would be to cause deformation rather than cracking; a brief metallurgical/FEA analysis on the effect of high side loads on the (cast?) pipe would be important before attempting this.
Associate Director, Barros Research Institute
written by David Juckett, June 04, 2010
Sink a derelict cargo ship or tanker in a controlled manner upside down over the well. Let the inverted hull collect the leaking crude. The crude can then be retrieved by pumping from an access port created at the top of the inverted hull. This will store a large amount of crude until the intersecting wells are finished and plugged.
Brunel University
written by Dr. Maged Ali, June 04, 2010
I think we need to differentiate between the source of the problem (the leak from the broken pipe at the oil field, and elsewhere where the oil spread.
For the first problem we need something to stop that and if not we could find a way to naturalize the oil (could be burning the oil, could be a material that we distribute on the area).
For the second problem as the oil spread we need to a way to stop it from expanding and that could be by spreading another materials in a bigger circle so when the oil leak expand cant not spread outside that, then we start swallowing that oil leak.
written by Tom Robinson, June 04, 2010
Perhaps a "junk shot" can be made successful by creating a screen inside the pipe to trap the "junk". This may be done by drilling holes through the pipe in planes perpendicular to the axis of the pipe. The through holes may be perhaps 3/8 to 3/4 inch diameter spaced at 60 degrees for 3 holes or 45 degrees for 4 holes. Each through hole would be in a different plane, with the planes separated by perhaps 1/2 to 1 inch. The 3 or 4 drill bits could be left in the through holes to create a screen.The drill bits would cross the center of the pipe perpendicular to the pipe axis and supported at each end by the holes in the pipe. If the drill bits cannot be removed from the drill to leave them in the holes drilled on opposite sides of the pipe (the through holes)then the drills with bits could be left in place. The screen thus formed would trap "junk" which has dimensions larger than the spacings between the drill bits, but much smaller than the pipe inside diameter.
Assistant Professor, Univ. of Pittsburgh
written by Di Gao, June 04, 2010
We have developed a technique for separating oil from water via a cotton filter coated in a chemical polymer that blocks oil while allowing water to pass through. The filter was successfully tested off the coast of Louisiana and shown to simultaneously clean water and preserve the oil. A video of testing our filter with oil and water samples from the Gulf of Mexico spill is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfRKjiOXVWE

For the massive slick off the U.S. Gulf Coast, you may envision large, trough-shaped filters that could be dragged through the water to capture surface oil. The oil could be recovered and stored and the filter reused.
Prof. NYU
written by Thomas Drysdale, June 04, 2010
Can you make a very large high-pressure, but flexible, expansion bladder that could be placed over the outflow pipe and cinched or secured below the leak. At the other end of the expansion bladder would be a pipe that could be tapped, drawing the oil to tankers on the surface.
Professor, North Carolina State University
written by Eric Hinesley, June 04, 2010
This is a long-shot using the original large box and funnel top. Embed electrical heating cables in the walls and top to provide enough heat to liquify the crystalline methane that tends to block the funnel. After the methane changes to liquid, I seems that it should go right on up the pipe along with the oil.
concerned citizen
written by Joseph Nuzzo, June 04, 2010
My idea is to protect the marshes and inlets of the costal arrears.
Dump different size ping pong ball or other material i.e. Styrofoam around
Inlets and marshes so that they create a buffer from the oil.
The outer balls that get contaminated can be removed and replaced with new ones
When the threat is gone it would be easier to remove all the balls than to remove oil.
The contaminated ball may also be disposed of by burning them in a trash to energy plant.

Joseph Nuzzo
Professional Geophysicist
written by Norm Kalmanovitch, June 04, 2010
To solve a problem one must first clearly define the problem in terms that will aid in determining a solution.
In metric terms this well was drilled to 5468m with 1.7gm/cc density mud in water with a depth of 1524m.
Assuming the oil gas mixture has a density of 0.8gm/cc one can calculate that the reservoir pressure is somewhat below 92.956mpa, and the flowing pressure at the sea floor is 92.956mpa minus the pressure from the oil column of 31.696mpa for the 3962m column to the sea floor which equals 61.260mpa for the pressure at the sea floor.
This converts to pressures of 13,482psi for the reservoir pressure and 8885psi for the sea floor pressure.
Assuming an ID of 6 inches for the casing the cross sectional area for the flow is 28.27inches and the total force of the flow at the sea floor would be 251,217lbs.
Rounding off these numbers to 125tons and 13,000psi we have a very much simplified problem.
To stem the flow of oil we either need to cap the well with a 125ton "cork" or stop the flow at the reservoir with a mud column that will exert 13,000psi of pressure.
It should have been readily apparent that any attempt to cap the well at the sea floor had very low possibility of success and the only way to stop the flow is with a sufficient mud column holding back the reservoir pressure.
This will successfully be achieved with the relief wells and the question is whether this can be done sooner.
The last operation opened up vertical access to the well bore. If 4" drill pipe can be lowered past the BOP all the way to the bottom kill mud could then be pumped down the drill stem and be delivered to the bottom of the well at the reservoir level. It would take almost the full height from the reservoir to the sea floor for standard kill mud to accomplish this, but if hemitite instead of barite was used this could be accomplished with about three quarters of the column with this denser material.
With the riser already in place the drill pipe has an easy access to the well bore and this should be very similar to just tripping into the hole to TD.
This tripping operation should take under a day to complete and it would take only a few hours of pumping mud to completely stop the flow and get the well under control.
This is a simple and straight forward operation and providing the pipe can enter the hole and get to the bottom it is a virtual certainty that the flow can be stopped within two days.

Norm Kalmanovitch
[email protected]

Joseph Nuzzo
written by Joseph Nuzzo, June 04, 2010
Also boats should be able to navigate through them without difficulty.
Use bacteria to consume oil
written by Marissa Carter, June 04, 2010
There have been many small-scale experiments to consume oil in oil spills using specific species of bacteria. I don't know if this would work at a depthos of a mile, but surely it's worth a try. We may need to add additional nutrients to get them started, but being a focal source, they would just keep consuming the oil until it's gone.
written by Pharmacist, June 04, 2010
Since a nuclear blast has worked once before and there are advocates to blast again, use a conventional warhead. Sometimes old technology is better than new technology. At least if the conventional blast does not work a new disaster, one of a nuclear nature, will not have been created.
Chemist, NIEHS, NIH
written by Michael L. Cunningham, June 04, 2010
It seems an approach that could work involves supporting bacterial growth resulting in bacterial degradation of the oil. If there are conditions that are favorable to grow bacteria in the vicinity of the oil slick or oil washed up on shore, then there is a better chance for oil-consuming bacteria to grow. Therefore, I would spray sugar of any type (corn syrup, dissolved cane sugar, etc) on oily areas. This will allow bacterial growth but not algae blooms that will result from spraying fertilizers due to excess the excess nitrogen. And added bacteria will help balance the ecosystem.
written by Doctorbabaguy, June 04, 2010
This proposal is NOT about stopping the flow, which will happen in a few days to a few months anyway, but it is about cleaning up of the leaked oil. “Chemical” dispersion in such a massive scale will likely be highly detrimental to the ocean ecosystem. Biological remediation through natural processes may take decades.

This proposal is about augmenting biological remediation in a global scale.

Use synthetic biology techniques construct at least three alternative Halobacterium NRC-1 strains that can biodegrade most of the components of crude oil in saline water, by coupling the degradation pathways genes obtained from other bacteria to the energy production pathways in Halobacterium. Optimize efficiency by systems biology modeling (e.g., flux-balance modeling), mass produce in fermentors, produce aerosols and disperse into contaminated areas.

Crude oil is composed of hydrocarbons that are mostly paraffins, napthenes, small aromatics and less than 10% polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Biodegradative pathways of nearly all of these hydrocarbons are well known—they have been best studied in soil bacteria, such as Pseudomonads and Mycobacteria, for example. These bacteria do not survive well in salt water. However, salt-loving Halobacterium NRC-1 does not have these genes, so these need to be engineered in.

The engineering steps will include assembling all the genes into a single genome of Halobacterium NRC-1, coupling some of the encoded proteins, such as key rate limiting metabolic enzymes, into protein scaffolds so that maximal metabolite flow rate is obtained through the pathways. Some of the degradative enzymes are to secreted (such as those catalyzing the first steps of degrading larger (more insoluble) molecules, some are membrane bound and some are soluble (these information are available from computational analysis of genomic sequences in public databases). The engineering design would have to take into consideration the need for such spatial distributions. The designed strains will be constructed by high-throughput DNA synthesis and assembly techniques innovated within the past 5 years. Designs would be guided by computational modeling of pathway operation and dynamics. The constructed strains will then need to be optimized both for mass production and degradation efficiency—the fastest way is by repeated cycles of mutagenesis and selection. Whole genome sequencing, computational modeling guided by metabolome profiling, and gene/protein expression profiling, will be required at every stage of optimization. Mass produce the engineered strains in massive scale, roll into aerosols or powered dispersants, and release in contaminated areas. All of the above steps are technically feasible.

Potential impact on ecosystem:
This will be substantial but no more than that of the oil itself. Since the energy production in the engineered strains will be coupled to biodegradation of the oil residues, the engineered strains will die as they exhaust the energy supply (oil residues).

A group of approximately 150-200, most young, scientists, including trained bacteriologists, biochemists, molecular biologists, and computational biologists, especially those trained in genomics, and chemical/industrial fermentation engineers, are to be led by a team of synthetic biology researchers in a management format recapitulating the Manhattan Project.

Approximately 1 year to delivery (six months to assemble the strains, 3 months to optimize, 3 months to production).

Yes, it is ambitious!
written by A. Brinker, June 04, 2010
Now that the broken riser stem is cut, a large metal box - which will be a manifold is built to surround the irregular stem (bottom of box) and a 20 or more threaded ports on the top of the box. The box will be lowered over the broken stem and - one by one - 4-inch oil pipes will be added. At fist, oil will spill from the multiple open holes on the top of the box in into the sea. However, as more holes are "plugged" with mile-long oil pipe, the pressure will rise and oil will be sent up. There will need to be another manifold system on the surface to divert all this oil into ships. Excess pressure will result only in oil backwashing into the sea at the "soft" junction of the intake manifold and the broken BOP stem.

A. brinker
[email protected]
written by James Mathias, June 04, 2010
I’ve seen plumbers test PVC drain pipes by pressurizing them and putting small balls in the openings and pressurizing the small balls, which expand to fill the opening which eventually will be connected to the sink, etc. My idea is to insert a small ball, possibly one foot into the open pipe, and then inflate the small ball, similar to what the plumbers do. Of course the difficulty is that the oil coming out will try to push the ball out of the pipe; maybe an underwater robot could provide force to keep the ball in the pipe and also pressurize the ball. When the ball is pressurized and the edges of the ball are in very close contact with the inside surface of the pipe, it should do a pretty good job of stopping the oil from coming out.
American National, Inventor
written by Dale C., June 04, 2010
To Whom this may concern,

When I saw, the saw blade cut away the blown pipe ....I saw the fix that quick... If you look at the (bolt together fiting) joint right below the piece of pipe that was cut off... you will see that, that joint is bolted together.... un-bolt it and put on a new joint with pipe to surface,just like original ..... clanps could be put on the flange that the bolts go throught to hold (in place) while bolts are put on and tightened.. Am I missing something...???? Seems to me it is much the same as hooking up two hoses that water is going through....
Capping off the Gusher
written by Rosetta Bridges, June 04, 2010
Why not drop a sledge hammer on the pipe or tubing a few times (of coarse a heavy block Like Steel will have to be placed under the pipe) & then lower the boom, the gusher will back up (maybe upperward, but in a different direction) then it can be capped off above water. Just think surgeons are doing laser surgery now, if this gusher happen to a patient how would they stop the bleeding to save the patient? It would still have to be done by laser surgery, try asking a surgeon how they would handle something simular to this disaster. Or what would happen if the set fire to it, it would burn until it burns out, then clean up the mess.
written by anonymous, June 04, 2010
Dermatologists might suggest a large dose of clearasil or .

Gastroenterologists would likely recommend huge doses of orlistat be pumped into the ocean, as it prevents absorption of fat...

Senior Scientist
written by J Haimson, June 04, 2010
With a net vertical thrust in excess of 100 tons at the exit of the 20 inch diameter riser, the vast majority of submitted suggestions to thread, plug, cap, freeze,or otherwise modify the riser outlet at the source of the gusher - are just not practical.
To place this in perspective, the use of , say, an 18 inch diameter steel cylindrical plug having a long tapered entry profile (to reduce the initially encountered effects of turbulence)would require a length of approximately 500 ft (200T). Full insertion of such a plug would require a knowledge of the alignment and bore restrictions. The progressively increasing impedance of the annular ductway during insertion would ensure a controlled reduction of oil flow. The maximum length of the fabricated sections would be determined by manufacturing, joint design, transport and assembly considerations.
Use the solution that has worked before
written by W. S. Sampath, Associate professor. Mech. Eng., June 04, 2010
I heard the ex-CEO of Shell Oil say that for a similar problem super tankers were brought in to scoop the oil and this will give time to try the solutions suggested.
Senior Scientist, GE
written by Ileana Hancu, June 04, 2010
Instead of the funnel approach-- attach overlapping blades (initially closed) to a pipe going down INSIDE the well. Open the blades- they need to be built such as they open in a conical fashion. This should not allow a whole lot of oil to leak outside the funnel. What comes out should go out only through the pipe. If it plugs with ice, the ice should act as a cork.
written by KKF, June 04, 2010
My solution for aftermath is probably too little too late for far too much $$ but I'd like to see the wetlands built back up with an extensive program of dredging up silt out of the Missippi to be deposited (one stinking barge at a time) into the out, outer and out-est skirts of the wetlands to just build it up again. Just dump it all on top of and right through the oil-stained water. Surely fresh silt-bars composed of this stuff would contain loads of the kinds of microbiological good guys who'll help remediate the disaster we've got, add nutrients to the sandbars and wetlands we started with, and create stronger weather/disaster mitigation for the future.
Research Director
written by JR, June 04, 2010
Simply place an upside down unbrella device down the pipe and set the legs with a small explosive charge. This will stop the oil and yet allow the usage of the well at a later date if wanted by pushing the umbrella to the bottom of the well or drilling it out.

written by DM, June 04, 2010
When the Hoover dam was built, two channels were built to divert the water around the construction site. When the channels were complete, the water would go through them and lessen the flow through the dam. This is similar to the 2 month effort BP is doing with the side drilling. Perhaps a faster solution could simultaneously be attempted where the pipe is punctured closer to the sea floor.
written by SJH, June 04, 2010
Mount a high-torque, pressure-resistant impeller at the end of 36-inch diameter thick walled PCV sewer pipe. Position and mount this pipe inside a larger 48-inch diameter PCV pipe. Progressively lengthen both pipes (lumens open) to 1-mile, while sinking the business end of this double-walled collector to the sea bottom. Slowly activate the impeller to establish counter-current flow, i.e. warm surface water sinking in the larger outer pipe, while cold bottom water rises in the smaller inner PCV pipe. Maneuver the end of this unit over the leaking oil plume so that the crude can be quantitatively drawn up to surface skimmers and tankers.
written by DM, June 04, 2010
Fix the valve to shut the pipe.
Fast and cheap solution
written by Ahmed Moustafa ([email protected]), June 04, 2010
Dear the BP Chief and the President of the US,
The exfoliated graphite is the best candidate to remove all the crude oil from the water. The maximum removal capacity is 103 kilogram of oil removed per each Kilogram of the exfoliated graphite, which is the highest, in less than one minute. The exfoliated graphite is floatable, so that it can be used in two ways: (1) It can be injected to the well where it will adsorb the crude oil and then it will float to the surface or (2) it can be wrapped in fiberglass to form a boom and then applied to the spill directly in case of calm weather. The oil adsorbed by the exfoliated graphite can be recovered by centrifugation and used again and the used exfoliated can be recycled as well up to six time with 60% efficiency for the last cycle. The site will need location to place some furnaces, pumps and the exfoliated graphite precursor which is the graphite oxide, this material can be obtained from Asbury Carbons in New Jersey.

I have been awarded the very prestigious Fulbright scholarship to pursue my MSc. in The Penn State University. My project was the remediation of oil spills, and I am currently awarded the very prestigious Alberta Ingenuity scholarship toward my PhD in the University of Alberta, for an advanced remediation project as well.
Ahmed Moustafa
PhD Student
Email: [email protected]
written by DM, June 04, 2010
Re-drill within the exisiting pipe to thread a half mile of trailing explosive charges. When deep enough, detonate to collapse a substantial portion of the pipe and prevent the oil from reaching the sea until the relief drilling can be completed.
Prof. of Elec. Comp Eng
written by CM Rappaport, June 04, 2010
Assemble 1500m of ground-based oil pipeline with much larger diameter (say, 2m) than 21 inch existing pipe, and lower onto and fully surrounding leaking pipe. As oil rises, it will displace water until the entire pipeline is filled with oil. Pump oil from top into containment vessels. Anchor pipeline with fleet of surface ships.
Associate Professor Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics, Boston University
written by Jim Holsapple MD, June 04, 2010

An artery is bleeding at the bottom of a long dark hole.

1) Containment (apply appropriate suction): Construct a square pyramid of strong (multilayered) cold-hot resistant (antartic tent material) "canvas" that is lowered over plume via lines (or guided into place with ballast) with base secured by concrete footers (cubes) along perimeter-corners and vertex lifted to "point" with negative ballast (balloons). Vertex has been removed previously and joined to square cylinder "chimney" of same material that passes to surface collection point ("chimney is thus flexible"). Dimensions depend on width and pitch of oil-plume. Upward flow to vertex, chimney, and surface assisted by gas injection beneath "tent" (volumes adjusted for anticipated expansion during ascent) or warming of sea water with electric heaters. Imagine a circus tent (aquatic version) with a vent in roof (joined to chimney of cloth rising to surface) with "smoke" rising upwards by convection (and/or assisted by bubbler -- now think corner filter in your 10 gal fishtank). Oil is collected at surface. Tent is preformed and lowered into position. Suction achieved and operative field "controlled" -- hemostasis procedure follows (2).

2) Hemostasis (stop bleeding): Let's assume that the various capping procedures (clamping, cauterizing and shrinking) continue to fail -- can we "clot" the crude oil "in-line"? Surgical approach is to apply pressure and await natural coagulation (not possible here). HOWEVER: can we encourage sludging and/or solidification? IDEA: Cuff riser tube along its length with cooling rings (liq N2) and cool crude in transit (this would have been nice with pipe bent to slow flow). Multicomponent crude is said to become viscous near -50 deg C -- if viscous, flow will slow -- freezing may follow. If flow stopped or sufficiently slowed -- proceed with definitive capping OR use freeze technique(s) to create a saline ice "cap" around and over rise tube (might consider creating a cryo-cage that is placed over end with flow reduced and flash freeze saline within interstices via infusion coolant into cube railings (think a wire mesh 3D cube of pipes carrying coolant). Hemostasis achieved (maybe).

(1) and (2) are the natural and instinctive steps taken by surgeon confronted with a serious bleeding point located in a dangerous or tough to reach location. Principles: 1) clear the field of accumulating blood (suction) to prevent obscuration of problem (or spread of damaging heme) -- breath deep and think. 2) proceed with standard hemostatic maneuvers (here limited, it seems, to thrombosing vessel by slowing flow or "clotting"/freezing and/or slowing flow to permit routine/non-routine [freeze cap] occlusion).


[email protected]
the dude
written by chris vichosky, June 04, 2010
why dont you guys stop being gready assholes and just weld a cap onto the pipe i dont get what the problem is. take a sub robot arms weld the stupid pipe. the problem would be you guys want to cap it so yo0u still have access to the oil. fix the problem and then worry about getting back into it latter.I know this might effect your multi million dollars in bonuses and what not but at this p[oint you shouldnt even have a job and you should face criminal charges for polluting as much land as you guys have. One last thing, quite lying about your intention to clean up this mess. everyone knows that this incident is just going to end up like the exxon valdiez spill, right after the cameras leave you guys will to.
Asst. Professor of Radiology,
written by Paul Karmin MD, June 04, 2010
I suggest that a series of shaped explosives be inserted through a hole (or hole) next to the leaking oil well. The hole and charges should extend perhaps 30-50 into the ocean floor. Then they will be detonated simultaneously, hopefully shearing the well casing and covering the now occluded well with 30-50 feet of ocean floor, augmented by the pressure of 5000 feet of water. This seems quick, relatively safe and quite reproducible.

Let's get going!
Senior Scientist
written by V Stewart, June 04, 2010
For remediation of leaking oil: collect, strain or lift out of water. Some of these methods mean that harmful dispersants would need to end and that thousands of volunteers would be willing to help. In these methods, the more oil CLUMPS the better.
Collect and separate: Surround oil with many large tankers that recover oil by pumping it all up and out with separation of sea and oil. Or, clean it up with many suction hoses in shallower water before it reaches shore using the same existing technology.
Strain: Use giant oil strainers pulled by tug boats to collect oil on the surface changing strainers in a rotating fashion.
Lift: Use the equivalent of giant “paper towels” or absorbing mops moved in a line by a collection of boaters, helicopters and other vehicles to lift oil off the surface.
Physics Prof in CA
written by T.B., June 04, 2010
The ideas about using a magnetic field near the opening are interesting. Magnetic forces on macroscopic materials (i.e. bits of metal) can be very strong. Seems to be like trying to stop the leak from above the flow has failed--the pressure is too great from that vantage point. Perhaps an attempt to prevent the flow from within would work. Suppose a strong B-field is set up near the opening of the pipe, transverse to the flow direction. If then small bits of ferromagnetic materials (even crushed bits of magnets as suggested above) were inserted into the stream (perhaps downstream on the same pipe) would they start to accumulate near the magnetized opening of the pipe, decreasing its diameter bit by bit and restricting the flow?
Suck the oil out
written by Jerry Moon, June 04, 2010
Take all the lobbyists of Washington who are sucking up to congresspersons, and let them use their extraordinary sucking powers to suck all excess oil. Voila!
written by John Sabraw, June 04, 2010
A transportable hollow turbine system with flexible suction pipes would allow for quick response to a wide range of oil leaks. This system will concentrate the leaking oil into a vortex limiting the scope of contamination while also capturing virtually all oil as it leaks, but can also be adapted for rapidly removing what has already been spilled.
A hollow tube turbine extended as needed on a boom over or under an oil leak is anchored to a ship, or stabilizing concrete counterweight on the ocean floor, and powered from engines aboard ships or the rig itself.
Attached to the end of the turbine in the direction of vortex flow is one or more flexible pipes siphoning leaking oil to tankers, barges, or ringed flotation containers. Decontamination ships can filter clean seawater out from the oil and return it back to the body of water.
The turbines can be made in varying sizes and shapes to adapt to surface oil, under tanker leaks, as well as platform or deep well conditions. Finally, these turbines, pipes, and containment units could be required equipment on all drilling and transport operations assuring immediate response.

Desperately submitted by John Sabraw, Associate Professor, Ohio Unive
Assitant Professor, Univ. of Pittsburgh
written by Di Gao, June 04, 2010
We have developed a technique for separating oil from water via a cotton filter coated in a chemical polymer that blocks oil while allowing water to pass through. The filter was successfully tested off the coast of Louisiana and shown to simultaneously clean water and preserve the oil. A video of testing our filter with oil and water samples from the Gulf of Mexico spill is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfRKjiOXVWE

For the massive slick off the U.S. Gulf Coast, we can use large, trough-shaped filters that could be dragged through the water to capture surface oil. The oil could be recovered and stored and the filter reused.
Research Scientist UNMC
written by T.M D, June 04, 2010
BP's broken wellhead overlies a reservoir of oil in the earth's core. Because repair of the wellhead is not possible, remove the entire apparatus. Yes, the flow of oil will temporarily increase, but it should be more avilable to temporarily obstruct the oil flow until a new wellhead can be installed. The piecemeal plan of pipe cutting does not work.
As for the cleanup, more tankers WORLDWIDE are needed to aspirate the oil-water mixture and separate the mixture as they did after other, more minor oil spills. This is now a GLOBAL pollution problem that requires international cooperation from every source.
Professor of Physics, UBC, Vancouver, Canada
written by Jess H. Brewer, June 04, 2010
I think I saw something like this above, but I'll emphasize it: if the "suction cap" was plugged by slush, it's because no one had the wit to build in a simple phase separator: extend the suction pipe to the very bottom of the cap cylinder so that it extends below the slush into the accumulating oil; then take the oil out only as fast as it emerges, so that the pipe does not get plugged. It should be easy to install sensors to ensure maintenance of dynamic equilibrium.

If you feel you have to try something "new", here are a few possibilities:

(a) Attach a transmitter to a Wood's metal torpedo; position it above the well head and drop it, watching where it goes. If it is not deflected by the gushing oil, drop a few thousand of same into the opening.

(b) Make a very well insulated transfer line with a heated inner tube; use it to pump molten Wood's metal (or, in a pinch, mercury) into the well head, where it will freeze into a metal plug.

(c) As a last resort, buy a WWII surplus submarine, fill the nose with lead, put the CEO of BP at the helm and drive it full speed straight down into the well head to plug the hole.
Mechanical Engineer, P.E.
written by T. Nicol, June 04, 2010
Lift the blowout preventer and the well casing to the surface. If the dirt, mud, and whatever matter is around the pipe in the vicinity of the reservoir doesn't fill in the void and plug the leak, then separate the blowout preventer from the pipe and collect oil at the surface.
Research Associate, The Rockefeller University
written by Bill Netzer, June 04, 2010
Construct nets 1/2 to 1 km long. They don't have to be more than a few meters deep. Attach each end to a ship, so that there will be two ships 1/4 to 1/2 km apart. The nets must be made of a hydrophobic material so that the floating oil will not seep through the holes but sea water will. Then slowly skim the floating oil from the surface by dispatching small ships to harvest the oil as it is pooled by the net. This may be thought of as a scale-up of current oil skimming technology. The oil harvesters can then refine and sell the oil. In fact, BP can contribute to this by providing free refining services.

written by Bill Netzer, June 04, 2010
CORRECTION: Hydrophobic should read "hydrophilic."
Director, Totteridge Institute for Advanced Studies
written by Patrick A. Riley, June 04, 2010
Most of the proposals are aimed at preserving the oil. The TIFAS solution is based on burning the hydrocarbon to prevent pollution. This would necessitate an air (or oxygen) line to the source of the leak and a suitable ignition system.

Assistant Professor, LSU health Sci Center, School of Medicine, New orleans, LA.
written by Shahriar Koochekpour, June 04, 2010
I live in New Orleans area. It gives me a real peace of mind to help. I have several ideas. They are all very simple. One of my ideas is to put small draining tubes (e.g., 5 or 10 cm diameter or bigger, but not much) one after the other one inside the big dril. Each one of these tubes should be connected to a oil tanker on water surface for collection of oil. By doing this gradulally (one tube at each time, without removing the previous tubes), the total force of oil expulsion from the source (big dril)will be gradually reduced. At the end, whenever it is not possible to put any more of the same size tube, smaller tubes could be used for oil drainage into the tanker above. At the end, the periphery of all the tubes (beginging from the drill mouth piece to a few yards above) could be aggregated and bound together and sealed stably. Next step would be to put a cap on each tube on water surface or strangulate each tube in the water. Again, this should be done one by one. Overall this method will prevent further oil leakage and will buy sufficient time for proper sealing and control of oil drill. I have other ideas. The only thing that I need is to have an hour conversation with the BP-engineer who knows the exact hardware (structural design) of the drill at the level between the sea floor (wet ground zero) and the actual oil well and can provide additional information (e.g., velocity of oil discharge, pressure of oil discharge/surface area, diameter of oil well, oil discharge volume/minute, hardness of wet ground zero, etc). I wish I would be given a chance.
professor of physics
written by thomas e wilson, June 04, 2010
1.Deploy a high-powered fiber laser on-board a ship above the leak, with sufficient length of fiber waveguide attached to a submersible robot so that both can be lowered to the leak site
2.Construct a cylindrical mesh screen with one end of the cylinder terminated with a thicker solid metal plate. The cylindrical diameter is to match the submerged pipe from which the leak is flowing.
3.Lower the cylindrical assembly alongside the robot that is standing by at the leak.
4.Arrange to have the robot (controlled by surface personnel) maneuver the cylindrical mesh assembly over the broken flow tube, and have the robot weld the mesh cylinder to the oil pipe.
5.Next, lower another cylindrical mesh but this one is hinged along its axis so that it can be opened and wrapped around the first welded mesh assembly; weld the latter onto the first. Now, the effective mesh diameter becomes reduced as does the leak rate.
6.Continue in succession to have the robot position and weld a number of such split cylindrical screens over, and around the assembly, until the overall mesh size is sufficiently reduced to effectively stop the oil leak –due to viscosity there will be a pressure drop across each mesh. The average force on each outer layer of mesh becomes reduced, so only the total wall thickness of the total number of meshes should be sufficient to withstand the oil pressure within.
Surround the leak site with mile-deep booms
written by Prof. Boom, June 04, 2010
Deploy mile deep booms around the leak site, preventing leaking oil from going further into the sea. Oil will rise to the surface right near the leak site, where surface ships can collect it. Its quite simple and doable and its common sense.

Of course, BP wouldn't want to do this because then everyone will know how much oil has leaked, and they'll have to pay penalty in proportion to that. They would rather use dispersants so all the leaking oil stays underwater.
Use underwater oil-capturing robots to clean up the oil
written by Prof. Robot, June 04, 2010
Send thousands of underwater robots that capture and filter out oil. The robots periodically report to their mother ship which empties the oil collected and sends them out again to collect more oil.
written by RT, PhD (NE), June 04, 2010
People persist in thinking that a "nuclear" explosion must somehow equate to its own sort of natural disaster. This is just not correct. A nuclear weapon is fundamentally no more than a particularly powerful and compact explosive in terms of its effects and is no messier in general than an equivalent yield conventional explosive. The only real problem with nuclear explosives is with their detonation in the atmosphere which creates airborne radioactive fallout that can be a health hazard if encountered in a sufficiently concentrated form. During WW II the Manhattan Project included a demo of a conventional TNT explosion of about 1 kiloton (if I recall correctly). The video shows that this was a cube of TNT about 50 feet on a side all of which had to be independently fused and simultaneously detonated to create an appropriate high yield effect. This is a ridiculous amount of conventional explosive to contemplate in the current situation fusing, delivering (fused) to a deep well, and arranging in an optimal configuration for the needed simultaneous detonation even to achieve this minimal 1 kiloton explosive yield. Yet nuclear weapons with yields from 1-5 kilotons are small enough and light enough that they can easily be carried in a backpack by a single individual or launched long distances from a 155 mm Howitzer. The benefit of explosively collapsing a significant length of the pipe in this fashion is in the speed with which it can be accomplished. Remember, the pipe is leaking continuously at a fairly high pressure; even relative to the pressure of the water column above it. Pushing things down the pipe to expand and block or fill the pipe must overcome this pressure from the first moment that they are inserted and the total force on the inserted item will decrease substantially as it is deployed (expanded or inflated). Detonation of a low yield nuclear weapon on the sea floor at this depth would barely be noticeable on the surface. There would be no fallout to contend with and no radiation hazard since water is fine radiation shielding. The biggest problem would be that some fish would die within a certain distance of the detonation due to the propagating shock wave in the water. Farther out fewer fish would die but more would be temporarily stunned as the intensity of the shock wave would fall off according to an inverse r-squared dependence. This same sort of shock wave dependence in the sea floor would determine how much of the pipe could be effectively collapsed by the detonation of a given yield weapon at a given distance from the pipe. That information, in turn, could be used to calculate whether the collapsed material of the pipe and surrounding sea floor would be sufficient to block the oil flow given its exit pressure.
Research Scientist, Applied Mathematics
written by , June 04, 2010
A combination of other ideas might work. In particular a controlled explosion and drilling nearby to perhaps lower the pressure.

Any or all ideas to follow through should be paid by BP.
written by Roger Riss, June 04, 2010
Instead of cutting the pipe, How about 'crimping' the pipe shut?
Understand this may be cast iron and would only split it.

A series of crimps down a length of the pipe using hydraulic pincher, similar to the 'shears'.

Bending to shut pipe might be considered but given the metal involved might not be practical, either.
written by Roger Riss, June 04, 2010
Ok really far fetch, but use the natural gas leaving the pipe to initial a welding operation. Similar to 'Tig' welding. Not sure that a flame would be that bad underwater as you could ?simply? control the oxygen sources..

You could use the welds to start closing, seal off, ... end of pipe..
Associate Professor Brown University
written by Richard Zienowicz, MD, June 04, 2010
Use a cannulated self tapping screw to obtain purchase of the end of the drill pipe. The head of the screw can be molded to fit any of the existing siphoning devices.
written by RT, PhD (NE), June 04, 2010
Apologies, I inadvertently used the word 'decrease' where I should have said 'increase' in my last post. The sentence in question should read:

Pushing things down the pipe to expand and block or fill the pipe must overcome this pressure from the first moment that they are inserted and the total force on the inserted item will increase substantially as it is deployed (expanded or inflated).
Research Scientist, Applied Mathematics
written by AcevcoResearch, June 04, 2010
A long term follow-up. Should nearby drilling is attempted and in the long term results in the
relocation of the damaged platform run by BP, ALL profits from the new platform should be put in some proportion to a public trust fund for those affected by the accident (lost jobs, ...) and the rest to a fund dedicated to deal with the environmental impact.
written by Roger Ross, June 04, 2010
Crazy Idea, but..

Put a self inflating device down the pipe and allow it to expand under pressure.

Similar to a fold up vegetable steamer that opens, kinda like a parachute.

written by Roger Ross, June 04, 2010
Put a collar over the outside of the pipe, that can slide up/down the pipe....

1) compress able steel collar extending above the pipe.
2) attach to prevent sliding (not sure how)
3) crimp pipe to close it off...
Torpedo around the leaking site
written by JC, June 04, 2010
1) Use a computer model to determine where to hit with topedos so the leaking site will be securely covered after the blast
2) send a US submarine to complete the task
9th Grade Student
written by Songshan Guo, June 04, 2010
Could you possibly take this giant container, fill it up with heavy material from landfills and then use water to fill up the other space (just make sure there isn't anything that floats in the container) and then drop it on the leak? It could be shaped in a large, flat circle, so that the chance of getting the disc on target would be greater. Then, you can add more discs on top of the original disc if the original disc needs reinforcement.
Fourth Grade student at Highland School in Cheshire
written by Kailin Guo, June 04, 2010
Maybe you could use a gigantic bubble and use a few million lead weights to put it on the pipe. You could have a pipe leading out of the bubble too,so it wouldn't explode.
A Funnel, and by the way how much pressure and what is the piping materials? Need more Info.
written by Roger Ross, June 04, 2010
Use a funnel type device to greatly expand the size of the top of the pipe, thus reducing psi. Too bad the actual pressures are unknown...

1) Taking advantage of lower pressures
a) station a plug above the smaller area of the funnel's neck with cables.
b) pull the plug into neck using cables from below the funnel's neck.
2) or Now hydraulically pull a cap down onto the large opening.
General Plan for reducing and stopping the Gulf oil flow
written by James Hulse PhD, June 04, 2010

Take a small diameter pipe and thread it deep into the casing or rock from which the oil flows. At the end of this pipe you have one or more retrograde jets. (The jets point backwards in the same direction as the oil is flowing) This retrograde direction will cause the flow of oil to pull material through the small pipe and into the main flow using the venture effect. Inject material through these jets that will combine with the oil to form adhesive materials. Having this pipe deep into the vent will allow this material more time to adhere to the surface of the casing or rock slowly building a crust inward in the vent. According to Poiseuille’s law if the radius can be reduced by 1/16th the flow will drop 50%. Over time the vent will slowly loose patency and the occlusion will stop. A second small diameter pipe could be fixed to the first pipe and it could extend a smaller distance into the vent. This pipe would be used to sample the adhesive byproducts and to measure the rate of flow through the main vent.
board certitfied general surgeon
written by Marc Neff, June 04, 2010
this should be treated like we treat bleeding in the body...a high volume flowing through a hole in a pipe, with a device described as a fogarty catheter. A balloon on the end of a small cocktail straw like catether is inserted into the blood vessel whether it be aorta or small branches in the heart, the balloon is blown up and as it is blown up, occludes the vessel stopping flow. This has been successful in surgery for years regardless of the rate of flow of blood or disease in the vessel wall. Imagine it would be relatively easy to create a large hose with a balloon on the end made of a tough fabric (like hot air or weather balloons), insert hose into the leaking pipe, blow up balloon which will assume the shape of the wall of the vessel, and stop the flow. Blow up balloon with water and can control pressure you blow it up too. Honestly, an easy solution that has been used on living people for years and I believe Fogarty is still alive to ask his opinion!
Sr. Principal Design Engineer
written by Frank Viola, June 04, 2010
Without knowing what the differential pressure is between the well pipe & the undersea location, and the properties of the pipe, I'm not sure if this is practical, but here goes. Fabricate a multiple arm umbrella-like structure, whose diameter is just slightly larger than the pipe I.D., with sharpened points, and the arms lightly spring loaded outward. Push it into the pipe a few feet, then yank it back, as asssisted by the oil flow. As the device opens, the points bite into the pipe I.D., locking the inbrella in place. This would be especially advantageous if there is a joint or flange in the pipe, that the points can get a grip on. The pressure of the oil acts to drive the points outwardly, with a high mechanical advantage, to maximize the bite and resist axial movement. The drilling mud, golf balls and other "trash" which failed earlier, would surely work with the umbrella-like structure trapping it. Rubber playground mulch, made from old auto tires, would make an excellent filler material, too. It's soft texture, and sealability would allow nearly total blockage of oil flow.,,,Frank
written by Gene Arnold, June 04, 2010
The problem is that oil is lighter than water and rises to the surface. Devise a way to make the oil heavier, such as turning it into an insoluble heavy soap (such as used for naval lubrication) with a strong alkaline substance. If enough settles on the seabed, it could plug the leak and then be mined from the surface.
written by RT, PhD (NE), June 04, 2010
There are many uncertainties in all of this. I have read many differing numbers from the various posts.

What is the exact diameter of the well pipe?
What is it constructed of?
How thick is the pipe wall?
How much pipe exists to work with above the sea floor?
What is the mechanical structure to which the piping is attached?
Are the drilling pipe and its bit still in the hole?
If so, at what depth?
What is the exact nature of the output flow?
What is the actual output pressure? temperature? etc.?

Every idea that requires additional drilling is too slow.

Every idea that requires complex, non-stock, specialty equipment be constructed is too slow.

Every idea that requires new and novel materials be produced in quantity along with the equipment to utilize them is too slow.

Every 'insertion or balloon catheter' idea that ignores the force from the outlet (pipe cross sectional area times net flow pressure) is probably unworkable especially if it requires some large specialized item(s) be constructed.

Every 'bury it in debris' idea will spread out the flow and reduce pressures locally on top of and around the mound but WILL NOT STOP the leakage and blockage of the reduced flow at any point on the mound will increase the pressure and flow over the rest of the mound.

Every 'inverted funnel, water tank, derelict ship, rubber sheet collection' idea must take into account the buoyancy of the water and of the oil/gas mixture. Some of these might work if they are kept simple but they will not stop the leak; only minimize the damage.

Every 'cover it with a weighted dome' solution that does not account for the increase in force due to an increase in the cross sectional area of the flow will likely fail as the dome lifts or the flow blows out through another path; perhaps in the sea bed itself.

Every 'collapse the pipe with an explosion' plan that does not apply sufficient force to collapse enough of the pipe sufficiently far under the sea floor so as to oppose the pressure of the flow (both through the collapsed pipe and through the sea bed material by itself) will fail as the pipe blows out again or ruptures lower down so that the leak is through the sea floor material. Conventional explosives appear inadequate in virtually every scenario.

Every plan that requires excessive or complex manipulations be performed at depth is also unlikely to succeed given the difficulties of working at depth in the ambient environment. This probably includes crimping or bending of the pipe unless stock equipment designed for the purpose already exists.
written by RT, PhD (NE), June 04, 2010
What is realistically possible?
We can dump debris on it if it gains us anything.
We can cut and weld at depth if we keep it simple.
We can perhaps turn nuts and bolts at depth assuming that the equipment for the purpose already exists.
We can cover the outlet with something if it gains us anything.
We can use a nuclear weapon to seal the well which is a tested technology even if it is a politically incorrect suggestion.

Beyond this, the capabilities of the existing technology are fairly limited.

If capping the well with the capability of future access is the goal, we need to discuss what can be done NOW with what is CURRENTLY available for use and we need to Keep It Simple Silly (KISS). Obviously blowing it all up won't work from the future access point of view even though that would be the simplest solution. The same thing applies to simply welding on a solid cap as it is held in place by something really heavy like a submarine pointed downward with engines revving (assuming such welds would be expected to hold against the pressure).

The original cap (inverted funnel) idea seems the best bet for this with modifications to prevent the outlet from icing over since it is on the site already. This is a weak solution in the long run, however, because the cap does not seal to the pipe and the flow cannot be turned off.

There should exist in the world oil drilling inventory a valve designed to fit over a pipe of the given diameter or which can be easily and quickly modified to do so with an appropriate pipe stub. Take such a valve, modified as necessary, open it fully, lower it (or the stub) over the pipe end allowing the flow to continue unimpeded, then weld or clamp the valve to the pipe as appropriate depending on the materials from which the pipe and valve are made. Finally, close the valve. This should work if the pipe is not damaged somewhere else down the hole such that the flow has an alternate escape route.

Also, as Dale C., June 04, 2010 said the end of the pipe might actually be unboltable and a replacement part with appropriate valving could be attached. Or maybe it is as simple to fix as indicated by DM, June 04, 2010 "Fix the valve to shut the pipe."

Finally, attempts to pump in sufficiently dense mud might work if the fill is done from the bottom of the hole where there is no major developed flow pressure to overcome. Presumably such drilling mud can be removed once the well head is appropriately repaired.

Beyond this it seems there are relatively few rapidly deployable options.
physician scientist
written by Andy Chambers, June 04, 2010
1. Deploy decommissioned aircraft carrier or battleship to the site. 2. fill hull with heavy material (e.g. concrete; rocks). 3. Scuttle the vessel. 4. use cables, submersibles to control the decent; keep vessle in upright orientaion. 5. The mass settles on the well; tamponades the leak by weight. Plan B: fill remote control deep sea submatine with bunker buster; detonate on ocean floor so that outer radius of blast crator buries the leak
written by none, June 05, 2010
Just drill more wells around to relieve the pressure !
written by none, June 05, 2010
just drill more wells around to relieve the pressure!
Assistant Professor of Biotechnology, Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA
written by Kevin T. Lam;pe, June 05, 2010

Use a torpedo-shaped weight heavy enough to overcome the force of the oil stream exiting the well pipe, and narrow enough to actually enter the well pipe. The weight is attached to a cable that can be extended to the desired depth from a vessel on the water surface. Above the weight should be attached one or more (in series) heavy-gauge inflatable rubber bladders connected to high-pressure air lines.
Use the submersible robot to assist guiding the weight into the well pipe. Once within the pipe opening feed addition cable to lower the deflated bladders as deep into the pipe as desired... Inflate the bladder(s).
Once bladders have been inflated, additional mass can be dropped into the well pipe to prevent the inflated bladders from being forced upward as a result of their own buoyancy plus any pressure inherent in the oil well. Alternatively, drill two holes on opposite sides of the exposed portion of the well pipe: Once the bladders have been lowered into the well pipe, pass a bar through the holes in the well pipe to prevent the bladders from being forced out of the well pipe once they are inflated.
written by hamdi, June 05, 2010
I would build a strong cylinder with a cap upside it. The cup should allow flow not preventing the installment of the cyclinder. The cyclinder should be deep enough and should have wing like structures for additional empowering the cyclinder around them (e.g. concrete blocks could be placed on these wings (even could be installed. Finally, the flow could be blocked with a structure opening from inside out.
Building of a more powerful structure at the opening is a must
in this case.
written by Fred Dirbas, June 05, 2010
Repeat the "cap" concept, this time using an inner structure that remains inside the cap as it is lowered to block crystals or other material from collecting inside. When the cap nears the leak, cut the inner structure loose allowing it to fall away. Next move the cap into position over the leak as rapidly as possible and lower it onto the leak. If possible the cap is fitted with an outlet to siphon off the oil in a controlled fashion to the surface.
PhD Student
written by Dameron Black IV, June 05, 2010
A problem with containment dome was solid hydrate crystals forming in the cold water and blocking siphonong valve. Wrap heating coils around this valve to heat and prevent hydrate crystal formation. Might need heating coils along the siphonong tube too. Would need a strong power source to generate sufficient electricity for the heat required.
Balloon Butt Plug
written by Jim Miles, June 05, 2010
The oil flow can be blocked at the bottom of the well pipe using a balloon inflated with crude oil.

Blocking crude oil inflow at the bottom of the well pipe will either stop or drastically reduce the outflow and pressure of crude oil at the top of the pipe, allowing a top kill.

Push a deflated balloon mounted with a submersible pump on the end of a stiff metal cable into the oil well shaft, like a string into a straw. Continue until the cable end protrudes far into the reserve of crude oil beneath the sea bed, past the turbulence of the oil inflow.

Activate the pump to inflate the balloon with crude oil.

Pull the balloon into position at the bottom of the well pipe.
lead (Pb) stoppers
written by anonymous, June 05, 2010
Is it possible to shoot a single or series of large lead pointed bullet-shaped projectiles, with radii slightly smaller than the pipe radius, directly into the pipe? Perhaps the speed of the projectile(s) could be optimally chosen so that friction could melt the lead surface of the bullets (similar to stir welding) and deform the lead plug so that it fits tightly into the pipe.
Research Scientist
written by Weimin Gao, June 05, 2010
Instead of blocking or capping the oil blowout, I prefer to deliver it to the surface of ocean using a pipe made by mesh fabric or plastic, etc. Send a robot to the sea floor to cap the oil blowout using one end of the pipe. Then the oil blowout will balloon in the pipe and push the other end of pipe reach the ocean surface due to the buoyancy of oil. Then the blowout problem is confined and under control and the oil should be recovered on the surface of ocean from the pipe.
Balloon Butt Plug - Revised and Improved Description
written by Jim Miles, June 05, 2010
The oil flow can be blocked at the bottom of the well pipe using a balloon inflated with crude oil. Blocking crude oil inflow at the bottom of the well pipe will either stop or drastically reduce the outflow and pressure of crude oil at the top of the pipe, allowing a top kill.

Push a deflated balloon on a submersible pump mounted on the end of a stiff metal cable into the oil well shaft, like a wire into a straw. Continue until the cable end protrudes far into the reserve of crude oil beneath the sea bed, past the turbulence of the oil inflow.
Activate the pump to inflate the balloon with crude oil.
Pull the balloon into position at the bottom of the well pipe, where it will be sucked against the intake opening.

Crude oil, in situ under the sea bed, to inflate the balloon.

A balloon of sufficient diameter made of toughed material, to block the pipe.
A stiff cable, carrying electric signals and power, to insert into the well and control the pump.
A submersible electric pump, designed to fill the balloon with the crude oil surrounding it.

Jim Miles
[email protected]
Two suggestions - one for cap and one for helping recovery
written by Keith Cheng, June 05, 2010
1) The cap should be designed in such a way that the greater the pressure on it, the tighter it grabs the pipe.

2) We have an NIH-funded viewing tool for extremely high resolution images that has a comparison and remote labeling tool being developed that will allow direct comparisons of same area for changes over time or viewing modes (visible vs UV vs infrared), and for targeting and planning activities. For an illustration of how it works for high resolution histological images, see www.zfatlas.psu.edu. We would just need a small team of programmers for a week or two, server storage space, and a contribution to maintenance of the site, to allow this tool to be used.
Chemical Engineer (retired)
written by David Pensak, June 05, 2010
The oil spewing from this well is particularly high in paraffin. BP is the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas in the world. LNG is shipped at -260F. If you pumped LNG down a closed loop pipe which descended down the middle of the well, the paraffin would freeze first and then the oil. I know this works because I built a prototype and tested it. Extrapolating from my experimental results, the "cold finger" would have to be about 200 feet long to freeze everything solid against the observed flow rate.

[email protected]
written by Parker Shipton, June 06, 2010
Try using giant balloons that could be filled with oil
at the ocean floor, and float up to the surface. (And from there, maybe tied or corralled together and stored until their contents can be siphoned onto ships, or until they can be towed to another rig.) Balloons might be made of rubber, rubberized canvas, or other material. Balloons could even be re-used.
Toilet Brush Method to stop the oil spill
written by Andrzej W Przybyszewski PhD UMass Medical Center, MA, US Michael Maszkiewicz PhD Canadian Space Agency, QC, Canada , June 06, 2010
In order to block the oil running from the existing pipe we propose to use the Toilet Brush Method (TB Method). The TB Method is based on the toilet brush principle but small tubes or metal bars replace toilet brush hard bristles. These tubes are connected to the main road or tube (toilet brush handle – TB handle) with springs which open “bristles” in one direction.
We propose to place our TB in a pipe with hole on the side (PipeH). Holes will be near the pipe’s end on the length with must be shorter than the length of the existing pipe placed in the rock. The outer diameter (OD) of our pipe must be smaller than inner diameter (ID) of the existing pipe. We will place (attach to) our TB in PipeH and use a standard method connecting many short pipes together in order to place our PipeH with TB in the existing pipe so that ends of both pipes will be in the same depth. In the next step we will push TB that its first bristles will pass pipes’ ends and spread outside blocking TB up movement. Other bristles should also spread through our PipeH holes touching the wall of the existing pipe. As effect of this stage we will get an anchor that can be also used for other purposes. In the next step we should inject a plastic or other glue through our TB handle and bristles. It should seal both pipes together.
written by Davar M. Boghaei, June 06, 2010
If possible from technical point of view, starting in a distance about 60m from main oil well, excavate a hole of sufficient length and width to accommodate the new oil/gas pipes with a 45 degree angle running toward the well’s sidelines "Being at a 45 degree angle to the main oil well". Then, install the oil pipe with a 45-degree angle edge toward oil well.
After connecting enough length of pipes the oil can be diverted to the required place from its present vertical (spill) position and then try to cap it with a containment valve.
Assistant Professor
written by Pamela Voulalas, June 06, 2010
Scooping up tarballs may be easier than trying to suck up oil from the water. Is there some way to promote the formation of these tarballs to facilitate collection of the oil?
Environmental & Pollution Consultant
written by Dr.Dennis Evers, June 06, 2010
I have 40 years experience in dealing with such problems. Not the cessation of the discharge from the well - but dealing with the aftermath. I am an applied microbiologist and over the years in practical applications, we have developed a range of micro-organisms that will digest oil, grease and tars in saline conditions (over 5% salinity)and have done so in practical sitiuations, and the result has been a disappearance of the oil - with the residual bacterial biomass at about 15% of the volume of the original oil, being over 60% protein that settles readily in the sea, and is eminently suitable for fish feed.The cost is not in the cultures, but in their application, but the overall cost is minimal compared to the cost to the environment and loss of jobs etc. Main problem is that the powers that be, cannot believe that a process so simple and inexpensive can be so effective. It's amazing what those biocultures can do, and yet they're invisible to the naked eye, and the overall exercise is very environmentally friendly, and "green"
Management Professor
written by Larry Chasteen, PhD, June 06, 2010
I don't have any suggestions on how to fix the current spill because I think the BP engineers probably have the best information and background to fix this.

However, I do have a comment on future drilling. I think there should be a method for rig workers to stop any unsafe action they think is occurring - similar to the ability of Toyota workers to stop their assembly line. In the current accident, many rig workers felt that they were being pressured by management to rush to complete the job, but there was not a method for them to report this problem up the BP management chain or to government oversight folks.

Hopefully by using best practices from other industries, the oil industry could improve its performance.
BSME, experienced oil leak stopper
written by [email protected], June 06, 2010
If there is an intact flange pair, which I believe I saw on the video, the leak may be stopped using a technique called "rolling a valve". 1. purchase a full port valve with the correct flange pattern and pressure rating. 2. remove "top cap". 3. remove the top flange of the pair and damaged pipe. 4. Place the valve next to the exposed bottom flange of the pair (valve in the open position). 5. Move the valve closer to the flange that is gushing oil until only one bolt hole is lined up and install one bolt loosely. At this point the valve is not lined up with the flow but beside it. 6. (valve in the open position) pivot the valve around the one loosely installed bolt until it lines up with the flange and install a second bolt loosely. Oil will now be gushing through the open valve. 7. Install the gasket. 8. install remaining bolts and tighten 9. close the valve. 10. install a blind flange on top of the valve 11. done, leak stopped.
I've used this procedure on dry land and it works. 5000 feet beneath the gulf using robots will really be a challenge.
Senior Professor, DeVry University
written by Donald Ingram, June 07, 2010
First, please publish the present configuration of the equipment and material at the well head. Try to approximate the size and location of every object.
Publish the thinking and efforts of those engineers whose ideas have been tried.
Arrange the ideas of submitters in categories, such as NON ENGINEERING, NON-STOPPING, CAPPING, FUNNELING, EXPLODING, FREEZING, etc, so we can ignore those whose ideas we do not respect.

I think those closest to the job probably have the best ideas, and I am also glad to have an open forum.

Until they cap the leak, I suggest a truly giant circular or oval oil barrier surrounding the center of surfacing of the leaking oil. This barrier might have be 10 miles in diameter and downstream from the hole. Separate the oil and ship it out of the oval.
Seal and Relief
written by [email protected], June 07, 2010
Set of fork truck forks whole piece set upright spaced ½” wider than leaking pipe under hub. Steel plate cut circle ½” bigger than pipe, make two cuts to make it look “U” shape weld to top of forks backside. Front half of fork weld hinge to flip over steel bar that locks behind hub. On fork sides weld steel rods that centers inside of leaking pipe acts as pivot.

Two square bars of steel with hole drilled near end to slip over pivot rods other end of bars weld steel plate spacer with a hole drilled to allow a outside threaded hollow pipe to slide freely. End of threaded pipe weld steel funnel forcing oil into pipe. Gasket shaped like the back of funnel. Large washer with a welded to hollow pipe spacer with two nuts. Slide part onto threaded pipe. Slide finish assembly into hole in steel plate spacer. Screw on shut-off valve in open position.

Back of fork uprights air tank to run pneumatic wrenches. Pivot unit over leak, turn on air to turn nut that pushes threaded pipe that has funnel into leaking pipe till bottoms out against shut-off valve. Turn on second air to tighten nut to push gasket to funnel for a tight seal.

Turn off shut off valve.
Environmental Engineering Consultant
written by Dr. Michael Rodgers, Galway, Ireland, June 07, 2010
It is possible to take up surface oil by using rotating disc contactors (RDCs). These consist of large vertical discs attached to a motorised horizontal shaft. During disc submergence in the polluted sea water, oil will attach to the discs and can be wiped off the discs on emergence and directed through a sump to tanks in an oil tanker for storage and recovery. The RDCs colud be readily attached to the stern of a tanker or towed behind a tanker.
Custom Streamlined Dome/suction inlet to prevent blockage/freezing (Originally Submitted through Horizon Alternative Solution website on 5/14/2010
written by Dr. Sumon K. Sinha, P.E., June 07, 2010
A STREAMLINED INTAKE is proposed for sucking out the mixture of oil and gas from the ocean floor without encountering total flow blockage due to hydrate formation. Blockage is prevented by a proprietary alteration the enclosure geometry (different from a simple boxy shape) and the position of the exit tube with respect to the enclosure. A second line of defense will be flow control. This will be a combination of passive devices and or devices requiring supply of compressed air or other fluid. The control fluid may also be heated.

The size of the enclosure will depend on the size of the leak. The exit tube and control flows if needed will be scaled accordingly. The same concepts can be employed to devise an intake tube designed to be inserted into the leakage hole.

I am a Ph.D./P.E. in Mechanical Engineering specializing in fluid/thermal sciences with 25+ years in applying flow control to practical situations. Multiple patents. My company Sinhatech and I will perform the design and guide fabrication/installation.

We need assistance in fabrication (metal cutting/welding/machining) as per our instructions near the jobsite. We also need assistance in lowering/installing our device .

BP-Horizon's Response (5/19/2010)

Dear Sumon Sinha,
Thank you so much for taking the time to think about and submit your proposed solution regarding the Horizon incident. Your submission has been reviewed for its technical merits. A similar approach has already been considered or planned for possible implementation. All of us on the Horizon Support Team appreciate your thoughts and efforts.

Sincerely yours,
Horizon Support Team
[email protected]

My Question: Whay has this or a similar common sense approach not yet been attemped? The "Top Hat" which failed was not at all streamlined in any way- A recipe for failure.
written by GESPACH Christian., June 07, 2010
The major problem is to adapt a system to decrease the current oil and gas pressure. This can be resolved by adapting an articulated tube to progressively reach an "S" profile. Then, when the pressure will be compatible with oil transfert at the surface, to regulate the oil flow for filling tankers or platform.
written by Fredrick Honig, June 07, 2010
a Submarine should be about to continue to hold cap down or work on the problem even during hurricane season.

Create a sub, that can go down one mile and deal with any problems that might arise.

The final solution for this problem is generating electricity with Fusion Reactors and then have electric vehicles and winding down our use of oil
R&D; Engineer
written by Mark Emamian, June 07, 2010
1- Drill four equally spaced, 1 inch diameter holes near the top of the pipe.
2- From outside the pipe, run four (one on each hole) hoist metal cables through these holes.
3- connect one end of each cable to a cap (a thick, round, rubber padded Disk) and the other end of each cable to a pulling device (ship, submarine...) and pull cables in opposite directions until the disk seals the pipe.
During the process of pulling, devices need to pull with equal force (not a very easy task)
Good luck to BP and his CEO, Mr. Tony Hayward
concerned citizen
written by Megann, June 07, 2010
I'm wondering if there is a way to have it form it's own plug by putting a large mesh system above it that would fill and clog like any overloaded filter.
Professor of Anatomy, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA
written by Henry E. Young, PhD, June 07, 2010
Stop using dispersants. Vacuum the oil on surface of water into container ships. As oil floats on top of water, pump water out from underneath. For pipe, place large empty bladder bag around outflow pipe to contain oil. Purse-string close bladder bag opening around pipe opening. Pump oil of out of bladder bag into container ship.
concerned citizen
written by Eileen Kemether, June 07, 2010
similar to how the sand is dredged from the ocean floor to create islands with large bore pipes that have water and sand, if a large circumference aquatic-friendly material that will be strong enough to go down 1/2 mile like a large tent and encase a wide enough circumference of water/oil that has come up from the depths, there could be 4 to 6 large bore pipes running through the top surface of the material that will take up the oil and water into super tankers that can drain off the water and collect the oil until the actual problem one mile down is fixes
written by Spike (William Bailey), June 07, 2010
Concept: Clog Breach
Method: Tak a couple hot air balloons, and then put one inside other. Steel cable (cut to fit pipe) 'hat' net encapsulated balloon and anchors balloon to an air-injector pipe inside the balloon... Now a 'plug'
Air hose affixed back of injector sticking out of bottom of 'plug'. Pipe inside 'plug' has holes along the length allows air to fill from sidesTip. (Baffles inject more symmetrically then nozzle).
Deflate loosely furl 'plug' around injector. Place inside 'penetration tube' (2 halves of a container shaped like a Torpedo. Plastic break away latches secure 'payload' in penetration tube.
Insert at well breach, deploying it to the proper depth, then inject air into 'plug'. As the 'plug' inflates it presses and pops the latches. 'plug' should have sufficient mass to displace oil in well. Inflates side to sideup-down well, filling well to walls 360 degrees-injects mudgravel behind 'plug' to proper metric tonnage to prevent oil pressure from ejecting 'plug'.
Result: Uncontrolled discharge is terminated.
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University
written by Charles Crane, June 07, 2010
Future spills could be contained by a flexibly skirted pontoon bridge, assembled from sections maintained at Coast Guard bases, and anchored or continuously tugged to maintain position. The sections could link like railway cars, with an accordionlike liner like an articulated bus to surround the area where the oil is reaching the surface. A one mile bridge could surround a 160-acre pen, where the contained oil could be burned or siphoned into tankers. More or fewer sections would scale the pen to the size of the spill. The skirt would need to be deep enough (10-15m) to contain a large volume of oil, and the bridge wide enough to prevent overwash in normal seas and fireproof enough not to sink if the oil burns. The bridge would not need to be driveably rigid to contain the spill and buy time for more permanent repairs
written by Jerry Corsaut, June 07, 2010
Deploy a deep aquaculture style boom within a 10 mile radius around the oil well. Booms can be made with PVC pipe (floating cage structure) as the float and long sheets of Visqueen plastic sheeting (aquaculture Greenhouse covers) weighted down with chains. Stop injecting dispersants so the oil is more likely to reach the surface sooner and then collect the oil at the surface within this confined area instead of waiting until it gets to shore. It won’t catch it all, but it would be better than the current scenario.
Reserach Scientist
written by Seigo Usuki, June 07, 2010
My idea is biodiesel production in the field with oil spill.
Spilled oil-polluted materials should be used for the recycling materials.
Biodiesel is made up of vegetable oil. If some suitable vegetables for polluted field are found, this field will be cultivated to harvest for the production of biodiesel.
Fish oil is another material for biodiesel using oil-affected fishes.
Human Hair
written by DeJesus, Florida, June 07, 2010
I recall a few years ago someone doing some research on how "human hair" could be use to absorb and attract this type of oil due polarization in the same way that mammals and feathers get soaked with it. I believe someone was trying to patent that concept into something useful for a future spill like this one. It consisted of a large hair net with hair made from collected hair for baber shops. Was that ever followed up?
Electrolysis of Water used for Hydraulic Hammer
written by Ronald Logsdon, June 07, 2010
Simple conducting rings are placed around the well head. A DC potential is placed between the rings and current flows through the water breaking it down to hydrogen and oxygen. Stop the flow of current and the 2500 psi of water pressure should flow in the area the gas is in. This should act like a Jack Hammer and close the well like the explosive methods by collapsing the rock, but safer. Multiple rings and square wave AC potential can be used as well.
Professor - Purdue College of Technology
written by Henry Kraebber, June 08, 2010
First - contain the plume... Build and sink a containment shell around the leak opening. It could be concrete, or steel... perhaps made from something that is already available. I picture a silo, but much taller. The first mission would be to contain and direct the plume to a shallower depth where the pressure is nearly equalized. Perhaps this is 2000 ft above the floor... maybe more.

Then drop a bell cap with a pipr or fabric sleve from the surface over the submerged silo to direct the plume to a workable depth where it can be pumped into a separator that extracts the oil and returns the water to the Gulf. Natural gas may be captured, but much of it may need to be diverted for burn-off.

It may be possible to start to fill in the silo creating a column of mud and material that has enough weight to stuff the leak. It may be a follow on to the secondary wells being drilled now to remove pressure.

Relatively simple solution
written by Paul Martin, June 08, 2010
There exists a machine meant for cutting large diameter tubed that consists of a ring that clamps onto the pipe and applies a cutting tool as it spins around the pipe, slicing off a thin strip until the pipe is cut through. I would use one modified with a wider cutting tool to clean the surface of the pipe, then thread the outside of it. Next lower a pipe down to it with a union on the end so that it can be screwed onto the new threads and pump out the water/oil mix to keep the pressure down until it's firmly attached, then let the pressure do the work.
Associate Professor
written by Christos Georgiades, June 08, 2010
Insert a number of thin parallel metallic tubes (like the one initially used unsuccessfully to siphon oil off), connected to argon gas tanks. Circulate the argon gas which will cause a large ice ball to form around each tube. As the ice balls coalesce and expand inside the pipeline they will block the it.
Method used every day to form ice balls in patients to treat cancer.
Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati
written by Brett Harnett, June 08, 2010
All the video show the oil floats up. Of course, it is oil in water. Instead of trying to screw on a mantle, construct a large rubber device with a receptacle end (okay, a condom) and a hole for a tube – then suck it up. The base of the [condum] does not have to be snug because of sentence one. It just needs to stay connected. Based on the cluster of metal down there, that should not be difficult.
Assistant Professor
written by Vasanth Kumar, MD, June 08, 2010
BP knows the diameter of the BOP pipe where exactly the the oil is leaking. BP engineers should manufacture a strong steel pipe to fit exactly on the inside of the BOP pipe of its entire length and make it expand it a bit so it fits in nicely. By doing this they will decrease the oil leak by 25% as the circumference is inversely proportional to the 4th power of the radius.
Then they insert a smaller pipe (of smaller diameter) to fit exactly into the pipe above and continue this process with 3-5 pipes of consecutive smaller diameter until the oil is leaking as a small jet, which can be pluged by a full circumference steel rod rammed from above by a robot. All of this can be done with the help of the company who manufacture the BOP. This needs co-ordination of BP engineers and the company that manufactures the BOP.

I think this also needs engineers / committee set up by the white house to oversee BP who are working alone without any outside help; every day lost is destroying the most precious natural habitat in the gulf. Please no more oil dispersant chemicals.
possible blowout containment solution
written by paul t. taylor, June 08, 2010
do not try to contain the pressure for now. just allow it to escape and expand naturally, and then gently guide it to the surface. you could use a high altitude science balloon for now. it can expand to enourmous size and would be long enough to guide the oil to the surface using the expanding gases natural rise. when time permits you could use underground water pipes, of whatever diameter needed to simply guide the oil to the surface. 5000 ft. ='s 50 100 ft. sections. wide at the bottom enough to allow the gas, oil and seawater to rise due the natural siphoning action of the rising gas. each section could be made nuetrally bouyant by placing a collar near the upper end and using 4 air ballons, one to each side, to easily control the weight. each section would be self supporting, and could be easily guided over the end of the previuos one, by surface crane and remote vehicles. the idea is to allow the gas and oil vapor to be centralized at one location for retrieval, and to not try and contain the pressure, but allow it to flow, and surface naturally, while at the same time containing it. also, in the event of a storm, underwater structures are not as effected as objects on the surface and can be easily attended by subs till the surface calms. these pvc pipes should be strong and readily available in many sizes.
good luck.
house wife
written by Tammy R. , June 08, 2010
Is it possible to drill a hole into the side of the pipe (above where the leak is) and suction the oil out- while at the same time applying the liquid nitro on the end to slow down the leak, then cap it?
written by Anthonie Muller, June 09, 2010
In 2006 I published together with Dirk Schulze-Makuch from Washington State University, ‘Sorption Heat Engines.’ Physica A, vol 362, pp 369-381. It contains a model for the emergence of oil. The big picture:
Volcano throws out ash -> weathered ash turns during into smectic clay -> the smectic clay adsorbs organics -> clay precipitates on ocean floor -> ocean floor is subducted while carried along by convection current in the Earth’s crust -> smectic clay reaches large depths and turns into illite clay -> the adsorbate desorbs and turns into oil (which separates) -> at larger depth the illite clay turns into magma -> the magma is thrown out by a volcano.
The key point: smectic clay adsorbs oil, which is already widely applied for removing odorous sulfur compounds.
Use the clay carried by the nearby Mississippi, ‘the big Muddy’. Mixing the fresh water of the Mississipi with contaminated salt water may require some channeling, but it seems a simple and quickly feasible solution. The oil rig seems to lie straight in the path of the Mississipi. Much of the leaked oil seems to have vanished. Maybe the process is already working!
Anthonie W.J. Muller, SILS, University of Amsterdam
R&D; Director
written by MLA, June 09, 2010
I think its time to use explosives. Two simultaneous explosions,about the size of 50 ton bombs, one on either side of the leaking pipe. This should collapse the remaining pipe that is in the bottom of the ocean floor and create a pretty substantial crater. If there is still residual leaking the crater can be back filled with concrete, clay, rock or anything with substantial weight to act as a cap.
Solving Gulf Coast Oil problem...This should really work, please check out...
written by Aron, June 11, 2010
Solving Gulf Coast Oil problem...This should really work, please check out the website:



Construction Worker
written by Sherry W., June 11, 2010
Hay, its cheap and its plentiful and it absorbs more tahn 10 times its bodyweight. Line the shores with tethered together bales and let them go to work. They can be removed,disposed of via an incenerator moved to sites. That helps the shoreline. Ive got ideas for the containment of the plume rising as well as capture,removal and recycle. email me. [email protected]
project Engineer
written by Steve Daniel, June 12, 2010
I would think that it would be possible to use the bottom side of the existing bolted flange as a reaction surface to hydraulically force a cone shaped object into the open pipe. It may not completely seal the opening, but could reduce the flow by a magnitude.
Seems BP could do this in a day or two?
written by Mitch Graves, June 13, 2010
Sorry Mr. Daniel, had not read any posts till I did mine...
written by Mitch Graves, June 13, 2010

I had not read any posts till I did mine...
Posted it , looked up and ...well I figured
something similar had occurred to someone...
just not BP I guess.
structural engineer
written by Ed Wasilowski, June 13, 2010
Lower a pipe, similar to the top hat except with a huge swage at bottom. This expanded portion would be 2-3 times in diameter and length of the remaining BOP pipe. Inside this swage pipe would have two half pipes that can be clamped around the BOP pipe. The clamping can be done be using bolts or hydraulics. This will seal the oil into the main pipe and force it to the surface.
structural engineer
written by Ed Wasilowski, June 13, 2010
Take a thick wall sleeve (1/2 to 1 inch) that is slightly smaller in diameter to the bop pipe diameter. slide this into the BOP pipe and weld it. Repeat the process again with even a smaller pipe. Keep repeating until the pipe has been choked off enough to be plug
written by Adam, June 13, 2010
The obvious solution is not technical, but monetary. Have the Federal government collect $100 million/day retroactively since the leak began, and decreasing as BP slows and then stops the leak. The $3B/month is comparable to the damage, and just slightly above BP's profit ($10.5B in 2Q), so it is fitting, and they can pay.

Then the Federal government uses this money to pay for Coast Guard and other Federal, state and local cleanup efforts. It also disburses compensation payments, eliminating BP's slow and ineffective process.

The biggest thing this does is it lights a fire under BP's ass to try to actually *stop* the oil flow and not merely collect as much as they can for sale, which is all they've been trying to do since the rig exploded.
Just a person that cares
written by Juan carlos Osorio vasquez, June 14, 2010
Try Pluging the pipe with "magnets" fill the inside of the pipe starting deep inside with small round magnets start deep and keep filling the pipe all the way to the top until the flow of oil stops, every second counts
Good luck!
Juan carlos osorio
416 916 0481
201 3575715
written by Rajan Kumar, June 14, 2010
Airbags!!! Use inflatable airbags to plug the well. Obtain airbags that inflate and stay inlflated. Take a long rod and weld/attach a large number of airbags to it, running wires to each airbag to set it off. Slowly introduce the rod into the well using ROVs. After a sufficient length of rod has been introduced into the well, secure the rod to seabed using an assembly able to withstand the pressure of the oil coming out of the well. Once this is in place, set off the explosives in the airbags to stop the flow. Then quickly cement the well to permenantly stop the flow. The number of airbags and length of the rod will depend on the pressure and smoothness of the wall, both of which I do not know. If the well wall is rough or has obstructions in it, so much the better.
I care
written by Juan carlos Osorio vasquez, June 14, 2010
Use magnets, lets be creative the magnets will stick to the inner wall of the pipe by attaching to one another, just fill the pipe with magnets of various shapes to block the flow of oil.

email : [email protected]
written by Tom S, June 16, 2010
Air bags sounded like a good idea. They work pretty well in industry. Spreading tube panels on boiler walls.

Thirty five years ago, when I was in the Navy we used to do what was called a Freeze-seal in submarine reactors. Liquid nitrogen was used to freeze live systems to cut out the section to be replaced. Once frozen they should be able to cap it, etc.
written by P. LeBlanc, June 16, 2010
There should not be an effort to cap or plug the oil, instead focus should shift to capture and refinement.
A large flexible plastic insert should be joined to the leaking pipe and the flow not stopped but redirected to the surface to be collected. Over time the pressure will lesson as the oil flow is collected, at that point 'capping' or plugging could be considered.
Redirecting the flow not stopping it should be the goal.
Fabric Sleeve Containment
written by Wendy Dunham, June 17, 2010
Circumscribing the current pipe, lower a larger diameter weighted ring that is attached to a mile-long fabric or synthetic sleeve. Use ROVs to guide this down to the ocean floor. This provides a larger diameter containment that is perhaps many feet or yards wide. At the ocean surface, use a crane to raise the top side ring out of the water, thus creating a shallow fabric or membrane-lined pool, not unlike a backyard swimming pool. If desired, reinforce the portion above the ocean with a plastic insert that forms a stiff tub. From the ships, lower one or more flexible hoses or pipes into this surface tub now filling with oil and pump away! In the future, always require a second outer sleeve like this as a backup, should a leak occur. Indeed, outer containment vessels are required for nuclear reactors – likewise, an outer sleeve should be required for future deep water drilling pipes.
written by MIKE RILEY, June 17, 2010
An idea to stop the oil.
written by Marcos D. Velez, June 20, 2010
June 20 of 2010, by Marcos D. Velez
dear B.P. I know that this is not the best idea of the world
but think about what am going to say.
build a huge block of cement that can weight thousands of pounds
and cut it from below close to the sand and place it on top.
Another thing that i have is that if you make like an umbrella
thing that can hold the pressure for at least more than two hours.
and stick it in to the pipe and with air pressure push it down the
pipe till it reaches bottom. and once it reaches stop air and
the umbrella thing will open and block at least some of the
pressure. and thats when you put the mud with
the cement.. and when it breaks the cement will be blocking the
pipe and will be dry by then......... hope you can try this..
Textile sock/Hose
written by z.B. Designers Germany, June 22, 2010
Cheap solution: A large diameter textile sock which has a rigid ring sewn into the base - unaffected by low temperatures - and perhaps at intervals to keep its form - the diameter could cover the whole rig area so exact positioning would not be necessary in 1.5km depth. The leaking oil would then find its way to the surface within the as long as necessary sock. At the surface the oil could be pumped out, filtered and shipped away.
Retired Tech
written by Walter Galbraith, June 22, 2010
I put this on before but no answer.
Weld a bolt on the flange of a valve then add weight to overcome the pressure.
Install the bolt into existing flange after removing the flange thats there, then install the bolt and put a nut on it.
Do not tighten the nut so tight that you cannot swivel the open valve.
Swivel the open valve around and install a bolt 180 degrees and snug it down and finish installing the other bolts.
Then close the valve and finish up with piping so that you can allow oil to be pumped into a tanker and sell the oil.

Disabled Maintenance Technician
written by Mike14411, June 22, 2010
I would suggest that they use a air hammer and hammer the pipe shut using two robots to pinch the pipe off.. To me this is the most logical way at this point. Always Remember K.I.S.S. ( Keep it Simple Stupid ! )
bp solution
written by sebastian m., June 22, 2010
Dear BP,
I think that to solve the gulf oil spill, you should create a pipe with a wider diameter than the original and place it around the pipe, so that any excess oil will flow through the second pipe to reach the destinations.
done and done
written by j b smith, June 22, 2010
find a huge old oil tanker, weld all the forward and aft
closed and leave center open. sink the ship (controlled)
right over the
leak and remove the gushing oil from the bottom since the
ship will flip upside down over the hole.
done and done!
Think Tank Participant
written by Ted Michael Collier, June 22, 2010
drill 3 holes equidistant about the well to say 750 to 1000 feet. Load with charge and detonate to fracture the substrate and occlude the well crushing the stem in the weight or load an additional charge in the well to disintegrate the stem.
written by Gary Montague, June 22, 2010
I would construct a square steel box with 3 inch thick plate. the top and bottom would be open. On each top corner i would weld 6 inch diameter threaded rods simular to what they have in stamping presses. It would be twenty feet taller than the rig. Once it was placed over the well head, concrete would be poured to within a few feet of the top. When it is cured, place a one foot thick cap on the top with a slide gate in the center. Secure this with 6 inch nuts. fill the remaining area with cement until it is rising from the top. Then activate the slide gate until it seals the well.
coco coir and peat are good oil absorbent
written by Rhoniel E. Narca, nnarca.botikanatural @yahoo.com, June 23, 2010

Being a good absorbent and resistant to sea water, dry coco coir and peat can be used as an oil absorbent thus can be used on the sea shores affected to mitigate environmental damage in a particular area.
written by mike hoffman, June 23, 2010
Shove a "donkey dick" or 2 in there and inflate to an extremely high pressure. Then they should be able to cap it.
GIANT STEEL FUNNEL with cables & winches
written by Swartie, June 23, 2010
Anchor pulleys to the sea floor around the oil spill, and use them to winch a giant inverted funnel over the leak. Pump into tankers.
written by Avtar Pabley, June 28, 2010
I like to submit my suggestion/solution. I have few patents in the oil industry. One of the patent can help solve the BP's problem and may kill the well, thus control the oil leak. Please let know how to submit my proposal confidentially?
Can do anything
written by Mike Bales, June 30, 2010
First you must surround it; maybe coragated storm pipe from bottom of sea floor to just above the well pipe leak. then start dropping cement. or double line pipe from sea floor and run a suction line to pump oil from the inner pipe while filling up the outer layer with concrete. you need three ships to drop an anchour each with a pully system to guide your pipe to the bottom. useing a mutiple crane system to drop pipe from over head. You could almost recap your well for oil extraction if you make your outer pipe a platform.

more details if needed
Instead of trying to plug the leak.
written by Jerry, July 02, 2010
Drill a by-pass adjacent to the current outlet way. They were able to drill the first hole, drill adjacent to it and tap in before it gets to the damaged pipe line.

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