Ohmsett - The National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility plays a critical role in developing the most effective response technologies, as well as training first responders with the most realistic training available, enabling a rapid and efficient response to an actual spill. The facility, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE; formerly the MMS), provides a crucial intermediate step between small-scale bench testing and open water testing of equipment by allowing testing of full scale equipment in a controlled environment. Information gathered at Ohmsett plays an essential role in the development of new technology and in the creation of more effective procedures for responding to future oil spills.
Recent programs for innovative spill recovery technologies and training include: Sunken Oil Detection, Calm Sea Dispersant Application and Washout, Remote Oil Spill Sensing, Oil Herders in Pack Ice, Dispersant Effectiveness with Low Doses and Repeated Application, Skimmer Nameplate Capacity Testing, Submersible Pump Test, Oil Herders to Improve Offshore Dispersant Operations, Validating Lab-Scale Dispersant Effectiveness, U.S. Coast Guard Oil Spill Response Training, U.S. Coast Guard SMART Protocol Training, EPA Response Training, Dispersant Training Course, and Fast Water Spill Response Training.
To further aid research and development projects, Ohmsett’s Wave Generator was recently upgraded to allow the wave generating flaps to continuously change frequency and amplitude. The wave flaps follow computer generated outputs to generate wave spectra such as Pierson-Moskowitz, JONSWAP, and FM slide, creating waves that more closely simulate ocean waves. Reflected waves are attenuated via a set of “beaches” at the end of the tank opposite the wave flaps. Recent testing of innovative marine hydrokinetic renewable energy technologies include: two marine current to energy conversion devices (hydraulic generators); a Point Source Wave Energy Conversion device (electrical generator); and a proof of concept device that will capture energy via an Oscillating Water Column (OWC).
Ohmsett’s value as a R&D and training platform is confirmed by the number of researchers and trainers who return to Ohmsett for continued testing and training. While much of the data collected is proprietary, this paper will summarize and discuss the methodology used during recent testing, training and research conducted at Ohmsett.