Floating Fence Skims Oil Spills from Lake and River Water

A floating fence being tested and refined at SAIT Polytechnic offers new potential for making a difference in oil spill clean-up.

The XBOOM hydrocarbon containment technology was developed by Canadian Floating Fence Corporation with testing, validation and design refinement done in cooperation with researchers in SAIT Polytechnic’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department.

The upright floating fence has a unique design that allows water to flow through it while enabling the effective containment, collection and redirection of spilled oil or debris in preparation for skimming and clean up. A working prototype of the XBOOM is being used in live spill testing as the next phase of its development process.

Mark Neal, president of Canadian Floating Fence Corporation, says the initial concept for XBOOM came from his father in the 1970s. While traditional booms typically fail to contain hydrocarbons effectively in water at more than 0.7 knots, the XBOOM contains spills at an estimated 2.0 knots. While current booms are large, bulky and time consuming to deploy, a single person can deploy a 50-metre XBOOM roll in under a minute. Furthermore, in SAIT Polytechnic’s small-scale prototype trials, the XBOOM was capable of containing 99.6 per cent of crude oil in still water and 94 per cent in water moving under one knot.

Industry: Environmental

About SAIT

SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) is a leader in action-based learning, delivering relevant, skill-oriented education. We offer two baccalaureate degrees, three applied degrees, 73... Learn more