Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF THE E-MOP?
Answer: Several ideas and events lead up to this. However, the fundamental thing that we noticed was that the booms which trap, and control oil spills are passive devices. We felt that they could be made active by using electromagnetic forces.
WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN DONE BEFORE? IT SEEMS OBVIOUS.
Answer: The idea of magnetizing fluids has been around for decades. What we are doing is designing a system that takes advantage of the physics (Magneto-fluid dynamics etc.) associated with magnetized oil and water to build an “electromagnetic boom and separator”. We don’t know why it has not been done before but we have not seen such a device anywhere, so we are providing it.
WHAT PROBLEM DOES THE E-MOP SOLVE?
Answer: We think there are several applications, but fundamentally it provides a relatively environmentally benign method to separate oil from water and other surfaces down to the micron scale.
IS THE E-MOP REALLY SAFE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
Answer: We use micron size magnetite in our applications and we recover and reuse it with high efficiency (~ 98%). Magnetite is natural to the environment and it’s stable. It can be found in igneous and metamorphic rocks and is prevalent in beach sands.
BUT HOW DO YOU SPREAD THE MAGNETITE PARTICLES?
Answer: We get this question quite often but it's not the most technically challenging issue we had to solve. We can certainly use the same methods that are used to disperse chemicals in oil spills. However, low velocity spreader nozzles and specially designed seeders are a part of the system design. The ratio of particles to oil is very low and the distribution is not required to be uniform. We can also inject the particle at the source of a leak depending on the situation. Each situation will essentially dictate the methods, but we don’t view this as a difficult engineering challenge. Our point of view was simple, since the ratio of particles to oil is low and the distribution does not need to be ordered in any way, then we can employ standard methods to seed the oil.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM A FERROFLUID?
Answer: The particle used in ferrofluids are nano-sized particles and are held in solution by so called “Brownian Forces” (atomic forces). We use micron-sized particles and they are held by “Van der Waals Forces”. The surface electrochemistry is different. We can separate the particles from the oil.
IS THE SYSTEM SCALABLE?
Answer: Yes, that was the first issue we had to address. More-over, we were concerned about efficiency as well. Most systems (Skimmers etc.) collect lots of water during operations. Our system targets the oil and uses the water as a transport medium. Similar to how a train uses it’s tracks as the transport medium. The flow rate in our system is also directly proportional to the gradient of the magnetic forces used.
I WANT TO BE INVOLVED, HOW CAN I HELP THIS PROJECT?
MAY I CONTACT YOU ABOUT A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY?
Answer: Yes, we welcome such discussions.