To date, Natural Science (NS), LLC has designed, engineered and manufactured NS1, the first prototype system for electromagnetically separating oil from water. Testing has verified that the principle involved in magnetic separation lends to an efficient and environmentally benign method for remediating oil spills on water. Multiple component tests were conducted at Natural Sciences’ facility in Big Rock, Illinois to measure and quantify the magnetic components. In addition, full-scale system tests were independently conducted at Ohmsett, the Oil Spill Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility in Leonardo, NJ. The main results of the independent test revealed a greater than 97% efficiency at separating oil from water—an unprecedented achievement.

NS1 in the lab at Big Rock, IL

NS1 Deployed at Ohmsett (Leonardo, NJ)

The setup and deployment of the NS1 system at Ohmsett during the prototype phase also verified or revealed several additional important aspects of the technology, namely: (1) The logistics of transporting and configuring the system in less than 4 hours was demonstrated; successful deployment in a customized environment using standard rigging and jib technology was thus verified. The deployment mechanism can be designed to effectively reduce this time further. NS engineers believe this to be an important aspect in terms of the response time required during oil spill disasters. (2) The power system needed to operate the technology in the field was tested and verified to function safely. Power concerns and electrical safety are also an important aspect of the technology which the prototype successfully addressed. (3) The control system needed to operate the system either by a single user or multiple users was verified. Both local and remote operations of the system using standard portable devices were implemented. This provides versatility in terms of operational logistics. (4) The control system design provides monitoring the e-boom electrical operating parameters in real-time which enables reliable control of the system.

Issues associated with the prototype design were also determined and provide a very useful source of information for required design changes before manufacturing future scaled up versions. (5) The belt material used on the external conveyor system that transports the oil from the water to the collection system degraded and slipped during operations. This was noticed during the earlier phase of testing at the NS lab in Illinois as well as at the Ohmsett test facility. To address this NS engineers will change this belt material and improve the drive mechanism as warranted.

The prototype system was comprised of 18 total magnetic coils coupled together forming the so-called e-boom. These coils were extremely efficient at moving the oil on the water to the interface with the conveyor. The timing and sequencing of these coils were empirically configured to optimize the flow rate which exceeded the ability of the conveyor system to keep up. This is a significant achievement, and it provided additional confidence in our ability to scale the conveyor system for high through-put in a commercial system.

The data collected under the test conditions also reveals the volumetric collection of oil from the water is consistent with the analytic formulae associated with the dynamics of the system. We therefore can calculate and conservatively project that a commercial device can collect more than 200 gallons per minute for a system scaled by a factor of four with the given e-boom configuration. Additional scaling factors related to the magnetic properties of the conveyor magnetic configuration and the magnetization properties of the fluid dynamics are more difficult to calculate, but they contribute favorably to the process. These contributions will only improve and enhance future volumetric collection efficiencies.


Electromagnetic remediation has several other features that are unique. (1) Oil that is below the surface and within the reach of the magnetic fields can be collected. This has particular importance when remediating heavy oils that sink below the surface. (2) The system collects oil in a wide range of viscosities. The process targets oil at the micron scale and the magnetization is independent of viscosity.


Since no competitive technology of this type is known to exist, and since no other technology has achieved a 97% efficiency for separating of oil from water in an independently verified test, NS is confident that this technology offers a new and effective method for oil spill remediation on water.

Natural Science, LLC.

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