May 26, 2010

Here's an example of what I was talking about in my last post on the Gulf oil spill. There's a lot of concern about whether BP's "Top Kill" solution will work to stop the leak, and if it doesn't, it could make it many times worse. But Baltimore businessman Don Sanchez has an idea, and if it works, it seems like a far safer idea than detonating nuclear devices or risking a far worse result.

Unfortunately, his plan is sitting in a queue along with about 17,000 others.

I asked him details of his proposal and the basics are that he feels drilling mud does not have enough density (specific gravity) to guarantee success. Sanchez' Chesapeake Specialty Products has 4,000 tons of HDM, a granulated iron product with specific gravity of 6.0, that he is willing to deliver to the Deepwater Horizon site if he gets approval.

When liquid epoxy binder is added, he feels it will produce a solid block under sea water. The company's HDM is currently used in radiation shielding, ship ballast and security barriers. With the Top Kill plan, Sanchez is concerned that "Once drilling mud fails, the probability of success with higher density product diminishes. If the proper mixes of granular size of any product is not used, there will be either premature plugging of pipe or lack of plugging at well head."

To really get a sense of how rapidly Sanchez' compound sets, watch the video. And then pass it along, because even BP has doubts the Top Kill procedure will succeed. If BP is dubious, doesn't it make sense to consider materials that would be more likely to succeed at that depth?

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