The contamination caused by the BP Oil Spill is an immediate danger to the Global ecosystem. Existing solutions (collection, abatement, dispersal, regaining well head control, drilling relief wells) will either take too long, or will not work to stop the flow. A radical solution is called for.
I propose drilling a set of pilot holes, parallel to the well, to a depth of several meters. Into these holes would be lowered explosives similiar to the British Bangalore Torpedo. The purpose would be to produce a coordinated application of force - starting at the top of the well head and proceeding downward - to squeeze the well pipe closed along a significant length, and/or collapse the well itself, to staunch the flow. Drilling a set of small diameter holes would be quick. Using HP explosives would be damaging to the local environment, but better than continuous spill for months.
Even if it does not stop the flow completely, it might slow it significantly. It would buy valuable time for other, long term solutions to be put in place.
At present, I do not have the analytical tools to take this any farther than the idea I've proposed above. But I believe the solution is sound, and I will be crunching the numbers. If others are willing to build on this idea, or can take this to the next level themselves, please feel free to take the idea and run with it. I am also looking for individuals to help me take this plan to the next level.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Michael Kellar
Type of entry: individual
Number of times previously entering contest:never
Michael's favorite design and analysis
BIC 4-color & paper
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Michael's hobbies and activities:
Playing guitar, rocketry
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I like the satisfaction you get from solving particularly difficult problems with simple solutions.
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Patent status: none