When 800,000 gallons of oil were spilled in the San Francisco bay, Mr. Bosch felt it was his civic duty to give away an invention of his to help contain future spills. Mr. Bosch therefore contacted the Los Gatos Times, which promptly printed an article on his idea. The system was designed to be light, inexpensive, and fast and easy to deploy. This would provide rapid containment of spills with a minimum of effort and maintenance.
The system consisted of two plastic tubes joined along their length. Made of a flexible plastic like polyethylene, the system could be extruded to create any desired length. When stored, the deflated tubes lay flat so the system could be rolled onto large spools.
When deployed, the top tube is inflated with air, and the bottom tube is filled with water. The water filled tube then sinks to the level of the air filled tube. This forms a type of floating dam, trapping the oil since it rides on the surface of the water. Since the system is flexible and lightweight, it can ride the waves. In addition, the size of the tubes can be tailored for the conditions of a given area. Since the system could be stored on rolls, it could be unrolled from a helicopter or boat. Once deployed, pumps on boats could then be used to inflate the two tubes. After the oil has been contained, it can be cleaned up using siphon equipment brought to the site.
Mr. Bosch had his phone number published at the end of the article but no calls were received; however, he did notice that the system was being used a couple of years later. Mr. Bosch did not get any recognition for his contribution to the preservation of the environment.
Copyright © 1998-2004 by Lawrence R. Bosch.