June 9th, 2010
09:27 AM ET

Fix it: Your latest oil disaster solutions

As BP tries various methods to stop the oil disaster scientists, students and imaginative amateurs have suggested ways to stop or clean up the Gulf oil disaster in the days and weeks after the oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and started the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

CNN is featuring ideas from iReporters and experts alike on TV and taking a closer look at which ones might actually work. iReport: Have an idea on how to fix the oil disaster? Send your ideas

Here is one of your latest suggestions:

You can check out all of the ideas submitted so far on the blog and if you’ve got a solution to share, you can upload your video to CNN iReport.

Send the government your ideas


soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Aaron

    They should cement that well immediately, instead of waiting on relief wells to be dug. This could have been slowed or stopped weeks ago, but BP needs money and the government needs its oil.(It was reported on CNN that BP supplies 80% of the government supply)

    June 10, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Daniel lecours

    1 = rubber inflatable bladder on a metal rod inserted in the hole
    2 = filled the bladder wit mud

    June 10, 2010 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ken

    Ok this might sound stupid but here goes. why not pontoon boats linked two abreast to be pulled by two ships. the thought is that the pontoons would have a screw type auger on it going to a tanker the two abreast would be shapped in a v pattern and in between the pontoons would be augers taking the heavy crude to a trough where it would be lifted augered to the tankers. ( like a grain auger taking grain to a silo) the separation of the augers would have to be placed close enough together so that the crude would be moved to elevator yet allow the salt water to drop beflow since it isn't as heavy as the crude oil itself. I think if you have loose grain and can harvest it in a similar maner and separate it, you also see vaccuum cleaners that use a powered brush to move loose dust why wouldn't this work with the heavy wax like globs of crude.

    June 10, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ken

    I forgot to mention in between the two pontoon boats with turning screw augers also could be made flexible you place a floating paddle by the ships pulling the pontoons the paddle turns drivin the augers to te elevator to the tanker. sure oil would be missed but instead of trying to sop it up in an absorbant rope this would help contain and aquire it to be used and sold to pay for the cleanup itself also eliminating it from the ocean where it will eventually wash up anyway.

    June 10, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. C.H.

    We've been wondering this too in our household! It seems so doable – especially their idea for pulling the grass out with the shrimp nets – that would keep the shrimpers working too. Why not get moving on it right now? What are they waiting for?

    June 10, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 1814, this is an oil spill contingency plan that has a proven extraction process. If British Petroleum’s hired goons stop authorized U.S. press from filming on American Soil just one more time, History may repeat its self!

    THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS, by Johnny Horton: In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip, we took a little bacon and we took a little beans, we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans

    We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    We looked down the river and we see'd the British come, there must have been a hundred of'em, beatin' on the drums They stepped so high, and they made their bugles ring, we stood by our cotton bales, and didn't say a thing

    We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise if we didn't fire our muskets 'Till we looked 'em in the eye, we held our fire 'Till we see'd their faces well Then we opened up our squirrel guns And really gave 'em – well we

    Fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    Yeah, they ran through the briars And they ran through the brambles And they ran through the bushes Where the rabbit couldn't go They ran so fast That the hounds couldn't catch 'em On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind And when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind

    We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin', there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago we fired once more and they begin to runnin', on down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

    Yeah, they ran through the briars And they ran through the brambles And they ran through the bushes Where the rabbit couldn't go They ran so fast That hounds couldn't catch 'em On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Go Johnny!

    We posted a PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May 2010, this is a post oil spill contingency plan that has a proven Oil Spill extraction process and a patented Hydro-Carbon (emissions free) recycling technology.

    We’ve found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that will extract up to 98% of oil spill contaminants from the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes contingencies for, re-processing all of the oil drenched materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities creating, long term renewable energy revenues for the community.

    We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to minimize their cost by denying problems exist. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies our plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on an oil spill they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. This cannot be allowed to go on any longer! We have four suggestions to remedy this situation.

    a. Executive orders from the president to keep BP within five miles of their oil rig to work on plugging their oil well.
    b. Executive orders from the president keeping BP completely out of the state containment and clean-up process.
    c. Executive orders from the president to keep BP paying for the affected business and state clean-up’s, on time.
    d. Find a way to approve pro-active plans rapidly and, for God’s sake, make decisions without first consulting BP.

    To date, BP has not plugged the well, contained the oil spill or even moved quickly to approve state contingency plans to keep oil off their shores. BP needs to plug their damned hole and pay the states for containment and clean-up operations.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Craig N. Barthelmas ge1re22@aol.com

    June 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ron Thacker

    I believe that we need something a little more technical than a tactical nuclear weapon. The heat( even under water) and the associated pressure wave would probably create leaks in every well within 50 miles and I am sure the folks in NO would enjoy surfing the tsunami.
    I believe I could do a very rudimentary design of an explosive driven caison, sleve and seal that would have a chance of working. I am not an engineer, howeve,r as an ex gunners mate in the navy I know a little bit about explosives,hydraulics, cams, springs, and gears. I would offer this design to anyone who could take it and run with it.
    this problem will be solved by some uneducated person with a novel idea.
    Politicians and corporate executives will not solve this.
    As for the hay idea it is a great concept, anything that would float a the shoreline would help prevent further intrusion of the oil into the marshlands,at low tide oil encapsulated in the hay could be scooped up in the shrimp boat nets and offloaded onto BP owned vessels and ferried back to the UK. That would make it a British company's parent countries problem.
    By the way, I applied for a position with the federal governments job page and they told me I did not have the experience or the education to work for them.

    June 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. randy custer

    why has the goverment let bp continue to get away with hideing how much oil is gushing from well when it shoud be clear by now that everything bp has tried to do at the well site after top kill failed is not contain and collect the oil but to try to keep us from finding out how much oil is leaking. bp can stop the oil from flowing into the gulf by placeing a riser that is large enough to simply allow the oil do what oil does on its own flow to the surface to a tanker. cut and cap was never intended to stop the spill it was to make sure that we would never how many gallons of oil the well was leaking per day. bp never had ships on site that could have collected the oil had cut and cap worked what did bp plan to do with the oil.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. john

    Now that the pipe is cut horizontally, and apparently the pipe goes straight down through the structure, I would have proposed something akin to a heavy giant ice pick to be lowered from the surface into the pipe. This shape is not easily deflected by oil flow. It can be calculated how hard to push down in regard to side radial loads on the existing pipe. This could have almost completely stopped the oil. It is disturbing to me that a gate valve was not provided in the bottom structure that could have been manipulated by a cable from above. Maybe some pennies were saved.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. A. Williams

    Obviously something heavy that would easily fit into the oil pipe and block the gushing oil is necessary to prevent it from being forced back out. Something as heavy and solid as several cannon balls or big steel balls, several of them, and then dump substantial amounts of gravel over those to fill in the gaps. Then, seal over with a hardening agent such as concrete.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. A. Williams

    Also, may want to consider Shamwow for the clean-up. Sort of joking... but not really.

    June 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michael Ostrowski

    Science guy – Bill Nye–Just watched your video – 2600 ton dome weight ? b/c dia of dome much larger than pipe. 460 atm -150 atms equals 4650 psig... assuming pipe diameter of 8 inches, dead weight of 234,000 lbs, or 116 tons should do it. a ro-ro container filled with sand cement or iron ore should easily do it, so cut the pipe flush with the ocean floor, and drop it down or roll it along ocean floor from beach, perhaps under its own power on a wheeled skid.

    June 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul Soeiro

    If 116 tons will do it then why not make a very large, very long, "cork" out of concrete and reinforce it with steel bars? Think of something shaped much like an icicle – a fine tip widening to an end with the final diameter being slightly larger than the pipe. Not sure how long it would have to be but as long as the final weight would counter the force of the gushing oil against it, it seems that it would be successful. It could be coated with rubber for a tight seal. It would be lowered from a cable, by a crane on a barge into the flow of oil. The tip would make it's way through the force of gushing oil and into the pipe, and once in position could be lowered gradually until the fit was tight. The underwater equipment they have been using to put the "cap" on could be used to guide the tip of the "cork" into position. Seems simple enough to me.
    That hole needs to be corked!!

    June 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jermaine Johnson

    A whole artificial island was built in Dubai. I believe it is possible for rock, sand and stone to be used to stop the leak and fast. Simply drudge it from the gulf floor and spray it over the leak area. It is clear that they (oil companies) are trying everything to collect the escaping oil (cash burning) and dont want it to stop flowing. Meanwhile they paint a false picture to the people as if this is so complicated.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jermaine Johnson

    They can always just pull the pipe up. The ocean floor will seal itself after the pipe is removed and the walls surrounding it collapse therefore sealing it and stopping the leak. Kinda like taking a syringe from your veins when you give blood remove the needle apply a little pressure and the bleeding stops.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
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