June 10th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Fix it: Bill Nye on oil disaster suggestions

CNN is featuring ideas from iReporters and experts alike on how to help fix the oil disaster on TV. We're taking a closer look at which ones might actually work.

Bill Nye, the infamous "Science Guy" talks to CNN's Kyra Phillips today about the latest slew of ideas coming from experts, celebrities, viewers and readers of his web site and why solving the problem may not be as easy as people think - because the pressure below the ocean is much higher than anything we would experience in real life.

iReport: Have an idea on how to fix the oil disaster? Send your ideas

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 (36 Responses)
  1. 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!

    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 and 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 affected businesses and the state clean-up, on time.
    d. Find a way to approve pro-active plans rapidly and, for God’s sake, make decisions without first consulting BP.

    So far, BP has not plugged the oil 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 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Get off the booze !

      June 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael Ostrowski

    How heavy of a dead weight needed ? A tanker barge filled with concrete ? Sink and fill at site, or fill it on shore and roll it – tow it from surface along ocean floor, or electric self propelled ... at site, cut off bop and remove everything else, bring in deadweight, and simply sit on it - may not need relief wells in August – Could it work ??

    June 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michael Ostrowski

    Bill -Additional question -- BP, media and Government reports on numbers and the effectiveness of the current top hat and suction to the surface are assuming that the flow rate from the well is independent from the presence of the top hat and suction to the surface vessel. The media and Government should ask that question – could it be that the well is actually flowing more from the geological formation itself because of the suction ( i.e . reduced "static hydrobaric backpressure" at that ocean depth ). ???

    June 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Roy Gandy

    Military explosive experts should be charged to shut it down, not oil extractor business entrepreneurs. The President needs to take charge by putting the Navy as point who will then engage demolition, submariners and SEALs for the best explosive method. Discuss types of depth charges with exploding shock to close it, or White Phosphorus to melt metal over the holes and/or a type of White Phosphorus net to cover it and then ignite and melt it shut. I have never heard of any discussion of trying to destroy it. Too many scientists are thinking too much about it rather than a simple approach to demolish. Obliterating things is easier than a white glove approach.

    June 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karen Thibeault

    Could someone please, tell me what is wrong with the picture, regarding, the Gulf Oil spill? We are talking about educated people with no common sense. Stop analyzing the situation, forget how much oil has spilled, and stop all your meetings with empty talking, and let’s start cleaning it up, how? By getting big ships out in the area where the spill is coming from, suck up all the oil, then use Kevin Costner’s machine to separate the oil from the water, so both can be saved. Don’t say, no we can’t do that. Yes you can, get your heads out of the sand and get going. Enough is enough. BP should not be allowed to file for bankrupt, they started this and BP needs to own up to it. See how simple it is?

    Karen Thibeault
    Fitchburg, MA

    June 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Michael Riehle

    Put up underwater noise to keep animals away from the spilled area. have they tried that. or drill an ajacent hole and then dynimite it too close off the other hole.

    June 10, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. damiao

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com help to spread this idea overseas....

    June 10, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve Anglin

    Why does the Governor of Louisiana need permission from the Coast Guard to clean their beaches and the water's for three miles out.

    June 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I think the moratorium should remain in effect. Businesses will forever sek the easiest way out and the cheapest way to do anything. Republicans (their representatives in Congress) will forever ask for businesses to run amok without government control/retrictions or oversight. Until people wake up and admit that the natural tendency of man is to think of himself and his own pockets before all else we need restrictions.
    I have worked in many fields–Navy, Security, Electric power generating plants that were fossil fuel powered and Nuclear powered-all have the same thoughts. You hear the same things from them all–the bottom line, this was a business decision not to perform this fix of that fix, we can operate this another way while a component is broken or something has failed. All businesses think of themselves and the disaster is left for others to deal with and or take the ramifications from. That is expressly the idea of the LLC in protecting corporate assests.
    The moratorium has and will affect fewer than those that will be affected due to the disaster-environmental, wildlife, tourism, hotels, state tourism income, health efects not yet known to residents, cleanup health affects, fishermen, fisheries, restaurants, on and on and on.
    Decades of recovery that no one will admit to and the drillers will ever caare about.

    June 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mar

    How about a compression ring around that pipe that's leaking, attached to a valve? It really sounds like the entire aparatis is leaking, not just the pipe. I'm sure we don't know exactly where all the leaks are. Maybe pour hot lava or melted lead over the entire item?

    Has anyone thought that BP may not want to close down the entire well till they have drained it dry? With the cost of overhead for clean up and the lure of an available product that is worth more, there may be pleanty of excuses from BP as to why the well can't be capped. That may be why everyone in the oil business is offering to help. This is the one and only time anyone will be able to drill there. On the other hand, the entire south and east coast could be distroyed. Think what would happen if a hurricane were to go through the gulf right now.

    I feel the only way that well will stop leaking is if someone with less interest in oil and more interest in getting the job done, with the know how, were to work on it. We sent a man to the moon when I was four years old. Surely we can think of a way to cap a well and get it done without taking two months.

    June 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • nina

      Has this come out in TV reports? So far i have not heard that–i.e.,whether the reservoirs' assets–given its costly extraction methods-could possibly approach, let alone now outweigh its clean up costs. CNN did report that rig was already overbudget by weeks before the accident. Would or will it be cheaper to write off all its escalating costs? Surely they are not yet estimateable. One blogger here suggests legislation against this spill being "dischargeable" debt (at least in the event BP legally goes bust.)
      Was it CNN where I heard BP supplies our federal gov't by contract? Who are genuine stakeholders in avoiding making the current wellhead almost impossible or impossible to reutilize (versus retapping that reservoir somehow? ) Do relief wells in general become, or exceptionally ever become viable rigs, e.g., could the 2 begun for the Deepwater Horizon? Will they then become the source(s) of tapping the reservoir more or even less successfully (that is, if it is not exhausted by the time they are functional?) Do experts agree/or can they say?

      Touching on the issue of how permanently the leak is sealed or siphoned, the bloggers' combined ideas of the cement ring and nylon skein donut and hose(s) was interesting–there was success mentioned of nylon in seawater by an artist "around an island," but much has been raised about mile-deep incredible pressures. I'd always heard nylon weakens in water, e.g., yet swimsuits are that, nevertheless don't let nylon items washed sit too long damp. What would be the effects of dispersants, crude, and methane on any fiber–could a skein wrap be done even, and if so and if nylon, would it disintegrate rapidly?

      June 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda

    Instead of allowing millions of gallons of hydrocarbons to empty into the Gulf, and adding even more toxins in the form of dispersants, while drilling the relief wells, why hasn't anyone fabricated a containment dome? A weighted dome, fitted with pipes, pumps and pressure regulators could be "dropped " over the leak(s) allowing the spill to be sucked, siphoned or pumped up through the top of the dome and into a tanker at the surface of the water. The design could include the use of Kevin Costner's invention for oil and water separation.

    June 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony Rubino

      Hello Bill Nye,

      I read Linda's idea about a containment dome . I can add NYLON! Try to USE NYLON... it's lightweight and easy to fabricate, if it can be layered in thickness it would be tremendously strong. I don't know about the freezing point but it seems that Nylon holds up under cold temps. First, make a large cement ring, weight it with lead so it will hold to the bottom and then create a large tube of nylon bound to the cement ring to act as a hose that will contain and syphon the oil into the tankers.

      As a temporary solution it would at least contain the spill until they could close the well. The contemporary arrtist Christo has done projects with mile long nylon immersed in ocean water and currents and i it held up without ripping. Perhaps you could consult with him on feasability- he once wrapped a whole island in nylon.
      The initial cement ring has to be a large diameter so the gush of oil wouldn't effect it's settling. Use those mechanical submarines. Then the large diameter of hose could telescope down to a managable width. Once that nylon gets saturared the tube should channel the flow onto the waiting tanker.

      Hope this idea can be of help
      Anthony
      KLEEWORKS @ AOL.COM
      Kew Gardens,NY
      PS WE NEED TO SUBCONTRACT OUT THESE EXPERIMENTAL SOLUTIONS! LET'S WAKE UP!!! BP CAN"T HANDLE THIS IMMENSE DISASTER ALONE: WHAT ABOUT SHELL, EXON ? COAST GUARD SHOULD BEG BORROW STEAL, WE NEED ALL THESE BIG OIL COMPANIES INVOLVED IN THE CLEANUP. AS THIS DISASTER WORSENS I DON'T THINK ANY COMPANY WOULD REFUSE GIVING A THE U.S. A HELPING HAND.

      June 11, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Why exactly is Bill Nye "infamous"? Did his educational efforts endanger children in some way I wasn't aware of?

    June 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David Wetherell

    Use high powered hydraulics on one of the robotic subs to crimp the pipe to close the spill. This has been done before on pipe this thick and strong and the known amount of pressure is doable today, even at depths of one mile.

    June 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Zach

    How is Bill Nye 'infamous'? Know what words mean before you write them.

    June 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michael Ostrowski

    Bill -Additional question - BP, media and Government reports on numbers and the effectiveness of the current top hat and suction to the surface are assuming that the flow rate from the well is independent from the presence of the top hat and suction to the surface vessel. The media and Government should ask that question – could it be that the well is actually flowing more from the geological formation itself because of the suction ( i.e . reduced "static hydrobaric backpressure" at that ocean depth ). ???

    June 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
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