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Final Report Summary - EU-MOP (Elimination units for marine oil pollution)

During the EU-MOP project a new concept for oil spill response featuring autonomous unmanned robot vessels that operate as a swarm in order to efficiently collect the spilled oil was developed.

An EU-wide antipollution equipment inventory identified existing gaps in the anti-pollution arsenal, in order to target the recorded weaknesses. The marine oil pollution status was drawn from oil spill data sources, such as state maritime authorities, international organizations, EU-MOP partners, and others, in order to develop a state-of-the-art baseline regarding operational and strategic aspects of pollution confrontation and control.

In the architectural and technical design of the EU-MOP units, the Catamaran and Monocat concepts were studied. The Catamaran and Monocat concepts featured distinctive advantages. A small unit was also designed.

Because of the fact that these two designs were completely new and no literature data or computer results could be found to provide accurate results for the propulsion resistance, the consortium decided to perform experiments to estimate as accurately as possible the resistance for both designs. Tank tests were performed for both the catamaran and the monocat design. In addition, to estimate the increase in the propulsion resistance due to navigating through fresh and emulsified oil, computational fluid dynamics calculations were performed.

A simulation framework was developed to assess the preferred sensor configurations and control systems. In order to achieve better and more realistic results, an integrated approach was adopted, which simulated both the robots and the oil slick.

The EU-MOP swarm simulation was visualised, while several swarm strategies were developed, in the process of identifying the most efficient ones. In the validation of the swarm behaviour, the main objective was to demonstrate physically the swarm behaviour via studying mobile land-based robots to collect 'oil' which was projected onto the floor with the help of a video projector.

A methodology was developed to measure various skimmer configurations performance and the final selection was made. Three separate simulation modules were developed and integrated: the oil fate, robot, and visualisation programs.

A model was developed addressing the strategic planning of stockpiling EU-MOP units in candidate (port) facilities, so as to optimally respond to potential oil spill incidents in a nearby risk area.

Research on storage and transport requirements for the EU-MOP units was undertaken. The research focused on the possibility of using different container types for storage, and the handling during transport and while loading on the support vessel. In this context, a tool was developed to simulate the transport configuration.

A number of real scenarios of spill incidents in European seas (specifically Greece, Spain and United Kingdom) were formulated and response management / logistics simulations were performed on all levels.

The basis for the Cost Benefit Assessment was the creation of a calculation model integrating all cost and benefit information and offering the possibility to create scenarios for cost and benefit calculation by selecting different basic parameters (e.g. number and type of units, oil collection capacity, lifetime of units, time horizon, frequency of spills, etc.). The Cost Benefit Assessment was done on two different levels, the tactical and the strategic level.