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Coastline in-situ burning of oil spills, analysis of a Greenland field experiment

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In-situ burning is a well-proven technology for combatting oil spills offshore. However, as a coastline oil spill response at rocky shores it is novel and investigated here for the first time. The viability and efficiency of coastline in-situ burning of oil spills and the fate of the resulting burn residue was studied through a field experiment. The experiment included a controlled release of 600 L crude oil and subsequent burn of the oil on a remote coast in Greenland. In line with other documented large-scale offshore burns, a high burn efficiency was estimated. Fate studies and chemical analysis of the burn residue diversely caught in the tidal seaweed vegetation showed varying compositions depending on the specific burn intensity. In general, however, a relative increase in high ring numbered PAHs was observed compared to fresh oil. After 4 days, waves and tidal flushing markedly reduced visible oil and burn residue from the burn area. Elevated concentrations of total hydrocarbons were found from the fresh oil in the seawater, but the impacts on the coastal water was below levels of ecotoxic concern. Overall, coastline in-situ burning proved efficient, with a high operational potential. In addition, when the oil is in place at the coast, with a possible increased operational time window compared to an offshore burn.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129976
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2023

    Research areas

  • Coastline, Environment, In-situ burning, Oil spill response, Residue

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