Crucial is already one of the world’s most prominent oil-removal companies. It’s equipment was used to clean up the Deep Water Horizon spill. To meet the X Challenge’s criteria, they’re debuting a new concept for oil skimming.


Elastec is another established oil-removal company. It helped manage the controlled burns of oil after the Gulf spill. Its new design for the X Challenge features a device pulled along the side of a boat.


For the Challenge, Koseq is using a modified version of a device they already deploy, called a "rigid sweeping arm." It’s towed in the water at a precise angle, forcing the oil into the base of the V, where it can be pumped into storage.


Lamor, a Finnish oil-removal company in operation for more than 30 years, will be deploying this design, a boom that is towed from the side of a ship.


NOFI’s design is something they call "Current Buster" technology, which they claim allows them to concentrate the oil into thicker patches, making it easier to suction out of the water.

Oil Whale

Instead of skimming oil from the surface of the water, the Oil Whale sucks up all the water it passes over, removing the oil internally before spilling the clean water back overboard.

Oil Shaver

The Oil Shaver quite literally shaves oil off the surface of a body of water. As the oil gets trapped in between the pontoons, the water is released through the bottom. A pump at the end then sucks up the oil. Four of these could be deployed on one ship, at 45-degree angles.


PPR is keeping information about its device close to the vest, saying only that it’s "open water skimming system is based on materials and technology currently in use in other maritime applications."


The VorTek Emergency Extraction Line Project was born out of a project to remove plastic from the ocean in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But after the Deepwater Horizon spill, VorTek modified the design. It works like a boom, which keeps the oil from spreading, but instead of funneling the oil toward a central suction point, each unit of the boom removes oil-filled water itself.


The Voraxial device sucks oily water into a central tube which uses an impeller to separate liquids with different specific gravities. In other words, it spins the oil right out of the water.



The 10 Contenders For X Prize's Latest Challenge: Removing Oil From Water

Earlier this week, the X Prize Foundation announced the 10 finalists for its Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge. Over the course of the summer, these 10 machines will be put into a large tank in New Jersey and challenged to remove 2,500 barrels of oil a minute from the water. The winner will take home $1 million and will most likely be used the next time there is a massive oil spill. In the slides ahead, take a look at the machines that will be competing for the title of best oil sucker.

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