Oil Spill Impact Estimated At 4.9 Million Barrels

Posted on August 3rd, 2010 by

A new oil spill estimate released this week, how residents from the gulf are being impacted by the spill, and the DOE funds small businesses.

According to scientists in the Flow Rate Technical Group, the oil that leaked out of the BP well reached 4.9 million barrels, or 205.8 million gallons. These scientists previous estimates were between 3 million and 5.2 million barrels The cleanup efforts have burned, captured or skimmed 1.2 million barrels of oil. Scientists are still unable to account for the other 3.7 million barrels but many are concerned that that large amounts of oil from the spill remain underwater in cloudlike plumes. The scientists new calculation will help the government decide on the financial penalty that BP will receive for being responsible for the spill, which could reach $17.6 billion.

Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness has interviewed over 1,200 adults living within 10 miles of the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi to better gauge the impact of the oil spill. The survey found that 20% of the households have lost income since the oil spill, and 8% have claimed that they’ve lost their jobs. More than 40% surveyed felt that BP’s  and the President’s response to the oil spill was “poor”.

U.S Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy, through the Small Business Innovation Research & Technology Transfer programs will grant awards totaling $188 million to 201 small businesses from 34 states. The money will be used to pilot research projects in smart grid, building efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon cycle measurement. This is an important step for the DOE because small businesses account more nearly 40% of the science in engineering workforce in the US. In an effort to improve the electrical grid in New York City, Secretary Steven Chu also announced a conditional commitment for a $17.1 million loan guarantee to AES Energy Storage, LLC. The company will use the funds to develop a 20 MW lithium-ion battery based energy storage system that will help balance electric supply and demand on the grid. Generally power plants use dirty fuels to handle this process but the energy storage system will cut as much as 70 percent of the CO2 released from this process.

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