A large-scale experiment involving the burning of crude oil to prevent pollution was conducted at Westcott Rocket propulsion Establishment in Buckinghamshire on Saturday (14th November) by technologists of the British Trade and Industry Department.
GV Fire tender
CV Pan, up tank of crude oil
LV Mr. Andrew Jeffs climbs ladder to platform on tank
CV Combustible fuse placed in position (igniters)
SV Connecting wires into position, pan to igniters
MV Pan, wires to thermostats to control centre in distance
CV Pan, cables connected to water feed
CV Official turns keys to ignite charges
GV Ignition and fire
SV Interior, readings checked at control panel (2 shots)
SV Flames and smoke
GV Field and tank in background, officials walking out.
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Background: A large-scale experiment involving the burning of crude oil to prevent pollution was conducted at Westcott Rocket propulsion Establishment in Buckinghamshire on Saturday (14th November) by technologists of the British Trade and Industry Department.
As a result of the experiment the remote electrical firing of oil may become a much improved method of dealing with oil which has escaped from damaged tankers at sea. Recent tankers mishaps, including those involving the "Torrey Canyon" and "Pacific Glory", have highlighted the problems of combating escaping oil before extensive pollution damage occurs. The deliberate but carefully-planned firing of oil at sea is thought likely to supersede the present methods which include bombing, and treatment by detergents.
In the experiment at Westcott, electrical igniters were positioned on the surface of oil in a specially constructed 25-foot-high iron tank. After cables had been connected to the igniters, technologists operating from a remote control room several hundred yards away, turned on switches which ignited the 200 tons of oil in the tank. The research has been carried out with models because the individual compartment in a modern tanker would be at least 100 times larger than Saturday's model. However this latest experiment was on a sufficiently large scale for the technologists to be able to predict, with reasonable accuracy, the control and rate of burning which might take place if the method is employed to counter pollution at sea.