GoMRI Recognizes Innovative Young Researcher for Oil Spill Science Project

Ocean Leadership awardees at the ceremony May 14 with staff member Sharon Cooper. From left, Sharon Cooper, Sahil Veeramoney, Christopher Lindsay. (Photo Credit: Intel ISEF)

(Click to enlarge) Ocean Leadership awardees at the ceremony May 14 with staff member Sharon Cooper. From left, Sharon Cooper, Sahil Veeramoney, Christopher Lindsay. (Photo Credit: Intel ISEF)

GoMRI granted a Special Award of $2000 for best oil spill-related science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held May 11-15 in Pittsburgh, PA.  

 The winner was Sahil Veeramoney, a rising junior at the Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, OR. He developed a novel polymer-coated cotton for high efficiency marine oil spill absorption. After bonding an oleophilic and hydrophobic polystyrene to cotton, he tested its efficiency against other natural fibers (raw wool and pure cotton) and a commercially available oil-absorbing polymer and determined that the polymerized cotton is the most efficient material. In the future, Sahil plans to conduct a cost analysis for large scale production, once he patents his technology.

There were many high-caliber projects, and the GoMRI judges awarded honorable mentions to three projects focused on developing a natural oil absorbent, a new instrument for containment of a blown well, and a method for spill by-product identification.

More than 1500 students from around the globe competed in several scientific categories for over $3 million in awards. Congratulations to the GoMRI awardees for their outstanding projects!

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The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.

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