Gulf Coast Oil Spill: A Cry for Innovation

One reason why one energy analyst says the Gulf Coast oil spill has proven so hard to clean up: a failure of imagination.

An article in the May 4 edition of The Washington Post says that technology for cleaning up such a spill has remained much the same for decades. Although responders have had about a week to try to contain the spill before it reached land, it still has touched the Gulf coastline, in large part because the techniques used for cleanup rely on calm winds and waters.

”You need new technology to deal with the problems that your other new technology got you,” said Byron W. King, an energy analyst at Agora Financial.

With energy exploration being pushed even harder to new frontiers, it would seem the market is ripe for technology and applications that can mitigate the risks. But getting someone to pay for the related R&D — either energy companies, or government — is another matter.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that more than 200,000 gallons of oil are dumping into the Gulf each day while BP, which operated the exploded rig, tries to figure out a way to cap it.

It’s yet another wake-up call for why innovation and ingenuity are some of our most necessary commodities.