The prototype to the ORCA was first tested during the Exxon Valderez cleanup in 1989. After observing the Orca in action alongside the conventional skimmers, it became clear what the requirements for effective recovery equipment are: easy to operate, powerful, light weight for transport, and relatively foolproof from clogging or jamming.
The result is available today, designed with some unique features that conventional pumps and skimmers do not have.
Key advantages of the ORCA include:
Virtually eliminates clogging
The ORCA’s vortex power technology virtually eliminates clogging and breakdowns. Most oil recovery equipment today employs disks, pumps and/or belt driven skimmers. These pull the recovered oil and debris through augers, impellers and other machinery, and are easily clogged, resulting in downtime — while the oil spill continues to spread, creating an even greater environmental hazard.
Based on vortex technology, the Orca is virtually clog-proof. It pulls oil, tar balls and debris straight up its hose and directly into a receiving tank, without passing through any machinery.
Fast recovery of 500 barrels+ of oil per hour
The ORCA can recover 500 to 1,600 barrels per hour, depending on the type of oil and prevailing weather conditions.
Turning on the ORCA’s power pack creates a high-velocity air flow that pulls air through its tank. This induces an air flow into the pick-up hose mouth, creating a tornado effect which can lift targeted material 100 feet into a ship’s hold.
When used for oil recovery, it looks as if the ORCA is actually peeling the oil from the water. Since oil is lighter than water, its weight and collusion factor make it possible to separate the oil in this way.
Light weight and compact for easy transport
The ORCA comes as a self-contained unit with a power pack that fits inside for compact shipping and storage, and is easily transported by helicopter, boat or truck. It can be used on board a tanker, barge or even on top of a small truck to accommodate a wide range of application needs. For shipping information, see Specifications.
Once the ORCA is lifted on board with a crane of helicopter, the casters are inserted beneath the unit, which is then secured for safety. The operator then starts the diesel engine, connects the hydraulics, and raises the hydraulic legs (extend 1.38 metres) to remove the power pack from the ORCA. These legs also allow the operator to walk the unit over obstacles on deck, without the need of additional gear.
The ORCA can be deployed by just two deck hands – one to position the universal hatch cover, the other to attach the hoses. For a quick look at the set up process, see the ORCA video presentation.
Removes materials directly into containers
The Universal Hatch Cover fits in any deck opening, and is an essential part of the ORCA, since it makes it possible to move materials directly into any type of container, from barrels to holds.
Wide range of applications
Most oil recovery equipment is single-purpose, and sits idle when it is not being used for oil spills. Since the ORCA can be used in a variety of clean-up operations, it can be profitably used all year round – especially since its lighter weight and compactness make it more economical to transport. For more about ORCA’s capabilities, see Applications.