…Wherein we’ll learn about the use of LISSTs during the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010
(Part IX can be found here: https://www.sequoiasci.com/article/the-history-of-sequoia-part-ix/)
Particle size distribution is important in many areas. When the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) required use of LISST’s for monitoring oil droplets in seawater.
Unbeknownst to anybody at Sequoia, it turned out that the LISST-100 and LISST-100X had seen heavy use amongst oil spill researchers since the early 2000’s: When an oil spill occurs, one method of minimizing its environmental impact can be the application of dispersants. The idea is that dispersants break up the oil into droplets, so that the oil surface area increases, and bacteria can then easier break down the oil. There is an optimum size for these droplets, and that is where the LISSTs were being used: monitoring the size and concentration of oil droplets before, during and after dispersant application.
Sequoia had lots of service calls from owners and users of LISSTs with serial numbers we had never heard from since we had made the sale. That indicated that *a lot* of LISSTs from all over the US were being requisitioned by the companies involved in the monitoring. Also a LISST-Deep from Greece was on loan from the Hellenic Center of Marine Science to the US authorities to monitor oil droplets at depth.
Almost 10% of the scientific papers that have been published with LISST data are concerned one way or the other with oil spill / oil spill research applications: https://www.sequoiasci.com/library/technical-papers/?fwp_papers_topic=oil-spill
A special version of the LISST-200X – the LISST-Black – was introduced in 2019 specifically for the oil spill market. The LISST-Black measures the fluorescence (hence the presence) of crude and refined oil, in addition to the standard LISST-200X size and concentration parameters.
Applications of LISST technology also spread to the oil and gas drilling market in the early 2010’s. Here, the PSD of drilling ‘muds’ are critical. Before Sequoia developed a portable instrument, LISST-Portable, drill operators were held up by days as samples from the drill rigs were shipped to remote laboratories and results reported back. The LISST-Portable and later, the LISST-Portable|XR, brought tremendous gains in efficiency by producing results on the drill rig in a matter of a few minutes.
Many other industries, e.g., ceramics, cements and powder industries also employ PSD measurements for quality control, and the LISST-Portable|XR has seen use in these industries worldwide.
In Part XI we’ll learn about the LISST-VSF and some arriving and departing employees.