Can Cornstarch Contain Future Oil Disasters?
It took months for BP to figure out how to stop oil from spewing out of the Deepwater Horizon site during last year’s infamous disaster, and not before the oil company tried everything from shooting junk down into the leaky pipe (the “junk shot”) to tapping Kevin Costner for advice. (Not that you would know any of this, based solely on its recent financial statements.) Next time around, BP might just want to try cornstarch.
That’s because researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Washington University recently discovered that cornstarch may be the key to a new mud recipe that could plug up oil leaks when shot into leaky pipelines (the “top kill” method). This is similar to the technique that BP used to plug its leak—the oil company pumped heavy mud into the wellbore until it finally stanched the oil flow. But the addition of cornstarch to the mud mix could be more effective.
Find out why it works here.