Foto del docente

Sarah Bonvicini

Assistant professor

Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering

Academic discipline: ING-IND/25 Chemical Plants

Teaching

Dissertation topics suggested by the teacher.

Topic 1. Design of emergency response systems for offshore oil spills

Target. Students LM Chemical and Process Engineering, LM Environmental Engineering (curriculum Tecniche e Tecnologie Ambientali)

Activity. First it will be necessary to define a worst case scenario relative to an oil spill and to identify the emergency response strategies which can be adopted for contingency response. Then through a specific software the «design» of the emergency resources necessary to intervene on the spill will be performed and the system performance of oil spill response methods will be assessed, predicting the volume of oil that can be treated by the response systems selected.

Topic 2. Assessment of the costs of offshore oil spills

Target. Students LM Chemical and Process Engineering, LM Environmental Engineering (curriculum Tecniche e Tecnologie Ambientali)

Activity. After an extensive bibliographical research aimed at retrieving oil spill cost models and cost data available in literature, some of these models are applied to reference case studies. For each case study the oil fate is assessed through specific software, determining the impact of the oil on the sea surface, the water column, the coastal areas and the sea bed. Then cost models are applied to the polluted sea compartments and results are compared and discussed.

 

Topic 3. Mapping the environmental sensitivity of coasts to offshore oil spills

Target. LM Environmental Engineering (curriculum Tecniche e Tecnologie Ambientali)

Activity. The environmental risk caused by offshore oil spills is related to the presence of vulnerable environmental targets, represented by coasts with a high environmental value and / or where important socio-economic activities take place. After becoming aware of the data and the methods available to map the environmental sensitivity, these methods are applied to selected case studies.

 

Topic 4. Emergency Response Gap Analysis in the Gulf of Mexico

Target. Students LM Chemical and Process Engineering, LM Environmental Engineering (curriculum Tecniche e Tecnologie Ambientali)

Activity. Once an oil spill at sea has occurred, it is necessary to face it through emergency response, that is with containment and mechanical recovery, application of dispersants, in-situ burning of the floating oil slick. However, the environmental conditions - for instance, the wind speed, the wave height, the visibility conditions, the temperature conditions - can assume values that limit or impede emergency interventions. A method, implemented in a custom software code, is available to evaluate the time per year during which emergency response is not feasible. The thesis consists in the application of this method the the Gulf of Mexico: the student will be required to retreive the data of the environmental factors, to apply the method to the case study area, and to discuss the results.

 

Topic 5. Assessment of the consequences of oil spills in the Mediterranean Sea

Target. Students LM Chemical and Process Engineering, LM Environmental Engineering (curriculum Tecniche e Tecnologie Ambientali)

Activity. Though the OSCAR software, which allows the evaluation of the fate and trajectory of an oil spill at sea, the student will estimate the consequences of oil spills in the Ionian Sea, just in the South of the region Calabria. The software will be run first in the stochastich mode, that is assuming several different sets of environmental conditions, in order to determine the conditions that cause the most severe contamination of the sea surface, of the water column, of the shoreline, and of the sea floor. Once the worst scenarios are determined, the student will evaluate them launching the software in the deterministic mode, in oder to obtain detailed results about the risk caused by the oil to the environment.

 

Topic 6. Assessment of the effectiveness of oil spill emergency response

Target. Students LM Chemical and Process Engineering, LM Environmental Engineering (curriculum Tecniche e Tecnologie Ambientali)

Activity. Through the OSCAR software, which performs the evaluation of the fate and trajectory of oil spills at sea, the student will apply to a case study in the North Sea a methodology for the assessment of the effectiveness of different emergency response strategies. In fact, due to weather conditions and the changes in the properties of the spilled oil, the window of opportunity of emergency response can be rather short. While this is commonly acknowledged, quantitative indexes for expressing the effectiveness are not available yet.The thesis will help close this gap.