US20120128422A1 - Surface Film Distribution System and Method Thereof - Google Patents

Surface Film Distribution System and Method Thereof Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120128422A1
US20120128422A1 US13/184,940 US201113184940A US2012128422A1 US 20120128422 A1 US20120128422 A1 US 20120128422A1 US 201113184940 A US201113184940 A US 201113184940A US 2012128422 A1 US2012128422 A1 US 2012128422A1
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water
surface film
body
surface
fluid conduit
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US13/184,940
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Moshe Alamaro
Kerry Emanuel
Robert S. Langer
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MORE AQUA Inc
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MORE AQUA Inc
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Priority to US13/184,940 priority patent/US20120128422A1/en
Assigned to MORE AQUA, INC. reassignment MORE AQUA, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ALAMARO, MOSHE, EMANUEL, KERRY, LANGER, ROBERT S.
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02BHYDRAULIC ENGINEERING
    • E02B3/00Engineering works in connection with control or use of streams, rivers, coasts, or other marine sites; Sealings or joints for engineering works in general
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01JCHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROCESSES, e.g. CATALYSIS OR COLLOID CHEMISTRY; THEIR RELEVANT APPARATUS
    • B01J19/00Chemical, physical or physico-chemical processes in general; Their relevant apparatus
    • B01J19/16Preventing evaporation or oxidation of non-metallic liquids by applying a floating layer, e.g. of microballoons
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H4/00Swimming or splash baths or pools
    • E04H4/12Devices or arrangements for circulating water, i.e. devices for removal of polluted water, cleaning baths or for water treatment
    • E04H4/1281Devices for distributing chemical products in the water of swimming pools

Abstract

A surface film distribution system for use with a body of water and method thereof is provided. The system includes a surface film positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water. A first fluid conduit opening is positioned in a first location proximate to the surface of the body of water. A second fluid conduit opening is positioned in a second location proximate to the surface of the body of water. At least one fluid conduit connects the first fluid conduit opening and the second fluid conduit opening. A mixture of surface film and water is collected from the body of water, the mixture of surface film and water located in the at least one fluid conduit. A pump is in fluid connection with the at least one fluid conduit.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/416,339 filed Nov. 23, 2010, entitled, “Method and apparatus for increasing the effectiveness of retardation of evaporation with monolayer and surface films over water bodies,” the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • The present disclosure is generally related to retardation of evaporation and more particularly is related to a surface film distribution system and method thereof.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • The use of surface films to retard evaporation from water reservoirs has tantalized many scientists, engineers and inventors for the past 60 years (La Mer 1962, McJannet 2008). Surface film fatty alcohol materials such as hexadecanol and octadecanol are made of long carbon hydrogen chains that spontaneously form thin films when placed on a water surface. The films are packed with molecules that are hydrophobic on one side and hydrophilic on the other, forming an effective diffusion barrier for water molecules, thus retarding their evaporation.
  • The wind over the water on reservoirs covered by surface film or surface films may reduce the effectiveness of evaporation retardation by several mechanisms. Above a certain wind speed, the surface film may be torn and/or immersed in water, and, therefore, cease to be effective. Another mechanism is increasing the mass transfer coefficient, since the species concentration boundary layer over the water surface becomes thinner at higher wind speed. However, the main impediment for evaporation retardation is the tendency of the film material to drift with the wind, piling itself up on the downwind side of the reservoir, exposing some or most of the reservoir's surface area to increased evaporation. Literature on evaporation retardation by surface film indicates that this is the central problem that has prevented surface films from becoming a widespread commercial practical method for evaporation retardation (Barnes 2008, McJannet 2008, Barnes 1993, La Mer 1962, Vines 1962, Roberts 1962, Dressler 1962. Grundy 1962, Katsaros 1982).
  • Thus, a heretofore unaddressed need exists in the industry to address the aforementioned deficiencies and inadequacies.
  • SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • Embodiments of the present disclosure provide a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water and method thereof. Briefly described, in architecture, one embodiment of the system, among others, can be implemented as follows. The system includes a surface film positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water. A first fluid conduit opening is positioned in a first location proximate to the surface of the body of water. A second fluid conduit opening is positioned in a second location proximate to the surface of the body of water. At least one fluid conduit connects the first fluid conduit opening and the second fluid conduit opening. A mixture of surface film and water is collected from the body of water, the mixture of surface film and water located in the at least one fluid conduit. A pump is in fluid connection with the at least one fluid conduit.
  • The present disclosure can also be viewed as providing a method for redistributing a surface film on a surface of a body of water. In this regard, one embodiment of such a method, among others, can be broadly summarized by the following steps: collecting a quantity of the surface film on the surface of the body of water in a first position on the body of water in a first fluid conduit opening; transporting the quantity of collected surface film to a second fluid conduit opening with at least one fluid conduit; controlling a flow of the quantity of collected surface film within the at least one fluid conduit with a pump; and expelling at least part of the quantity of collected surface film on to the surface of the body of water in a second position on the body of water from the second fluid conduit opening, wherein the second position on the body of water is different from the first position on the body of water.
  • The present disclosure can also be viewed as providing a system for surface film redistribution on a surface of a body of water. In this regard, briefly described, in architecture, one embodiment of the system, among others, can be implemented as follows. A surface film is movable (e.g., mainly due to the wind) across the surface of the body of water from a first location on the body of water to a second location on the body of water. A plurality of skimmer-expeller devices are positioned along a perimeter of at least a portion of the body of water. The plurality of skimmer-expeller devices are fluidly connected with a fluid conduit network having a plurality of fluid conduits, wherein a first skimmer-expeller device of the plurality of skimmer-expeller devices is positioned in the first location and a second skimmer-expeller device of the plurality of skimmer-expeller devices is positioned in the second location. A pump is in fluid connection with the fluid conduit network. A computerized control unit is in communication with the pump, wherein the computerized control unit controls a flow of a quantity of collected surface film through the fluid conduit network. A sensor is in communication with the computerized control unit and positioned to sense at least one coverage condition of the surface film on the surface of the body of water, wherein a quantity of collected surface film is pumped through the fluid conduit network based at least in part on the sensed at least one coverage condition.
  • Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present disclosure will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present disclosure, and be protected by the accompanying claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Many aspects of the disclosure can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present disclosure. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
  • FIG. 1 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, in accordance with a first exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water in accordance with a second exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 3 is a top-view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, in accordance with a third exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 4 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, in accordance with a fourth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 5 is a partial top view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, in accordance with the fourth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 6 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, in accordance with a fifth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 7 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, in accordance with a sixth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 5 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system for use with a body of water in accordance with a seventh exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.
  • FIGS. 9-11 are illustrations of surface film experiments, in accordance with Example 1 of this disclosure.
  • FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating a method of for redistributing a surface film on a surface of a body of water in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the disclosure.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system 10 for use with a body of water 12, in accordance with a first exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 10 for use with a body of water 12, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 10,’ includes a surface film 20 positioned or accumulated on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 12. A first fluid conduit opening 30 is positioned in a first location proximate to the surface of the body of water 12. A second fluid conduit opening 40 is positioned in a second location proximate to the surface of the body of water 12. At least one fluid conduit 50 is connecting the first fluid conduit opening 30 and the second fluid conduit opening 40. A mixture of surface film and water is collected from the body of water 12, wherein the mixture of surface film and water located in the at least one fluid conduit 50. A pump 60 is in fluid connection with the at least one fluid conduit 50.
  • The system 10 may be used with a body of water 12 to minimize water loss due to evaporation. The body of water 12 may include any type of water-holding structure with standing or mining water, man made or natural. Commonly, the body of water 12 may be a man made reservoir, which is used to collect and store water primarily intended for irrigation and consumption use. However, the body of water 12 may also include other artificial bodies of water, such as swimming pools or lagoons, or any natural water features, such as a lake or pond. Additionally, the body of water 12 may be a flowing or running body of water 12, such as a river, stream, canal, or fountain. Any other body of water 12 not explicitly included herein is also considered within the scope of the present disclosure.
  • The system 10 may provide a substantial benefit to minimizing water loss due to evaporation in locations with a hot, and, and sunny climate. In many arid locations, water loss is a significant problem since many people, animals, and industries rely heavily on water. Water is needed not only for drinking, but also for industrial uses such as manufacturing, agriculture, and entertainment. Accordingly, the system 10 may provide many benefits to minimizing water loss due to evaporation in virtually any climate, but may provide a substantial benefit in climates where water preservation is essentially to the functioning of society. For example, the system 10 may be particularly useful in arid locations like deserts or surrounding desert areas, such as in the Southwest of the U.S.A. or in Saharan Africa where drinking water is often scarce. Likewise, in locations having a substantial agricultural industry, such as the Midwest of the U.S.A., the need to preserve water for crops is often of great importance.
  • As is shown in FIG. 1, the system 10 includes a surface film 20 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 12. The surface film 20 may include any type of film or substance that is located substantially at the surface of the body of water 12 and may prevent or lessen evaporation of the body of water 12. For example, the surface film 20 may include monolayer films, material film, fatty alcohol films, silicon based films, and any other type of material that can minimize water loss due to evaporation. For example, the surface film 20 may include monolayer fatty alcohol materials like hexadecanol and/or octadecanol, which are made of long carbon hydrogen chains that spontaneously form thin films when placed on a water surface. The hexadecanol and/or octadecanol may be mixed with a solvent or other material that form a thin film to suppress evaporation. In one of many alternatives, a silicon-based material, such as one supplied by Aquatain Products Pty Ltd of Australia, may be used. The surface film 20 may be packed with molecules that are hydrophobic on one side and hydrophilic on the other, forming an effective diffusion barrier for water molecules, thus retarding evaporation of the body of water 12. The surface film 20 may be substantially insoluble and may be any thickness on the surface of the body of water 12. For example, the surface film 20 may be only one molecule thick, a few molecules thick, or substantially thicker than a few molecules.
  • The surface film 20 may be composed of any materials and any combination of materials, including materials that are included for different purposes. For instance, the surface film 20 may include materials for retarding evaporation and other materials for aid in the uniform spreading of the surface film 20 across the surface of the body of water 12. The addition of other materials or chemicals to the surface film 20 may allow it to best cover the surface of the body of water 12. However, even when a substantially complete coverage of the body of water 12 with the surface film 20 is achieved, external forces may cause disruptions of the surface film 20. For example, forceful atmospheric conditions such as winds and precipitation may create areas of sparse or non-existent coverage of the surface film 20 on the body of water 12. For instance, the surface film 20 may be effective up to an approximate wind speed of 8-14 meter/second as measured 10 meters above the water surface. Additionally, natural currents in the body of water 12, or external forces such as watercraft, pumping systems, or dams may also cause disruptions in the coverage of the body of water 12 with the surface film 20. The first and second fluid conduit openings 30, 40, the fluid conduit 50, and the pump 60 may aid in maintaining a substantially consistent coverage of the body of water 12 with the surface film 20 when it is displaced (e.g., from wind and accumulation). The first fluid conduit opening 30 is positioned in a first location proximate to the surface of the body of water 12.
  • The first fluid conduit opening 30 may include any opening on a fluid-carrying conduit that allows for the collecting of the surface film 20. The first fluid conduit opening 30 may be located proximate to the surface of the body of water 12, such that it can make contact with the surface film 20 that is on the surface. The first fluid conduit opening 30 may also include any number of collecting devices, expelling devices, or filters to aid in the collection of the surface film 20. In accordance with this disclosure, collection of the surface film 20 by the first fluid conduit opening 30 may include collection of a mixture of the surface film 20 and a quantity of water from the body of water 12. Although the surface film 20 is substantially, if not fully hydrophobic, the first fluid conduit opening 30 may collect some of the water from the body of water 12 when the surface film 20 is collected. Thus, the surface film 20 that is handled by the system 10 may actually include a mixture of surface film 20 and water. For the sake of clarity in disclosure, the mixture of surface film 20 and water may be described herein simply as the surface film 20 which is handled by the system 10. Of course, the system 10 may be configured to collect only the surface film 20, or a mixture of surface film 20 and water that includes as much surface film 20 as possible. Additionally, the system 10 may include a filtering device to filter out water when the surface film 20 is collected.
  • The second fluid conduit opening 40 is positioned in a second location proximate to the surface of the body of water 12. The second fluid conduit opening 40 may be similar to the first fluid conduit opening 30 in design and configuration, and may include any type of collecting devices, expelling devices, or filters. The first location of the first fluid conduit opening 30 and the second location of the second fluid conduit opening 40 will be distinct from one another. Commonly, the locations will be spaced along the body of water 12 from one another, and a to lumber of additional conduit openings may also be included, as is discussed with regards to the additional embodiments herein. At least one fluid conduit 50 is positioned to connect the first fluid conduit opening 30 and the second fluid conduit opening 40, and a pump 60 is positioned in a fluid connection along the fluid conduit 50. The surface film 20 may enter the first fluid conduit opening 30, travel through the fluid conduit 50, and exit the second fluid conduit opening 40. The pump 60, which may include any type of pumping device, or any number of pumping devices, may provide the necessary force to collect the surface film 20, transport the mixture of surface film 20 and water throughout the fluid conduit 50, and expel the surface film 20 at the second fluid conduit opening 40.
  • When the system is in use, as is described with respect to FIG. 1, the first fluid conduit opening 30 and the second fluid conduit opening 40 may be positioned on a collection side of the body of water 12 and an expelling side of the body of water 12, respectively. As the surface film 20 moves across the surface of the body of water 12, due to the wind or other external or natural forces, the surface film 20 may accumulate on the first side of the body of water 12 and become sparse on the second side. Accordingly, the first fluid conduit opening 30 on the first side may collect the surface film 20 that accumulates on the first side, whereas the second fluid conduit opening 40 may expel the collected surface film 20 on the second side to replenish the surface film 20 on the body of water 12. The acts of collecting the surface film 20 and expelling the surface film 20 may be calibrated to provide for the best coverage of the surface film 20 across the body of water 12. This may include calibration for collecting the surface film 20 to prevent too much accumulation of the surface film 20 in the first location, or expelling the surface film in the second fluid conduit opening 40 to provide for a substantially constant coverage of surface film 20 over the body of water 12, as is described further herein. Any calibration of the system 10 may be correlated with the movement of the surface film 20, such as from wind, to prevent substantial accumulation.
  • FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional illustration of a surface film distribution system 110 for use with a body of water 112, in accordance with a second exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 110 for use with a body of water 112, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 110.’ may be substantially similar to the system 10 of the first exemplary embodiment. Accordingly, any of the components, features, or functioning described with respect to the first exemplary embodiment may be included with the system 110. The system 110 includes a surface film 120 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 112. A first fluid conduit opening 130 is positioned in a first location proximate to the surface of the body of water 112. A second fluid conduit opening 140 is positioned in a second location proximate to the surface of the body of water 112. At least one fluid conduit 150 is connecting the first fluid conduit opening 130 and the second fluid conduit opening 140. A mixture of surface film and water is collected from the body of water 112, wherein the mixture of surface film and water located in the at least one fluid conduit 150. A pump 160 is in fluid connection with the at least one fluid conduit 150.
  • As is shown in FIG. 2, the fluid conduit 150 and the pump 160 may be submerged within the body of water 112. This may include positioning any of the components, or any portion of the components within the body of water 112. For example, as is shown in FIG. 2, the first fluid conduit opening 130 and the second fluid conduit opening 140 may be positioned to float on the surface of the body of water 112. To enable the first and second fluid conduit openings 130, 140, to skim or float on the surface of the water, a floatation element 148 may be used. The floatation element 148 may include any type of device or structure that is capable of floating the first or second fluid conduit outlet 130, 140 on the surface of the body of water 112.
  • The fluid conduit 150 may connect to each of the first and second fluid conduit openings 130, 140, and lay substantially on the bottom surface of the body of water 112. The pump 160 may be positioned relatively central to the first and second fluid conduit openings 130, 140, or positioned in any other location along the fluid conduit 150. This configuration may save costs with the quantities of fluid conduit 150 needed to connect the first and second fluid conduit openings 130, 140. Additionally, this configuration may allow for many of the components of the system 110 to be out of sight, thus mitigating malfunctions of the system 110 due to criminal tampering or mischief. Furthermore, submerging the fluid conduit 150 and the pump 160 within the hod of water 112 may provide for a greater aesthetic appearance of the body of water 112. When the fluid conduit 150 and pump 160 are submerged, the body of water 112 may provide a better environment for recreational use, such as with operating boats, enjoying a beach, or accessing the body of water 112 without the inconvenience of viewing or being near the fluid conduit 150 and pump 160.
  • FIG. 3 is a top-view illustration of a surface film distribution system 210 for use with a body of water 212, in accordance with a third exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 210 for use with a body of water 212, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 210,’ may be substantially similar to the systems of other embodiments described herein. Accordingly, any of the components, features, or functioning described with respect to other embodiments of this disclosure may be included with the system 210. The system 210 includes a surface film 220 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 212 (for clarity, the surface film 220 is identified on only portions of the body of water 212). A plurality of fluid conduit openings 235 is positioned in various locations proximate to the body of water 212, wherein each of the fluid conduit openings 230, 240 is positioned in a distinct location. A plurality of fluid conduit 250 connects the fluid conduit opening 235. A mixture of surface film 220 and water is collected from the body of water 212, wherein the mixture of surface film 220 and water located in the fluid conduit 250. A pump 260 is in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 250.
  • The system 210 includes a plurality of fluid conduit openings 235 for collection and expulsion of the surface film 220 at a lumber of points along the body of water 212. The fluid conduit openings 235 may be floating on the water, may be submerged within the water, or may be positioned partially below the surface of the body of water 212. This may allow the system 210 to properly collect and expel the surface film 220 at any given point regardless of the external conditions surrounding the body of water 212. For example, the body of water 212 may be experiencing a wind force, as indicated by arrow 270 that is applied in one direction at any given point of time. This wind force may push the surface film 220 on the body of water 212 in the direction of the wind force, thereby creating an accumulation of surface film 220 in a first location 232 and a decreased covering of surface film 220 in a second location 242. In accordance with FIGS. 3-4, the first location 232 may be the area proximate to the accumulation of the surface film 220 and the second location 242 may be the area proximate to the decreased covering of surface film 220.
  • When the wind force creates this accumulation and decreased covering of surface film 220 on the body of water 212, the various fluid conduit outlets 235 may be used to move an accumulated amount of surface film 220 from the first location 232 and transport it, via the fluid conduit 250, to the second location 242. For example, the fluid conduit outlets 235 that are located in the first location 232 may collect the accumulated surface film 220, and the pump 260, which may be a multi-manifold pump, may provide the transportation force of the collected surface film 220 through the fluid conduits 250 to the fluid conduit outlets 235 located in the second area 242. This structure allows the surface film 220 to be removed from where it has accumulated on the surface of the body of water 212 and redistributed to where there is a need for it.
  • Of course, the system 210 may include a variety of additional components to enhance the utility and efficiency of the system 210. For example, the system 210 may include a control system 280 in communication with the pump 261) to transmit control signals to the pump 260 to control the flow of the surface film 220 through the fluid conduit 250. The control system 280 may include any type of computerized or electronic device that is capable of sending a control signal, many of which are known in the art. The control system 280 may be in communication with the pinup 260 via a communication link 282, as well as any additional components of the system 210. The communication link 282 may be wired, wireless, or any combination thereof. In use, the control system 280 may control the flow of the collected surface film 220, such that it is collected in the appropriate area and expelled in the appropriate area. In other words, the control system 280 may instruct the pump 260 to collect the surface film 220 where it is accumulating and expel the collected surface film 220 where there is decreased coverage.
  • The control system 280 may work in conjunction with a sensing device 284, which is in communication with the control system 280 via a communication link 282. The sensing device 284 may sense one or more surface film coverage conditions and output the result to the control system 280 via a signal. The surface film coverage condition may be a sensed accumulation of the surface film 220, a decreased coverage of the surface film 220, or any other sensed condition relating to the coverage of the body of water 212 with the surface film 220. Additionally, the sensed coverage condition may be based on another sensed aspect, such as relative humidity or temperature, wind speed, or direction. The signal may inform the control system 280 the surface film coverage condition, which may be used by the control system 280 to control or influence the flow of a quantity of collected surface film 220 through the fluid conduit 250. As is shown in FIG. 3, the sensing device 284 may be located on a tower 259 or other structure, such as a balloon, an unmanned blimp and/or aerial platform, such that a sufficient view of the body of water 212 is provided. Of course, depending on the type of sensing device 284 used, it may be located in any position or location.
  • The sensing device 284 may include any type of sensor, such as a wind sensor that senses a wind direction or wind force, an optical sensor that can visually sense the surface film 220 on the body of water 212, and or a radar-based sensor that senses the surface film 220 with radiometer measurements. For example, a wind sensor may send the control system 280 a signal indicative of the force and direction of the wind. The control system 280 may then use this information to calculate the necessary flow and direction of the surface film 220 within the fluid conduit 250. In another example, as the wind force pushes the surface film 220 across the body of water 212, the area of the body of water 212 with the surface film 220 may experience a reduction in surface tension, which in turn, may attenuate capillary waves thus producing a smooth and glassy surface. This causes, in him, different optical or radar reflection. The area of the body of water 212 not covered by the surface film 220 may be rough and rippled. This means that the first area 232 where the surface film 220 accumulates may have fewer ripples on the body of water 212 than the second area 242, where the surface film 220 has decreased. The optical or radar sensor may sense the difference in ripples between the first area 232 and the second area 242, thus determining the coverage of the body of water 212. Indeed, experiments by to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, for example, have shown photography with a polarizing filter was found capable of identifying the position of a surface film 220.
  • Additionally, an infrared-based (IR) sensor can also be used for detecting the surface film 220. This is based on the principle that evaporation requires energy and leads to cooling of the water surface. Evaporation requires heat of evaporation that is withdrawn from the water surface leading to a reduction in the water temperature. Therefore evaporation suppression may cause a slight raise in the water surface temperature. Common commercial IR-based sensors are available that will detect temperature differences as small as 0.1 deg. These sensors are small and use relatively low power, and therefore may be mounted to airborne platforms or towers.
  • For example, the surface temperature field of a body of water 212 undergoing evaporation may be measured using infrared imaging techniques, demonstrating the effect of surface film 220 on the spatial structure of this field. Measurements were obtained from a water surface, which was covered with a surface film 220 of the surfactant oleyl alcohol, and also from a surface, which was free of surfactants. The oleyl alcohol and surfactant-free experiments were compared at equivalent heat fluxes. The presence of surfactants increased the characteristic length scale of the surface temperature field. This conclusion is supported by both visual observation of the infrared imagery and spatial Fourier transforms of the temperature fields. The presence of the surfactant surface film 220 had a small effect on the root mean square of the temperature field but significantly affected the skewness, creating a more positively skewed probability density function for the surfactant covered water surface. Thus, as can be seen, there is the potential ability to use infrared photography to observe variations in the surface temperature of the hod of water 212 to determine which areas of the body of water 212 have a sufficient coverage of surface film 220.
  • In yet another example, the radar-based sensor may use airborne microwave radiometer measurements over the surface film 220 to measure the difference between area of the body of eater 212 that are not covered by the surface film 220, area where coverage is insufficient, area with a sufficient coverage, and/or areas where the surface film 220 has accumulated. Using the radar-based sensor may be similar to experiments conducted with artificial crude-oil spills that have shown a brightness temperature increase of the sea surface at 1.43 GHz as expected from a multilayered system with different dielectric constants. It is postulated that the surface film 220, because of its physical and chemical properties, may polarize the underlying water molecules so strongly that the emissivity is decreased from 0.31 to 0.016. Because these phenomena occurred at 1.43 GHz, this frequency may be very close to the center of a new anomalous dispersion region resulting from a restructuring of the water layer below the surface film 220.
  • The fluid conduit 250 may include any number of valves to physically control the flow of the collected surface film 220 through the fluid conduit 250. For example, the pump 260 may include a valve along each of the connections with each of the fluid conduit openings 235. When the control system 280 sends the control signal to the pump 260, the valves may be opened or closed to either allow for the collection of the surface film 220, or provide for the expulsion of the surface film 220. As one can see, the control system 280 may be capable of controlling all of the fluid conduit openings 235 such that the proper collection and expulsion of the surface film 220 may be provided to ensure for sufficient coverage of the body of water. Furthermore, the control system 280 may be capable of changing the collection, expulsion, and flow of the surface film 220 depending on sensed coverage condition. For example, when the wind changes direction, the control system 280 may calibrate the valves, pump 260 and fluid conduits 235 to collect and expel the surface film 220 differently, as needed.
  • The fluid conduit openings 235 described herein may be characterized as a plurality of surface film skimmers (‘skimmers’) and/or surface film expellers (‘expellers’). The skimmers may include any device that is capable of skimming the surface film 220 off of the surface of the body of water 212. For example, the skimmers may include a filtering material that allows for skimming the surface film 220 off of the body of water 212 as efficiently as possible, as opposed to collecting the surface film 220 with a substantial amount of water. The expellers may include any device that is capable of expelling the surface film 220 on the surface of the body of water 212. For example, the expellers may include a structure that allows for releasing the collected surface film 220 proximate to the surface of the body of water in a manner that allows for sufficient and proper dispersion of the surface film 220 onto the body of water 212. In addition, the skimmer and expeller may be combined into a skimmer-expeller device that functions both as a skimmer and an expeller. This may be preferable within the system 210 when used with a body of water 212 that is subject to external forces, since the need for collection and expulsion of the surface film 220 in different locations will be present.
  • Depending on the conditions that the body of water 212 is exposed to, the system 210 may be activated substantially continuously, or it may be activated and deactivated when needed, such as on command. For example, when the body of water 212 is a canal with a relatively constant flow of water in one direction, the coverage of the surface film 220 may be relatively constant as well. However, at some point along the canal, the surface film 220 may be collected and transported via the fluid conduit 250 back to a beginning or upstream point on the canal. Thus, when the external forces including flow of the body of water 212 are relatively constant, the system 210 may be operated substantially continuously. However, when the system 210 is used with bodies of water 212 that are subject to many external forces, which change over time, the system 210 may be operated based on the need for surface film 220 distribution. In other words, the sensing device 284 may sense when there is a need for surface film 220 distribution, and the system 210 may operate accordingly.
  • FIG. 4 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system 310 for use with a body of water 312, in accordance with a fourth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 310 for use with a body of water 312, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 310,’ may be substantially similar to the systems of other embodiments described herein. Accordingly, any of the components, features, or functioning described with respect to other embodiments of this disclosure may be included with the system 310. The system 310 includes a surface film 320 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 312 (for clarity, the surface film 320 is identified on only portions of the body of water 312). A plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 335 is positioned in various locations proximate to the body of water 312, wherein each of the skimmer-expeller devices 335 is positioned in a distinct location. A plurality of fluid conduit 350 connects the skimmer-expeller devices 335. A mixture of surface film 320 and water is collected from the body of water 312, wherein the mixture of surface film 320 and water located in the fluid conduit 350. A pump 360 is in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 350.
  • As is shown in FIG. 4, a large number of skimmer-expeller devices 335 are included proximate to the surface of the body of water 312. The wind direction, as indicated by arrow 370, may be directed from one side of the body of water 312 to the other side, thereby creating an upside of the body of water 312, identified as the second area 342, and a downwind side of the body of water 312, identified as the first area 332. A plurality of fluid conduits 350 are located along the perimeter of the body of water 312, and a plurality of pumps 360 are in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 350. The surface film 320 may be transported from the skimmer-expeller devices 335 located on the first side 332 of the body of water 312, through the fluid conduit 350 by use of the pumps 360, and to the plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 335 located on the second side 342 of the body of water 312. A tank 351 may be provided, wherein the tank 351 contains additional surface film 320 material that may be injected into the system 310 to compensate for degradation of the surface film 320 in the body of water 312.
  • As is shown in FIG. 4, a plurality of primary valves 349 may be provided to control the flow along the fluid conduit 350. A plurality of secondary valves 348 may be provided to control the flow from primary valves 349 to each group of skimmer-expeller devices 335. Additionally, any number of wires 351 may be provided to transmit power from a power supplier 354 to the pimps 360. The wires 351 may also be connected to a control system 380 that provides control signals to the primary and secondary valves 349, 348. The sensing device 384 may be mounted on a tower 359 to provide sensed surface film coverage condition data to the control system 380. The surface films 320 may move across the water surface in the wind direction 370, wherein the system of pumps 360 and the primary and secondary valves 349, 348 pump the surface film 320 from the first area 332 of the body of water, to the skimmer-expeller devices 335 located upwind in the second area 342 of the body of water 312.
  • FIG. 5 is a partial top view illustration of a surface film distribution system 310 for use with a body of water 312, in accordance with the fourth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. As can be seen, a plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 335 are positioned about the perimeter of the body of water 312, each of which is connected to the fluid conduit 350. A plurality of primary valves 349 and secondary valves 348 are in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 350. As can be seen, the primary valves 349 may be connected within a main line of the fluid conduit 350, thereby controlling the flow of the collected surface film 320 within the fluid conduit 350 around the body of water 312. The secondary valves 348 may be connected between the skimmer-expeller device 335 and the fluid conduit 350 itself, such as by being located within the connection conduit 353 that connects the skimmer-expeller device 335 with the fluid conduit 350.
  • The primarily, and secondary valves 349, 348 may control the flow of the surface film 320 within the fluid conduit 350, thereby controlling the flow of surface film 320 to and from the body of water 312. For example, as the wind, denoted by arrow 370, pushes the surface film 320 on the surface of the body of water 312 from the second area 342 to the first area 332, the skimmer-expeller devices 335 located proximate first area 332 may collect the accumulated surface film 320. The collected surface film 320 may then be transported to the skimmer-expeller devices 335 located in the second area 342, so the collected surface film 320 may be expelled back onto the body of water 312. When this process occurs, the primary and secondary valves 349, 348 proximate to the first area 332 may be open, so the surface film 320 may be collected by the skimmer-expeller devices 335, and the primary and secondary valves 349, 348 within the second area 342 may be open, so the collected surface film 320 can be expelled. Likewise, the rest of the primary valves 349 within the system 310 may be open, to allow the collected surface film 320 to be moved within the fluid conduit. However, the secondary valves 348 that are located between the first area 332 and the second area 342, i.e., the primary and secondary valves 349, 348 that are not located within a substantial accumulation area of the surface film 320 or in a substantially decreased coverage area of the surface film 320, may be closed. Closing these secondary valves 348 may prevent collected surface film 320 from being expelled in an area of the body of water 312 where the surface film 320 is not needed, such as an area that has sufficient surface film 320 coverage.
  • Many additionally components and features may be included with the system 310, as well as the systems described in the other embodiments of this disclosure. For example, the skimmer-expeller devices 335 described with respect to FIGS. 4-5, as well as the fluid conduit 350, may from tune to time accumulate debris and scum from the body of water 312, which may obstruct the flow of the surface film 320 therein. In order to clear the debris, a secondary valve 348 within the connection conduit 353 may be turned off temporarily for maintenance, such that a few or only one pair of primary and secondary valves 349, 348 are open while all the other are closed. The pump 360 may then be turned on to pump water from the body of water 312 to displace the debris. The debris may be expelled into the body of water 312 (or expelled outside the body of water 312) and collected for disposal. If necessary, a conduit may be included to dispose of the expelled debris and scum deep in the body of water 312 away from the skimmer-expeller devices 335.
  • FIG. 6 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system 410 for use with a body of water 412, in accordance with a fifth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 410 for use with a body of water 412, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 410,’ may be substantially similar to the systems of other embodiments described herein. Accordingly, any of the components, features, or functioning described with respect to other embodiments of this disclosure may be included with the system 410. The system 410 includes a surface film 420 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 412 (for clarity, the surface film 420 is identified on only portions of the body of water 412). A plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 435 is positioned in various locations proximate to the body of water 412, wherein each of the skimmer-expeller devices 435 is positioned in a distinct location. A plurality of fluid conduit 450 connects the skimmer-expeller devices 435. A mixture of surface film 420 and water is collected from the body of water 412, wherein the mixture of surface film 420 and water located in the fluid conduit 450. A pump 460 is in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 450.
  • The bed of the body of water 412 may not always be horizontal. In most or many cases the bed of the body of water 412 is inclined. Therefore, in a dry year or a dry season, the body of water 412 may not be full and the water may recede from a normal water level perimeter 490 to a dry-water level perimeter 492. To account for the changes in the water level and the surface area of the body of water 412, the system 410 may include a plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 435 that are located at various positions along the perimeter of the body of water 412, or the skimmer-expeller devices 435 may be relocated.
  • For example, as is shown in FIG. 6, the normal water level perimeter 490 may be the maximum area of the body of water 412, whereas the dry-water level perimeter 492 (indicated with broken lines) may be the substantial minimum area of the body of water 412. Groups of skimmer-expeller devices 435 may be arranged in series and extend into the body of water 412. In FIG. 6, a group of three skimmer-expeller devices 435 are shown in series. When the reservoir is full, any portion of the skimmer-expeller devices 435 including all of the skimmer-expeller devices 435 within the group of skimmer-expeller devices 435 may be in operation, depending on the need of the system 412. However, when the water decreases to the dry-water level perimeter 492, the skimmer-expeller devices 435 that are not located within the water may be shut off to prevent the skimmer-expeller device 435 that is not located within the body of water 412 from collecting air within the system 410. Accumulating air within the fluid conduit 450 and pump 460 may hinder, or be detrimental to the operation of the system 410.
  • Thus, as can be seen, various skimmer-expeller devices 435 may be turned on or off, respectively, as is needed by the system 410 to prevent a gap in coverage of the surface film 420, or an accumulation of the surface film 420 from external forces, such as the wind. As with previous embodiments, a determination of the coverage of the surface film 420 on the body of water 412 may be determined by a sensing device 484, which may be located on a tower 459, or other device, such as a balloon or aerial support. A control system 480 may be used to communicate the sensed coverage condition to the pump 460, or other components of the system 410. Of course, any combination of the skimmer-expeller devices 435 may be needed with changing wind conditions, and therefore any of the skimmer-expeller devices 435 may be turned on or off accordingly.
  • FIG. 7 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system 510 for use with a body of water 512, in accordance with a sixth exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 510 for use with a body of water 512, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 510,’ may be substantially similar to the systems of other embodiments described herein. Accordingly, any of the components, features, or functioning described with respect to other embodiments of this disclosure may be included with the system 510. The system 510 includes a surface film 520 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 512 (for clarity, the surface film 520 is identified on only portions of the body of water 512). A plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 535 is positioned in various locations proximate to the body of water 512, wherein each of the skimmer-expeller devices 535 is positioned in a distinct location. A plurality of fluid conduit 550 connects the skimmer-expeller devices 535. A mixture of surface film 520 and water is collected from the body of water 512, wherein the mixture of surface film 520 and water located in the fluid conduit 550. A pump 560 is in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 550. A sensing device 584 may sense the surface film 520 and a control system 580 may instruct the pump 560 accordingly.
  • It is entirely possible that some bodies of water 512 on which this disclosure is applied are very large, such as for example, large reservoirs for major cities, or large lakes in arid climates. Due to the large size of these bodies of water 512, additional specific characteristics may apply, such as wind pattern and hydrological concerns. To account for these specific characteristics, the system 510 may include partitions 598 that divide the body of water 512 into sections. Each of the different sections may include an array of skimmer-expeller devices 535 that may be controlled independently of skimmer-expeller devices 535 in other sections. The partitions 598 used may be connected by submerged pipes to enable, for example, boating on certain sections of the body of water 512. The design of such partitions 598 may be specific to each body of water 512 but the principles of applications may be the same in this case as shown in previous embodiments described in this disclosure.
  • FIG. 8 is a top view illustration of a surface film distribution system 610 for use with a body of water 612, in accordance with a seventh exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. The surface film distribution system 610 for use with a body of water 612, which may be referred to herein as ‘system 610,’ may be substantially similar to the systems of other embodiments described herein. Accordingly, any of the components, features, or functioning described with respect to other embodiments of this disclosure may be included with the system 610. The system 610 includes a surface film 620 positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water 612 (for clarity, the surface film 620 is identified on only portions of the body of water 612). A plurality of skimmer-expeller devices 635 is positioned in various locations proximate to the body of water 612, wherein each of the skimmer-expeller devices 635 is positioned in a distinct location. A plurality of fluid conduit 650 connects the skimmer-expeller devices 635. A mixture of surface film 620 and water is collected from the body of water 612, wherein the mixture of surface film 620 and water located in the fluid conduit 650. A pump 660 is in fluid connection with the fluid conduit 650. A sensing device 684 may sense the surface film 620 and a control system 680 may instruct the pump 660 accordingly.
  • Although the systems described herein may be used on a body of water 612 that experiences substantial external conditions, such as a significant amount of wind, the systems 610 may also be used on bodies of water 612 when substantially no external conditions are present, such as no wind, or very little wind. In this case, the surface film 620 that is expelled through the skimmer-expeller devices 635 may not spread out on the surface of the body of water 612 quick enough for form a film on the surface. To account for this, the system 610 may include a plurality of submerged conduits 658 that each lead to different locations within the body of water 612. The collected surface film 620 may then be pumped through these submerged conduits 658 and expelled through an outlet 659 at the end of the submerged conduit 658. This surface film 620 expelled through these outlets 659 may be sufficient, either alone or in combination with any of the skimmer-expeller devices 635, to provide adequate coverage of the body of water 612 with the surface film 620.
  • This concept of expelling surface film 620 within an interior of the body of water 612, as opposed to just around the perimeter of the body of water 612, may include many variations. For example, a single submerged conduit 658 may be used with an outlet 659 that is placed within the middle of the body of water 612. For example, the outlet 659 may be positioned to float on the surface of the body of water 612 with the submerged conduit 658 connected thereto. The surface film 620 may then be pumped through the single submerged conduit 658 and to the outlet 659 for distribution to the middle of the body of water 612. Of course, other variations may be included with what is described herein, all of which are considered within the scope of the present disclosure.
  • In another mode of operation of the system in accordance with the embodiments described herein, the system may be operated continuously to the point where there is a very small rate of surface film material to redistribute. As such, the system may be mainly redistributing water from the body of water, with little or no surface film mixed with the water. In this instance, it may be beneficial to operate the system intermittently to let the surface film accumulate slightly. For example, deactivating the system for a few hours may allow the surface film to accumulate slightly. Then, when there is a desired amount of accumulated surface the system may be activated to collect the surface film and distribute it to the skimmer-expeller devices over a period time. This may take as little as just a few minutes. In this instance, the flow rate through the pumps and fluid conduits might be higher to allow a better and proper function of the flow system.
  • To assist in providing clarity in disclosure of the concepts discussed herein, the following examples are provided:
  • Example 1
  • FIGS. 9-11 are illustrations of surface film experiments, in accordance with example 1 of this disclosure. Specifically. FIGS. 9-11 provide background material on wind wave tank experiments, the effects of circular air and film motion in the tank, and a graph that shows performance of evaporation retardation due to the circular motion of the monolayer films, respectively. In FIG. 9, the wall of the tank 1 houses blades of the wind vane 2. The wall of the tank 1 forms an annulus of the tank 3 that is capable of holding a quantity of water. One or more heating elements 4 may be submerged in the water, and is powered with a power supply 5. In FIG. 10, the annulus of the tank 3 includes a quantity of water 8 that has a monolayer film 9 suspended within or on top of the upper surface of the quantity of water 8. The monolayer film 9 moves in endless circles due to the shear stress induced by the circular air motion over the water surface. FIG. 11 is a graph that summarizes the lab experiment of evaporation with and without monolayer cover. As shown, the monolayer film 9 (FIG. 10) has been effective in reducing the mass transfer coefficient in the tank by about 70-75% up to a wind speed of 13-14 meter/sec.
  • During development of the presently described technology, experiments were conducted at the Air-Sea Interaction Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT) where momentum and enthalpy transfers over water at high wind speeds were investigated. One experiment used a circular wind wave tank made of two concentric walls with a rotor powered by an electric motor that moves the air over the water surface. Submerged heating elements were used to add heat to the water as needed to provide the latent heat of evaporation. The rotor was placed to move a quantity of air over the water, the motion of which enhances evaporation and mass transfer from the water into the ambient air of the laboratory. Humidity and temperature sensors were placed in the room and this information is fed into a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). A thermocouple was used to measures the temperature of the water in the tank and this information was also fed into the PLC. The duration of the experiments varied between 500 and 5,000 minutes. The temperature of the water was always kept equal to the temperature of the lab ambient to prevent heat transfer out and into tank from the ambient so the measured power into the heating elements is the only energy provided for evaporation from the tank.
  • Experiments to establish mass transfer coefficients for evaporative losses were conducted at various wind speeds with and without monolayer covers. Monolayer materials for evaporation retardation that proved to be effective in these and previous experiments are fatty alcohols, cetyl and stryl hexadecanol and octadecanol, respectively (La Mer 1962). The polar molecules are oriented so that the hydrophilic end faces the water and hydrophobic end is oriented away from the water creating an effective diffusion barrier for evaporation.
  • The mass transfer coefficient with and without the monolayer was calculated using the following finite difference equation:
  • C k = m tot V air A 1 n ρ sat , wi ( 1 - φ i ) Δ t
  • Where mtot is the total mass of water evaporated during an experiment, Vair is the air velocity at 10 meters above the water surface. A is the water surface or the cross sectional area of the tank, ρsat,wi is the saturation density of water vapor at the water surface measured each minute, φ1 is the relative humidity in the ambient air of the laboratory, and Δt is one minute. The results for the mass transfer coefficients with and without monolayer are shown in FIG. 11. As shown, an approximate 70-75% reduction in the mass transfer coefficient was achieved at wind speeds of less than 14 in/sec.
  • The air speed in the tank was measured at a height of 0.285 meter above the water surface. However, in experiments done in the tank that measured momentum transfer between the air and the water it was possible to measure and calculate the “friction velocity” for each air speed over the tank. This, together with the assumption of logarithmic velocity profile of wind enables calculation of the extrapolated air velocity at 10 meters above the water surface as a function of the actual measured air speed at 0.285 meters above the water surface in the tank.
  • The explanation for the performance of the monolayer in the wind wave tank is as follows. In the circular wind wave tank, the monolayer films were moving endlessly in circles due to the circular air motion. Monolayer material could not be piled or compressed as in a water reservoir subjected to unidirectional air motion. The moving film as discovered in these experiments, up to a certain wind speed, is as good as a stationary film in retardation of evaporation. The present disclosure suggests a method for implementing a moving monolayer and other films to recycle monolayer material repeatedly from one side of the water reservoir to another and by that to achieve the evaporation retardation performances that resemble the performances obtained in the circular wind wave tank.
  • Example 2
  • In accordance with the embodiments of this disclosure, the following is an example to demonstrate the amount of monolayer material required with recycling of the film material as outlined in this disclosure and without recycling. Assume a water reservoir the width of which is 500 meter in the direction of the wind. Assume also wind speed of 10 kilometer per hour. Assume also that the lifetime of the monolayer before its degradation is seven days or 168 hours.
  • Experiments and calculations have shown that the film-drifting speed due the wind is approximately 1/30 of the speed of the wind (vine 1962). Therefore if the wind speed is 10 kilometer per hour the film speed is roughly 333 meter per hour. For a reservoir width of 500 meter in the direction of the wind the film that is dispersed from the perimeter upwind it will take 500/333=1.5 hours to reach the downwind side of the reservoir. In other words, although the monolayer lifetime is 7 days or 168 hours its effectiveness is only during its traveler, which is only 1.5 hours. On the other hand, when the monolayer material is recycled the monolayer is effective for 168 hours or 112 times of the effectiveness without recycling. Assuming that the residence time of the mixture of monolayer and water in the pipe that transports it from skimmers to expellers is the same as the time that it took the an to travel across the reservoir, it would mean that with recycling the amount of monolayer material required is only 1/56 or only 2 percent of the amount of material required without recycling. Obviously dispersing monolayer material without recycling which is 56 times larger than the material required with recycling might be unacceptable both due to monolayer material cost and due to environmental consideration.
  • FIG. 12 is a flowchart 700 illustrating a method for redistributing a surface film 20 on a surface of a body of water 12, in accordance with the first exemplary embodiment of the disclosure. It should be noted that any process descriptions or blocks in flow charts should be understood as representing modules, segments, portions of code, or steps that include one or more instructions for implementing specific logical functions in the process, and alternate implementations are included within the scope of the present disclosure iii which functions may be executed out of order from that shown or discussed, including substantially concurrently or in reverse order, depending on the functionality involved, as would be understood by those reasonably skilled in the art of the present disclosure.
  • As is shown by block 702, a quantity of the surface film 20 is collected on the surface of the body of water 12 in a first position on the body of water 12 in a first fluid conduit opening 30. The quantity of collected surface film 20 is transported to a second fluid conduit opening 40 with at least one fluid conduit 50 (Block 704). A flow of the quantity of collected surface film 20 within the at least one fluid conduit 50 is controlled with a pump 60 (Block 706). At least part of the quantity of collected surface film 20 is expelled on to the surface of the body of water 12 in a second position on the body of water 12 from the second fluid conduit opening 40, wherein the second position on the body of water 12 is different from the first position on the body of water 12 (Block 708).
  • The method may include any number of additional steps, processes, or functions, including any of which have been described with respect to FIGS. 1-11. For example, the method may include the step of controlling the pump with a control system in communication with the pump. A desired rate of collected surface film expulsion may be calculated with the control system. At least part of the quantity of collected surface film may be expelled on to the surface of the body of water in the second position on the body of water at the calculated rate. A coverage condition of the surface film on a portion of the surface of the body of water may be sensed with at least one sensing device, wherein the at least one sensing device in communication with the control system. This may include sensing a wind direction, sensing the coverage condition of the surface film optically, sensing the coverage condition of the surface film with an infrared sensor, and/or sensing the coverage condition of the surface film with a radar sensor. The first position may be a location of the body of water that is proximate to a sensed coverage condition having an accumulation of surface film and the second position may be a location of the body of water that is proximate to a sensed coverage condition having a relative absence of surface film. Additionally, a surface flow direction or rate of the surface film across the surface of the body of water may be determined with the at least one sensing device.
  • It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present disclosure, particularly, any “preferred” embodiments, are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) of the disclosure without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the disclosure. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and the present disclosure and protected by the following claims.

Claims (20)

1. A surface film distribution system for use with a body of water, the surface film distribution system comprising:
a surface film positioned on a surface of at least a portion of the body of water;
a first fluid conduit opening positioned in a first location proximate to the surface of the body of water;
a second fluid conduit opening positioned in a second location proximate to the surface of the body of water;
at least one fluid conduit connecting the first fluid conduit opening and the second fluid conduit opening,
a mixture of surface film and water collected from the body of water, the mixture of surface film and water located in the at least one fluid conduit; and
a pump in fluid connection with the at least one fluid conduit.
2. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, further comprising a control system in communication with the pump to transmit control signals to the pump, the pump thereby controlling a flow of the collected mixture of surface film and water through the at least one fluid conduit.
3. The surface film distribution system of claim 2, further comprising a sensing device in communication with the control system, wherein the sensing device senses at least one surface film coverage condition and outputs a signal to the control system relative to the surface film coverage condition, wherein the at least one sensed surface film coverage condition influences the control of the flow of a quantity of collected surface film through the at least one fluid conduit by the control system.
4. The surface film distribution system of claim 3, wherein the sensing device is at least one of a wind sensor, an optical sensor, an infrared sensor, and a radar-based sensor.
5. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first fluid conduit opening and the second fluid conduit opening thither comprises at least one of a surface film skimmer and a surface film expeller.
6. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, wherein each of the first fluid conduit opening and the second fluid conduit opening further comprises surface film skimmer-expeller device.
7. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, further comprising at least a third fluid conduit opening connected to the at least one fluid conduit, wherein each of the first, second, and third fluid conduit openings is positioned in a distinct position in the body of water proximate to the surface.
8. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, wherein the first fluid conduit opening further comprises a flotation element, wherein the first fluid conduit opening floats on the surface of the body of water.
9. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, wherein the at least one fluid conduit is positioned at least partially below the surface of the body of water.
10. The surface film distribution system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of valves positioned within the at least one fluid conduit, the plurality of valves controlling a flow of a quantity of collected mixture of surface film and water in the at least one fluid conduit.
11. A method for redistributing a surface film on a surface of a body of water, the method comprising the steps of:
collecting a quantity of the surface film on the surface of the body of water in a first position on the body of water in a first fluid conduit opening;
transporting the quantity of collected surface film to a second fluid conduit opening with at least one fluid conduit;
controlling a flow of the quantity of collected surface film within the at least one fluid conduit with a pump; and
expelling at least part of the quantity of collected surface film on to the surface of the body of water in a second position on the body of water from the second fluid conduit opening, wherein the second position on the body of water is different from the first position on the body of water.
12. The method of claim 11, further comprising the step of controlling the pump with a control system in communication with the pump.
13. The method of claim 12, further comprising the steps of:
calculating a desired rate of collected surface film expulsion with the control system; and
expelling at least part of the quantity of collected surface film on to the surface of the body of water in the second position on the body of water at the calculated rate.
14. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of sensing a coverage condition of the surface film on a portion of the surface of the body of water with at least one sensing device, the at least one sensing device in communication with the control system.
15. The method of claim H, wherein the step of sensing the coverage condition of the surface film further comprises at least one of:
sensing a wind direction;
sensing the coverage condition of the surface film optically;
sensing the coverage condition of the surface film with an infrared sensor; and
sensing the coverage condition of the surface film with a radar sensor.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein the first position is a location of the body of water proximate to a sensed coverage condition having an accumulation of surface film and the second position is a location of the body of water proximate to a sensed coverage condition having a relative absence of surface film.
17. The method of claim 14, further comprising the step of determining a surface flow direction of the surface film across the surface of the body of water with the at least one sensing device.
18. The method of claim 14, further comprising the step of determining a surface flow rate of the surface film across the surface of the body of water with the at least one sensing device.
19. A system for surface film redistribution on a surface of a body of water, the system comprising:
a surface film movable across the surface of the body of water from a first location on the body of water to a second location on the body of water;
a plurality of skimmer-expeller devices positioned along a perimeter of at least a portion of the body of water,
connecting the plurality of skimmer-expeller devices fluidly with a fluid conduit network having a plurality of fluid conduits, wherein a first skimmer-expeller device of the plurality of skimmer-expeller devices is positioned in the first location and a second skimmer-expeller device of the plurality of skimmer-expeller devices is positioned in the second location;
a pump in fluid connection with the fluid conduit network,
a computerized control unit in communication with the pump, wherein the computerized control unit controls a flow of a quantity of collected surface film through the fluid conduct network; and
a sensor in communication with the computerized control unit and positioned to sense at least one coverage condition of the surface film on the surface of the body of water, wherein a quantity of collected surface film is pumped through the fluid conduit network based at least in part on the sensed at least one coverage condition.
20. The system of claim 19, wherein the sensed at least one coverage condition of the surface film further comprises at least one of a relative absence of the surface film in the first position and an accumulation of the surface film in the second location.
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