Englewood, CO-based Advanced Flotation Technologies has developed a patent pending process to keep semi-submersible drilling rigs afloat in a disaster such as a hurricane, or loss of buoyancy.
The AFT concept depends upon a sophisticated monitor and control program which is activated by critical attitude or list of the rig and in some cases the intake of water.
When either the water intake or the list exceeds a predetermined “norm” the computer sends electronic signals that inflate a series of large, robust bags in a pattern needed to keep the rig level and afloat. As conditions change, the program inflates or deflates the bag system to keep the rig stable.
The inflatable bags are fabricated from coated, ballistic woven nylon material. The coatings, either rubber or polymer, are formulated not to support nutrient growth and to be highly resistant to corrosive fluids. The number of bags required to keep very large objects such as ships and rigs afloat, is determined by their inherent weight in water.
The bags are stowed, deflated and rolled, inside a permanently attached, covered container that houses them until deployment is necessary. The next step is the construction and test of a sub-scale proof of concept model. AFT is seeking Industry partners for this effort.
The company says that the flotation devices can be easily manufactured in any shape and size to meet requirements.