Google Impact Challenge

Oil Spill Wand receives Google grant

15 October 2014

Wildlife affected by oil spills will soon have access to dry cleaning thanks to a $250,000 Google grant awarded to the Penguin Foundation for new technology being developed in Victoria, Australia.

The technology, dubbed the ‘Oil Spill Wand’, works when iron powder is applied to an oiled animal and binds with the oil. A magnetic wand is then waved over the animal, drawing up the metallic powder and oil. Traditional oil spill cleaning methods rely on hot water and detergent, and wildlife are easily stressed while scrubbed clean or transported and housed in special facilities.

The technology is part of a joint research and development program being conducted by researchers at the Penguin Foundation and Professor John Orbell at Victoria University. 

“The value in this technology is how it allows a quick clean in the field so the more toxic or corrosive components can be removed from the wildlife as quickly as possible,” Professor Orbell said. “This greatly enhances the animal’s survival chances after their release.”

The project was one of 10 finalists in the Google Impact Challenge Australia - a Google grant competition for charities developing technologies to tackle global problems and transform lives.  Four finalists were awarded $500k based on public votes and a judging panel. The remaining six, including the Oil Spill Wand, were awarded $250k from Google. 

“On behalf of the Penguin Foundation, thank you to everyone who voted for the project during the Google Impact Challenge Australia,” said Dr Peter Dann from the Penguin Foundation.

“We’re enormously grateful to Google Australia for their support of the project, and very proud to have reached the top 10 of over 300 entrants.”

Oil spills have a devastating effect on the environment but with the funding the team aim to further develop the Oil Spill Wand and dramatically reduce the impact oil spills have on wildlife, including penguins, otters and even turtles. The project team hopes to make the Oil Spill Wand available to Wildlife Rescue Centres across the world within three years. 

Media Contact: 
Roland Pick
Ph: +61 418 402 161 or +61 3 5951 2825                    Email: rpick@penguins.org.au

Luke Skywaddle needs your vote



 

Vote for the Penguin Foundation in the Google Impact Challenge

Each year over 100,000 seabirds die from oil spills. With your vote we can change the outcome. 

The Penguin Foundation, has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the Google Impact Challenge. With your vote we can receive a grant of AU$500,000 from Google to develop the 'Oil Spill Wand' - new technology that will dramatically improve the survival of oiled wildlife across the world. 

Take 30 seconds to vote for the Penguin Foundation today!

Voting closes October 13.


Google identifies Phillip Island charity with global impact

A world-first technology developed in Victoria with the assistance of Phillip Island’s Penguin Foundation has been named one of 10 finalists in the Google Impact Challenge Australia – a Google grant program for Australian charities developing technologies to tackle global problems and transform lives.  

The Victorian technology, dubbed the ‘oil spill wand’, is set to revolutionise the way oiled wildlife are cleaned, resulting in less stress to oiled animals, and a faster and cheaper oil spill cleaning method.

Traditional oil spill cleaning methods involve scrubbing oiled wildlife with warm water and detergent, often resulting in stress to the animal. The oil spill wand works when metallic powder is applied to oiled wildlife and binds with the oil. A magnetic wand is then waved over the animal, drawing up the metallic powder and oil.

The Penguin Foundation is urging Victorians to head to the Google Impact Challenge website and Vote 1 Oil Spill Wand’.

An estimated 114,000 seabirds, turtles and marine mammals were affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 -  the most recent in a long series of disastrous oil spills around the world that have decimated wildlife populations. 

“Oil spills have a devastating effect on the environment but with the oil spill wand we can dramatically reduce the impact they have on wildlife such as penguins,” Dr Peter Dann from the Penguin Foundation said.

“Our aim is to be able to take the oil spill wand to the site of the oiled birds and clean the birds quickly, with less stress and ultimately, we hope, in a releasable condition after 15- 20 minutes if the oil is no longer an immediate threat.”

Four winners of the Google Impact Challenge Australia will receive a $500,000 grant and technical assistance from Google. One winner will be determined by public voting which closes on October 13, Australian time.

Vote 1 for the Oil Spill Wand