Sea State Independent Oil Skimming System (SOS System)
Patent 08036/TUB

With the invention of the SOS system, it is possible to skim oil slicks from the surface of the water, i.e. to absorb them, even in heavy seas.

  1. Environmentally friendly operation
  2. Easy maintenance and repair
  3. The SOS system can be designed as an integral part of the ship and, in the event of an oil spill, can be operated directly on site and start cleaning.
  4. A few parts of the SOS system that are not directly designed as an integral part of the ship can be easily retrofitted.
  5. The Moonpool module can also be used as a normal cargo tank
  6. No rigging of skimmers or other oil absorbers in the water
  7. The system can be fully monitored and operated from the wheelhouse
  8. Skimming efficiency of the SOS system is unrivalled, especially in rough seas as the skimming speed of the system is either with or against the swell more than twice as high as with known systems
Possible Applications

The SOS system could be used not only to combat oil spills, but also for the necessary and planned dismantling of production platforms. In general, the SOS system can prevent or at least dramatically mitigate environmental disasters as a result of accidents.


With ships and equipment available today, it is hardly possible to pick up oil slicks, carpets of algae or even smaller solid particles floating on or directly under the water surface in the sea, with moderate to medium swells, or to swim off the water. However, since these sea conditions are almost always encountered on the open sea, successful oil skimming with the existing oil spill control equipment is only very inadequate or even impossible.

Technical Description

For this reason, scientists at the TU Berlin have developed and patented an oil spill control system called “SOS” in recent years – with the support of the Ministry of Economics of the Federal Republic of Germany. With this innovative system, the oil is not chemically bound to the seabed, nor is it burnt at the water surface. Instead, it is collected with the help of the SOS system, separated from the water in the ship (in the so-called moon pool) and stored in tanks on board, while the purified water is returned to the sea. With this system, the oil collected would also be available as a resalable product if necessary. In principle, it is also conceivable to collect smaller solids such as plastic waste from the water surface with this system. First NEW-LOGISTICS GmbH, later its successor company FUTURA-SHIPS GmbH, accompanied this development and integrated the core system into its dual-use concept for multi-purpose ships of its patented FUTURA type. In this way it was possible to make the first real trips with the system and to successfully prove its actual effectiveness.

Contact Us

Ina Krüger

Technology Transfer Manager

+49 (0)30 314-75916

Technology Readiness Level

System prototype demonstration in operational environment

Property Rights

pending: ae, BR
approved: CA, DE, EA, ES, NO, PT, SE, US

Patent Holder

Technische Universität Berlin

Possible Cooperation
  • Patent Purchase
  • Licensing
  • R&D Cooperation