Gallery: Kevin Costner Cleaning up the Gulf with His Oil Separating Tec...


No, we are not kidding. Neither is Kevin Costner. When the Exxon Valdez catastrophe happened in 1989, the actor, fisherman and environmentalist was horrified. So he went searching for an answer to cleaning up oil spills and found one – enormous vacuums that separate oil from water. Costner bought the technology from the government 15 years ago and invested $24 million dollars of his personal fortune to develop it. His company is called Ocean Therapy Solutions and they have 24 machines at the ready capable of separating up to 210,000 gallons of oil from the water a day which BP has agreed to test in the gulf. Video of the technology after the jump.

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It seems Costner’s brother Dan is a scientist and has been working with him to develop the technology for the past decade and a half. They approached BP with their proposal and the company has agreed to take the machines out to the gulf to see if they work. A large scale test hasn’t happened yet because, well, Costner needed to wait for an oil spill. In small tests the machines can separate oil and water in their centrifuge compartments and return water to the ocean 99.9% pure. Now that he’s got his chance to prove his technological chops he told a news conference in New Orleans, “I’m very happy the light of day has come to this.” He remarked that though the situation we’re in is very sad, he developed his technology for precisely when this type of disaster struck.

Strike it did, and scientists are now reporting that the spill is much larger than initially estimated by BP, perhaps gushing ten times as much oil into the gulf each day as previously thought. The government is simultaneously being blamed for lack of regulations and is conducting hearings to see who else might be at fault. The oil spill has officially reached the Louisiana wetlands and recently entered a current in the gulf that could make matters much worse. If Costner’s technology does what it looks like it can, perhaps he’s making his real-life hero debut right before our eyes.

Via NY Times Green


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  1. Kevin Costner Announces... June 11, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    […] Kevin Costner announced that 32 of the half-million-dollar centrifuge machines he’s been proposing for use in Gulf cleanup operations have now been ordered by BP. His business partner says they hope to have […]

  2. casey stieferman May 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Hey Kevin, This is Casey Stieferman I fixed you Breakfast and lunch at the Seabiscuit Cafe in Isle of Palms SC. Thank you for signing my Biscuit Shirt. I think it is great that you have this technology and are doing everthing you can to help in the gulf disaster. I know i am only one person but how can i help. I feel helpless.

  3. Crosius May 22, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Unfortunately, 210,000 gallons is only 6774 barrels (US) of oil. The estimated daily output of the leak may be as high as 84,000 barrels a _day_.

    Even if BP uses all of Costner’s machines, they’ll have to be part of a much larger strategy to deal with all the material the well is spewing.

  4. bloodfiredeath May 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    it is pretty awesome that someone is actually doing something about this. funny it has to be a movie star and not a genius like joel4039, where’s your giant vacuum?

  5. perfectcirclecarpenter May 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    It’s pretty awesome that someone stood up and said lets stop talking about it and do something!

  6. joel4039 May 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Sorry, this technology isn’t new or revolutionary. What he has is an annular centrifugal contactor.

    I a few days practice one can likely separate any two liquids…

  7. Sheldon May 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

    …done in exactly the same way that a Dyson vacuum works (higher density material kept to the outside of a spinning vortex allowing lower density material to be removed from the centre – be that air from dirt or oil from water).

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