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.

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