by Michael dEstries
Categories: People
Tags: .

Yesterday, the world was all aflutter of the announcement that Kevin Costner was stepping in to save the day down in the Gulf. The actor and his brother have invested considerable time and money in a device that extracts oil from water — making it of particular interest for residents battling oil washing up on shore.

“We moved this through a technology that we know works, and it’s prepared to go out and solve problems, not talk about them,” Costner said.

Another big announcement that was misreported by the media was that Costner was donating $26 million to support cleanup efforts. I was skeptical of this massive amount yesterday — thinking that someone in PR land had missed a decimal point. Turns out, that $26 million is the amount that Costner has invested in the oil filtration tech over the last 15 years, not what he’s going to hand out. Makes sense, right? I mean, it’s not like Costner has been that successful of a movie star.

Still, it stands to reason that if his company’s oil tech works, he could be seeing a nice payout for all that time and money. WDSU has some details on how it all works:

The machine works on the principle of centrifugal force. In this case, diesel fuel and water enter the machine together and are jettisoned separately, with water on one side and diesel on the other. The machine will clean the water up to 97 percent, officials with Ocean Therapy Solutions said. “We’re working on the technology now that will get us the other 3 percent so that you can actually drink out of the machine,” OTS official John Houghtaling II said.

The company offers five different machines that work from 5 gallons a minute to 200 gallons a minute — so this is definitely a tool and not a fix.

“I just am really happy that this has come to the light of day,” Costner told WDSU. “I’m very sad about why it is, but this is why it was developed, and like anything that we all face as a group, we face it together.”

According to the news station, local partners have been organized to deploy the machine for BP.

via WDSU

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • David

    That makes much more sense.

    And this technology isn’t anything new. The US Navy has been using centrifuges to seperate water and particulates out of their main engine lube oil on pretty much every one of their ships for at least 30 years. The big difference here is the quantities of water and increasing the throughput to many hundreds of gallons a minute from a few hundreds of gallons an hour.

  • Levi Warnos

    regardless of how well this method will work or not, I say good for Costner. Take the initiative to try to do anything to make this situation better.

    • David

      He isn’t taking the initiative. He has spent $26 million over 3 years to improve on existing technology and he hasn’t improved it or he wouldn’t have lost $26 million. He is hoping that due to the media attention BP will try anything and he can get them to pay him for old technology that no one else seems to want to buy from him.

  • Jesse

    Kevin Costner and his oil centerfuge will work because it is not based on greed. I would like to see UNO and LSU come together with some of Michael Faraday’s findings to transform the crude to a more stable form and pipe it to the coast where we can use Louisiana Refineries to prevent the cataclismic events that allowing this crude to sink as tar balls and wait for them to be spread to our shores.

  • Tom

    Check US Patent 3,780,865 filed March 1 1972.
    Scaled up, this Machine should be capable of keeping up with the leak in the gulf. The patent has expired So anyone could do it. If costner spent 26 million on the technology he wasted a lot of money.

  • Robert Weinberg, First Boca Associates, Inc.

    Sorry Kevin

    Vastly superior technology already exists and is field proven with major corporations and the US Navy. An ultra high efficiency, continuous processing, in-line centrifuge is available from Enviro Voraxial Technologies, Inc Fort Lauderdale, Florida “EVTN”
    Models to 5000 Gallons per Minute vs. your 200 gpm. All this processing capability at, what is likely, a small fraction of the size and energy requirement of your equipment. But I think you knew this, years ago, when an EVTN Voraxial was tested in your Lab. If you are really interested in saving the Gulf and protecting the environment from future spills, you could leverage your celebrity to promote EVTN’s Voraxial and donate your obsolete hardware in a museum. Example: 2 Voraxial 4000 separators mounted on a small boat would match the announced oil/water separation capability of the entire deployed fleet.
    Disclosure: I am an engineer, consultant and a stockholder of EVTN.
    I probably can’t act, but I would love an opportunity to debate the performance capabilities of Ocean Therapy’s centrifuge Versus EVTN;s Voraxial Separator technology. Oil an water do not mix, now let’s separate the men from the boys and get some truly effective hardware out into the Gulf.

    • don miguelo

      Get it out there man!

      You want good PR? Go save the Gulf with your machines!

      Why can’t you act?

    • Stormy Harrington

      I’m a lifelong commercial fisherman (longliner for tuna & swordfish)and I think its a shame that you are trying to debate this problem when either unit works. We need to get this stuff on boats and get this stuff out of the ocean and find out what works better as it is retrieved . As most,
      know the sargasso weed is the berth of life in the pelagic fish world and when crude attaches to it I cant see any thing living in it. There are a lot of boats that can be converted rather rapidly to collect this crude. I feel this is going to take and effort of as many boats as can be to stop this disaster. maybe paying people by the gallons to keep it simple and recoup there money efforts. I think if this gets in the hand of mother nature with hurricanes, bad weather along with the gulf stream along with warm eddies and cold eddies and spin offs, mammals, etc.etc. I’m sure everybody gets the picture that we’re in very deep trouble!!!!!
      Most Sincerely,
      Captain H. Drexel Harrington (Stormy)

    • Della

      Please, then, get the word out there so they can start using your EVTN Voraxial separator!

    • jayjay

      Mr. Weinberg,
      If EVTN’s product is a good solution why aren’t they in the Gulf separating water and oil. Do we need an invitation? I’m sure it’s costly but I would think you could keep all the oil you gather since it is spilled and no longer owned by anyone; black gold just lying about waiting to be scooped up.
      So if we don’t hear or see EVTN’s oil/water separating machine I suppose this is just more talk, but what the hell, that’s all we do now in America. I’ve seen some unbelievable inventions in the last 30 years and none of them came to light because they would upheave the status quo. Our govt backs the powerful corporations no matter what; inventions from the little guy no matter how genius go right in the garbage or on the shelf. Corrupted power is root cause of the great mess we’re in.

    • Graham Casden

      Right on!!! I’m an EVTN stockholder and have personally visited their plant in Ft. Lauderdale. Their separators are absolutely amazing and I couldn’t agree more that if Costner really wants to aid in the cleanup efforts and is not ultimately concerned about the profit, then he should promote the best technology out there.

  • dentist frankfort

    What a surprise, oil companies destroying the earth