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Friday, May 21, 2010

Kevin Costner's invention could clean up BP oil spill

Before anything else in this post, I'm gonna get this off my chest: I've never understood why Waterworld has such a bad rap. I saw this movie during its first week in theaters in 1995 and thought it was pretty good. Not overwhelmingly "excellent", and the science behind it is atrocious (namely that there isn't enough water in the polar caps to cover the Earth's surface if they melted) but Waterworld was still a great action flick that has only gotten better with age.

Anyhoo, that photo is Kevin Costner at the till of his vessel in Waterworld... and not Kevin Costner at the controls of his very own real life invention: the "Ocean Therapy" water cleansing system. Who'da thunk that all this time he was making Waterworld, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Open Range, that Costner was also working behind the scenes with millions of dollars of his own money to develop the system?

Well, it now looks like Kevin Costner's innovation is going to come to the rescue of the Deepwater Challenger oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. New York Daily News has the story...

Could there be a happy Hollywood ending to the Gulf oil spill?

Enter "Waterworld" star Kevin Costner, who has spent years and millions of dollars perfecting a device that cleans oil from seawater.

British Petroleum - desperate for ideas - gave the okay to test six of Costner's gizmos this week, said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.

Costner's high-speed centrifuge machine has a Los Angeles-perfect name: "Ocean Therapy."

Placed on a barge, it sucks in large quantities of polluted water, separates out the oil and spits back 97% clean water.

"It's like a big vacuum cleaner," said Costner's business partner, Louisiana trial lawyer John Houghtaling.

"The machines are basically sophisticated centrifuge devices that can handle a huge volume of water," he said.

The "Field of Dreams" star first got a team together to create the device in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

His scientist brother, Dan Costner, helped develop the device, and together, the brothers formed Costner Industries Nevada Corp. to pursue various energy projects, including a non-chemical battery that could last 15 years.

The 55-year-old actor eventually sank $26 million into the Ocean Therapy oil separator project. He obtained a license for the device from the Department of Energy in 1993 and has been trying for years to promote it.

In 2007, he told London's Daily Mail that he had blown millions on "technologies I thought would help the world" and had nothing to show for it.

"I've lost $40 million-plus," he said. "But I knew that if I was right, it would change things in an incredibly positive way."

Last week, he was in Louisiana seeking redemption, demonstrating his Ocean Therapy contraption.

"I'm just really happy that the light of day has come to this," Costner said.

Though reporters largely greeted his ideas with snickers, BP apparently wasn't laughing.

At least 210,000 gallons of oil per day is gushing into the sea from the ocean floor where the BP rig exploded April 20. The oil company has tried several novel solutions, but none has worked so far to plug the leak.

The company is skimming the oil, spraying it with dispersant chemicals underwater and trying to burn it on the surface.

Nineteen percent of the Gulf's lucrative fisheries are closed, billions of beach tourist dollars are at stake and dozens of seagoing species are threatened.

Costner has 300 of his Ocean Therapy machines in various sizes. The largest, at 21/2 tons, is able to clean water at a rate of 200 gallons a minute - faster than the well is leaking, Houghtaling noted.

WOW!! This sounds like it could probably do a heap o' good. Gotta give Kevin Costner bigtime props for actively applying his mind and resources toward solving a problem like this. If ya ask me, that is what old-fashioned American ingenuity is all about :-)


Arretta E. Keefer said...

For what it's worth, Kevin, my entire family and I loved Water World. We'd love to see a sequel.

Thank you for caring about our planet and its' inhabitants.

I will be presenting a proposal tomorrow at the EPA hearing in Washington, DC. I am asking that they ask you, Stephen Spielburg, James Cameron, and Leonardo Di Caprio to create an exciting and educational PSA to be aired worldwide, in theatres, and all over the internet to promote immediate world participation in an effort to save our Planet Earth.