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Can Kevin Costner's Centrifuges Help Clean up the Gulf?

What can actor Kevin Costner do for the oil-soaked Gulf Coast? Last week, the movie star told Congress that Ocean Therapy Solutions, a company he got started with the purchase of a Department of Energy-developed centrifuge technology in 1993, has a device that can separate oil from water in a safe, clean and effective manner. Costner, who probably had to contend with a few fuel spills during the filming of his massively overbudget sci-fi epic Waterworld, told the House Committee on Science and Technology that the invention he’s backed to the tune of $24 million can clean up to “99.9 percent purity” water that is thick and sludgy with spilled oil.

The largest device, the V20 centrifuge, can clean up about 200 gallons of liquid per minute, or about 288,000 gallons per day, and BP is reported to have ordered 32 of them so far. Once they’re built and in the water, that could have a capacity to clean 9.2 million gallons per day.

But can a few dozen centrifuge filters, no matter how big, make a dent in the worst oil spill in American history? It’s hard to say, but the sheer scale of the disaster would suggest that BP, the Coast Guard and everyone else involved could use all the help they can get. According to latest estimates, the ruptured deep sea well is spewing between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day, or up to 2 million gallons per day. That oil, in turn, is both rising to the surface in massive slicks that now threaten the Gulf Coast and spreading out in hard-to-track underwater plumes.

And that’s just the oil coming out of the ruptured well. How much oil-laden seawater does that add up to? It’s difficult to say, but according to a Monday post at the White House blog covering the spill, the recovery operation has captured about 19.9 million gallons of an oil-water mix so far. That’s no doubt a fraction of the total amount, and it’s taken the efforts of more than 5,400 seagoing vessels and some 5.4 million feet of containment and absorbent booms — as well as the use of about 1.26 million gallons of dispersant chemicals — to break up the oil before it reaches shore. The dispersant also has a potential environmental cost that could match the impact of the oil itself, experts warn.

The Washington Post reported Monday that BP’s latest plan calls for capturing 1.2 million gallons of oil a day by the end of the week, up from a current capacity of 756,000 gallons a day, and has plans to capture 2.1 million gallons per day by the end of the month. BP has also said it will continue using dispersants, despite concerns as to their potential harm to the gulf’s wildlife and ecosystem. Costner, who made a point in his testimony before the House committee that one of his main goals was to reduce the use of dispersants, said that if the V20 had been around for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, about 20 of the devices could have cleaned up about 90 percent of the spill within a week.

But so far, Costner hasn’t had gotten regulators to approve the device, despite some 45 attempts to do so, he told the House committee. “In order to receive approval, technologies must be tested on actual spills, but the agencies charged with approval will not deploy untested equipment in a spill scenario,” he said in his prepared testimony. “We were dealing with a classic and very unfortunate example of a Catch 22.” Perhaps the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could give the technology a chance to prove its claims.

For more research check on the oil spill check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Social Media Works, Just Not For BP

Images courtesy of marinephotobank’s photo stream, Mike Licht, ‘s photostream, and Ocean Therapy Technologies.

12 Responses to “Can Kevin Costner's Centrifuges Help Clean up the Gulf?”

  1. The ship is standing between two oceans and boarding more every year and population is not growing, staying in 300 millions. Is he knows about it? I guess he does. Destroy and build to satisfy the World. Let me give you a short example. I don’t know who discovered the water softener but I know it is also destroys the green jobs. Such as: I don’t buy body lotions anymore, I don’t use much detergent for the laundry, my bat tubs and sinks don’t collect soap scum anymore, I’m not buying biological sprays to get sick and feel the pockets of doctors and doctors are not prescribing right medications and then they collect the deaths. I have no idea what kind of system we have in this ship. Oil spill is just a small issue, is nothing, what about an Earthquakes, what about Climate change fight between the China and USA over who is going to keep the treasure box. Have Kevin Costner to contact me personally. I like his movies especially the “Dancing with Wolves” and I guess he got tired of dancing with wolves. I don’t know why did they want to know me? I did not want to know anyone. But I’m very interested about George Clooney and I got married to him in LV in Madame Tussaud. Poor guy doesn’t change his under wares.
    Donations, fundraising, frustrations, wars! All about to keep the population of the Earth busy, including Kevin and I. Not bad at all he is trying to save our oceans and I was born in cusp of Pisces with fantasy life. I’m swimming in it all day long and splashing the water covering the ship and no one pays attention to my beauty. I love all the Kings in the World and I get into their brains and I freak out when I come out of them. Then get sick and my antennas don’t catch the World Satellites for a while. Then I rest and then again I have to try hard to catch the other satellites minds. Is Kevin satellite or not? He is!!!!! I’m your friend I’m not your enemy. Something happened between the Wolves and I, but I love every creature of the Jungle. I guess they got me wrong and they tagged me. Why? I wanted to sing my songs to the World based on my dreams and it is not easy to tell them to the World. Those electromagnetic powers of the Earth burning my skin and they want to use my vision for free. I am into the science I’m not a fanatic and I hold an ocean in my dreams and I draw the picture of it. Believe me or not my Pisces friends floating in it. Sea stars, sea horses, whales. Does anyone wants to film my biography. It is very interesting. But I’m not sure It will past a copyright or not. It is poisonous whoever reads it they get sting. I don’t know in what kind of movies I want to be involved, but I know I will fit into the movies Dancing with Wolves part II..I hope Wolves will not eat me. I am native Indian looking with tan skin. I can’t ride horses. I can learn how. Don’t get me wrong. If you have a good mind you will get me right. A love movie will be ok with me, unless I will not take my clothes off. My body already wrinkled in everywhere but I know will be relaxing for me. I have only one wisdom tooth left in my mouth and the Kings don’t love me. They are all jealous of me, because I’m smarter than them. But somehow I was sleeping then they could able to trick me and get my houses out of my hands. How come I did not know it is coming and I had hope for the future to be able to shoot myself in my movies. Now they want me to go to bankruptcy. Why? I did not do anything wrong. I was a Queen of the Caspian See, from oil reach family. They got everything from us in times of Soviet Revolution, and then after we got use to the Soviet System, everything free in it, we only needed a small business and open borders and the system has bankrupt. I was yelling at them and telling them that it is coming, coming, coming and huge rock will be dropped in New Year Eve instead of huge Crystal Ball. No one understood me. I want to join you to chase to humans from one side of the Globe to another side. Anyway I’m tired of being a poor and jobless. Maybe someone will hire me and I will write the scene for them. Fantasy life and the secret of my dreams I opened it recently two years ago. When I told to my friend over the Phone that I hold an Ocean in my dream over my head and I walked the path in it. My ribbons and twinkle stars how I wonder what you are, who you are?
    Or I will be staying as a writer of a fantasy life. Sincerely, the Parvanet
    Are we really lonely in this Universe, in our galaxy? I couldn’t pass the physics when I applied to University, but I passed the World history. I want George Clooney to follow me in or on facebook, Kevin is too can follow me. Only Personally! I don’t like their speech writers to follow me like in the movie of the “Beautician and the Beast”
    I could turned them down because if someone tells me I have pitches in my voice, I will cry all day long. Whole World pitches in my voice and whole World mind in my mind including all the stars minds and I am watching them all they long, how they are trying to hid themselves from me in that endless Universe. Because of my beauty attracts them and very powerful and infinite.
    Flag Like ReplyReply Parvanet 3 hours ago

    Bluffing game never ends. I like how they bluff each other and the other world. So, we just sold to them chickens also airplanes and we gave them a jobs. Now Bear and the Lion cannot share what? I know what?
    They need more victims for their games, what about Red October? Believe me or not he is a very good politician and intelligent too. But he knows that the Lion King is more intelligent than him. They like to play a poker game called a poker Caribbean together every singles day and bluff each other. My heart goes to the Lion King and to all of you. He has to be very careful, when it comes to control the Word.
    Bear and the Lion couldn’t share their bray Bunny. They fought until they bleed to death. And Foxes came along from nowhere and took the pray Bunny and they left with happy face.
    What those small creatures can do to the kingdom of superpowers. They are just a toys to play and to entertain the people of the Earth and themselves. It is stupid of them to be involved. Do they want to put their names into the Billboard? Oh yes, Those movie producers just looking for the subject to make movies and show to the country and make big box that Angelina is looking very good on those spy movies.
    All superpowers know each other well without those small creatures. But they like to use them for their games, they smile into each other’s face, but they are always on guard to trick each other.
    Something to talk about it for an every one. Everyone gets employed and feed each other, lawyers are having a fun and magazines are selling faster.
    Even the secret castle making parties and the Zebra looking above her head and she doesn’t even blink her eyes. Just like nothing going on in the World. I know that she is tired of to see the World through
    I feel sorry whoever involved in politics they are all losers jammed there. A smart people are cutting the lawns and singing the songs. They are the one winner’s. They see the World in double vision just like that guy Lopez.
    My suggestions to you that you find a descent job and pay the taxes to them and be a good citizens and serve the country of ours who is taking care of you.
    Why those girls are spying? Do they have brains, or not? This is look stupid to me, or those rulers are stupid than I. Of course not, but please be careful when you play your games. Do not hurt anyone. World does not belong to you.
    My heart goes to the rulers and to the regular citizens and I cannot write anymore. Is there any irregular citizens?
    My power is dying because I need to have a breakfast. I’m losing my star power for loving a King Crab for opening a secret of the World to me. Regarding those lands where DC scratching a strategic plans how to enter there without my permission to conquer and relocate the Globe once more. Actually he is tired of war games. He wants to be retired.
    He says please do not send me to another clashes. I want to rest and enjoy the life. I did not want to be a politician I only wanted to sell my weapons to you to shoot each other. I wanted to be a confidential. And the others did not live me alone.
    Red Octobers plans always works well, but he is losing a power to the Lion and the Bear. Pinocchio the Wooden Nose he got the power which worries the Lion and the Bear, and they want his wooden nose to be cracked. I guess it is late. They have to wait until the forest creatures will eat his wooden nose. Now what? Who is going to save the World?
    I guess I’m the one the Queen of the Paradise the Parvanet
    I’m not sure Cricket will be good to come to the power in 2012. But that dice given to me by woman from Alaska is telling me I’m coming as a biggest star and she will play in the violin and the rainbow will wake up. What is Alaska got to do with that dice with a number 2029 written in it? I have to bring the best system into the United States.
    Free homes, free education freedom of speech, free hospitalization free medical, free sport clubs
    Secondary villas, like all Soviet kids had back in Soviet Union and in all Eastern Europe
    I just want to erase the map out of the head of Hunchback because he couldn’t able to keep the country firm and he received a Nobel Prize. I guess they all own that Prize Club to show to the World that they are geniuses and buy some chicken dino’s. Actually they are always expecting out coming, because it is not an easy job to satisfy the World. And they close their eyes and they say we are floating in that ocean like everybody else. Somebody bless us. And let her to write, because she has nothing to do. Trying to brush her writing skills.
    Where I was? Yes, Instead he let everyone to flee the country that like those hunters scaring the Quails out of the Bushes. They let them to fly and then they can point a gun to them and hunt them for their hunting games
    I love you all, and I want you all not too lose your heads, get alone with every country
    Get alone with every nation love your neighbors and all of you
    I’m coming to be your Queen. The Queen of the Paradise and she will be Queen and who wants to be her King tile-tile?
    And take the shot for all of you, you live a better life I will give you a freedom you never felt in your lives. Read my lips and I know for sure no child will be left behind. Actually he saved the country for us. Too much education made his tong to tumble when he asked the donations for the Earthquake victims. “Cash only please”. Did he said please? I don’t remember.
    Poor or reach, doesn’t matter who you are, we are going to change the country peacefully and turned the curse of this ship to another point.
    Of course after you read my novels I hope those rulers won’t get jealous, there is nothing to be a jealous about it
    The Lion King misses those days when he was free and walking in the streets of the Paradise and no one knew that he would be the King some day. Right time and the right spot.
    Of course if they change the curse of the ship before me, I will sing my songs and dance for them
    And dance on that Unfinished Stage of mine and finish it.
    (No one wanted to recognize her that she was a star of her time biggest star ever came to the World. From the Prince of the Paradise)
    Someone please edit my scripts for free. I’m not paying.


  2. I think A) People are underestimating the complexity of the situation and the engineering issues in dealing with it. When you get a hamburger and fries at local McDonald in 5 minutes, it’s hard to understand why it takes so long for BP to plug the leak, or why Obama can just dive down there and plug it himself.

    B) The same people saying let’s just deploy whether tested or not, will be denouncing the government tomorrow if it turns out that those devices are in-effective or somehow harmful.

    This hypocrisy is already being demonstrated right before our eyes as the republicans are bashing Obama for not regulating the oil industry and approving this deep drilling site!!!

  3. For the oil situation
    1. trees chained together as booms(with weighted tarps & tires)Filtered mesh tarps from surface to sea floor.
    2. tug boats pulling miles of trees with attached weighted tarps
    3. Sea corrals with miles of plastic mesh tarps
    with weights
    4. Tug boats taking oil to Kevin’s seperating centrifuges.
    5.12% of all unemployed people in USA paid by BP to clean coast line and water ways.

  4. There is better technology out there that meets coast guard standards with only 2.5ppm (vs at best estimates from costner at 1000 ppm/99.9% separation)and has already been approved by the coast guard and american bureau of shipping. Why isn’t BP ordering those machines instead? They also have effective sand separation technology.

  5. Is anyone out there thinking? Good heavens folks!
    Give Costner’s biggest instrument the capacity of “cleaning” 1 cubic meter of water per minute. This is 30% more than the stated value, but convenient for calculations. On a daily basis, this instrument cleans 1440 cubic meters per day assuming it can run non-stop with no glitches. Right.

    Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Well, consider a very small patch of oil contaminated Gulf of Mexico sea water, say 1 kilometer x 1 kilometer x 10 meters deep. The volume is 10,000,000 cubic meters. So it would take more than 7000 perfectly running Costner machines a day to handle this one tiny patch, not even a fraction of Mobile Bay, or Pensacola Bay, or Barataria Bay.

    Is there any wonder that the things haven’t been approved? And that’s not considering what they do to plankton in the water. BP is either as dumb as we think they are or pulling a nice publicity stunt.

  6. The oil spill wasn’t approved either. Look, the morons at BP and the idiots in our government have had TWO FREAKING MONTHS to do something but it still looks like a chinese fire drill. BP’s pres “wants his life back” yeah so do all the dead animals. Turn Costner’s machines loose APPROVED OR NOT. Someone has to do something. BP is lost, the government is inept and broke. It is up to us, folks, you and me. My vote is for Costner’s machine. How about you?

  7. Indeed – I truly hope Costner’s little machine works. Who cares if it hasn’t been “approved”?? It can’t do any more harm than the millions of gallons of oil spilling into the gulf every day!

  8. carolyn swan

    Congratulations to Kevin Costner for selling sixteen oil separating centrifuges to BP. Hopefully he can produce many more, and that his ingenuity will clean the Gulf. Such effort deserves great benefit to him and his family. With best wishes to him for his inventiveness.