Most know him as an actor. Famous for classic movies like Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and Waterworld. Who am I talking about? Why…Kevin Costner. While his on-screen credits are well-known to many movie aficionados, what may not be as obvious is his dedication and business acumen. Costner has been working for the past fifteen years on a commercial machine that separates oil from water. The company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, funded and backed by Costner, has received an order from BP for 32 of their machines, which cost a half million dollars each. The machines are to be used in the Gulf of Mexico to help contain the oil spill.
The machines essentially operate like big, floating vacuum cleaners, which suck up oily water and spin it around at high speed. On one side, it spits out pure oil, which can be recovered. The other side spits out 99% pure water. (LA Times)
Costner has contributed $24 million of his own money to the development of the machine. He began working on ways to clean oil from water back in 1995 when shooting his film Waterworld. Costner credits his initial interest as stemming from the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989,
The Exxon Valdez [spill], which was kind of the motivating force for me to go into this technology when I saw everybody standing on the shore with rubber boots and pitch forks trying to clean up the problem that they didn’t create, you know, the images of the birds, it was all very, very sad. (ABCNews)
The machine, designed as a first environmental response for oil spills and ocean disasters is yet to have been paid for by BP. Costner says that if the money isn’t received, they might consider selling collected oil to fund the machines.
Considering that Costner backs the machine, has presented the information before Congress, and has received requests to use the product, do you think payment is a secondary concern here? Do you think these machines should be deployed first, and then compensation will follow? Or, do you support the current process?