Gulf Oil Spill gets the Red Carpet Treatment
The BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf might find its technological savior in Hollywood. Kevin Costner, actor and apparent tech-aficionado, has a technology that is designed to separate oil and water to minimize environmental damage from oil spills. For more than 15 years, Costner has funded the company Ocean Therapy Solutions (OTS) and its team of scientists to work this technology, originally obtained from the Department of Energy in 1992-93 via a technology transfer agreement. Today, the company has a series of five machines that process 2-200 gallons-per-minute of contaminated water. Due to the scale of the Gulf oil spill, the V20 (200 gallon-per-minute) version is the likely front-runner. Another example of the long-term positive impacts of basic R&D funding.
Costner’s centrifuge technology separates the oil and water to a greater than 99% purity – meaning it gets almost all of oil out of the water. After initial testing by BP, the oil company has signed on the dotted line to purchase 32 of these machines for use in the Gulf. Each machine is capable of processing 200 gallons-per-minute of contaminated sea water, removing about 3,000 gallons per day of oil.
After two months of botched “containment” and failed “top kill” efforts, I am heartened to learn about a technological solution that might help in the situation we have now – where the oil has escaped and we are already experiencing the negative environmental impacts.
To watch a video on the technology, you can go here.
To see an interview with Costner on the technology, check out this video.
To learn (briefly) about Costner’s testimony on Capitol Hill, check out this link .