Kevin Costner is an award-winning actor and director who gained status as an activist during the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
For the last 15 years, Costner has been the primary investor of Ocean Therapy Solutions, the company that has been developing technology to clean oil-ridden waters. The device is a centrifuge that separates the dense water from the lighter oil, and returns the water to the ocean.
Costner's machine can clean 99% of the oil from saturated water. The largest version of his centrifuge, the V20, pumps and cleans up to 200 gallons of water a minute. Ocean Therapy Solutions claims that the machine can clean 210,000 gallons of water per day.
Costner says he got the idea for the centrifuge after watching footage of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989. He has been working closely with scientists for the last 15 years, looking to develop the technology that would save the world from a similar disaster.
It is estimated that Costner invested between $20 to $24 million of his own money into the project.
After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, Costner sold 32 of his machines to BP for $500,000 each. In test runs of the centrifuge, oil congealed into a peanut butter like substance, but Costner claims the problem has since been fixed.
The machine is designed to separate the liquid into the lighter and heavier densities, recycling water back into the ocean, and collecting oil that is pure enough to be sold. Costner is looking to sell the oil from the machines to cover costs that BP will not cover.