Kevin Costner's oil filtration machines are ready for the big time.
After more than 20 years of development and $25 million in personal investment, the actor's oil-separation centrifuges were given the green light by BP last night.
"We were confident the technology would work, but we needed to test it at the extremes. We've done that and are excited by the results," said Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer. "We are very pleased with the results and today we have placed a significant order with OTS [Costner's Ocean Therapy Solutions] and will be working with them to rapidly manufacture and deploy 32 of their machines."
A previous test by the oil company failed when the machines became clogged on the clumpy, tarball viscosity of the spill. After some tweaking by Costner's Ocean Therapy Solutions, the technology is now working as intended.
"The machines are basically sophisticated centrifuge devices that can handle a huge volume of water and separate at unprecedented rates," said Ocean Therapy Solutions CEO John Houghtaling. "They were developed from older centrifuge technology. Normal centrifuge machines are very slow and sensitive to different ratios of oil to water mixtures at intake."
BP plans to take the largest version of the machines, the V20, out on barges to start sucking up and separating the oil. Up to 2,000 barrels a day can be cleaned by one machine.
With the order now placed, it's estimated that the 32 OST devices will be available for BP by Aug. 1. Costner is also working to provide 16 additional centrifuges to local parishes impacted by the spill. Costner and OTS officials think the company's costs can be offset by selling the oil separated from the oil.