Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Kevin Costner Solution" to Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster

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Kevin Coster at his CO Cabin Home
Kevin Costner says in an interview in Live magazine: "I've invested enormous amounts in technologies I thought would help the world.

"There's nothing to show for the millions I've invested. My God, most people would want to die if they lost $1,000 or $100,000. I've lost $40million plus.

"But I knew that if I was right it would change things in an incredibly positive way. Do I regret that? Yes. Has it changed my life one bit? No, because I haven't been moved by money."

Costner was first moved to action by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, where the tanker struck a reef and lost 11million gallons of oil off Alaska.

Horrified by the primitive methods used to battle spillages, he set up Costner Industries Nevada Incorporated with his brother Dan. They discovered a technology used in the nuclear industry to separate chemicals by centrifugal force and set about adapting it. But the project failed.

Next, he created a subsidiary to launch a battery with a flywheel that could store four times the energy of an ordinary one. The firm even had a contract to make them for NASA, but the deal lapsed.

Costner's movies, which also include box-office smashes The Bodyguard and Field Of Dreams, have grossed an estimated $1billion. But he has suffered bad luck in other ventures as well as his green projects.

Notably, he ploughed money into "Dunbar Resort" a South Dakota casino with a Dances With Wolves theme, but that plan also collapsed. However, Kevin remains philosophical. "I'm not the shrewdest businessman," he admits. "I'm more of a dreamer."

Now Kevin Costner has stepped forward to help with the Gulf oil spill caused by the April 20 explosion of the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

According to Billy Nungesser, president of Southern Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, Costner and his scientist/businessman brother Dan, will be in the region to demonstrate a device designed to separate oil and water. Records from the EPA indicate the Costner brothers have promoted an oil-water filtration system in the past through their company Costner Industries Nevada Corporation. Details regarding the device are expected to be revealed tomorrow.

“Sometimes it takes a star to come in with their money and time to make a difference,” Nungesser said at a press conference held by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Kevin Costner is also planning to donate an astounding $26 million toward the cleanup effort.

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The May 21, 2010 issue of the LA Times published the following article that was also picked up in the Seattle Times May 22, 2010:

A Kevin Costner oil fix?

The "Kevin Costner Solution" to the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may work, and none too soon for the president of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.

By Louis Sahagun
Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2010

Kevin Costner began project during "Waterworld."
Friday's developments

"Top-kill" approach: BP says it will likely be at least Tuesday before engineers can shoot heavy mud into the blown-out well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Three ultra-deepwater rigs and other equipment are at the site where the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded. They're preparing for a delicate procedure called a "top kill" that BP hopes will stop the flow of oil.

Beach closed: Officials in the island resort community of Grand Isle, south of New Orleans, closed the public beach because thick globs of oil the color and consistency of brownie mix were washing up.

Spill probe: The Obama administration picked former Florida Sen. Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Reilly to lead a seven-member presidential commission investigating the oil spill. Obama wants the panel to study the causes of the spill and issue a report within six months suggesting improvements.

The tube's impact: BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Friday that a milelong tube inserted into the leaking pipe on the seafloor is sucking about 92,400 gallons of oil a day to the surface, a figure much lower than the 210,000 gallons a day the company said the tube was sucking up Thursday. Suttles said the higher number is the most the tube has been sucking up at any one time, while the lower number is the average.

Oil flow: BP has conceded that more oil is leaking than its initial estimate of 210,000 gallons a day, and a government team is working to determine exactly how much is flowing. Even under the most conservative estimate, about 6 million gallons have leaked so far, more than half the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

Seattle Times news services

LOS ANGELES — The "Kevin Costner solution" to the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may work, and none too soon for the president of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.

Costner has invested 15 years and about $24 million in a novel way of sifting oil spills that he began working on while making his 1995 maritime film, "Waterworld," a post-apocalyptic epic that was plagued by problems and was a huge box-office flop.

Fifteen years later, BP and the Coast Guard plan to test six of his massive, stainless-steel centrifugal oil separators next week. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser welcomed the effort, even as he and Louisiana officials blasted the Army Corps of Engineers for delays in approving an emergency plan to build sand "islands" to protect the bayous of his parish.

"It certainly is an odd thing to see a 'Kevin Costner' and a 'centrifugal oil separator' together in a place like the Gulf of Mexico," said actor Stephen Baldwin, who is producing a documentary about the oil spill and Costner's device. "But, hey, some of the best ideas sometimes come from the strangest places."

Meanwhile, "Avatar" Director James Cameron has said he would make his underwater vessels available.

It is not the first time Hollywood has come up with cutting-edge technology. Paul Winchell, a versatile ventriloquist and the voice of Tigger in "Winnie the Pooh," was also an inventor who patented an early artificial heart in the 1960s. In 1940, movie star Hedy Lamarr helped design an unjammable communications system for use against Nazi Germany.

Costner was unavailable for comment. But his business partner, Louisiana attorney John Houghtaling, said, "Yes, Kevin is a star, but he took his stardom and wrote all the checks for this project out of his own pocket. This was one man's vision."

Details of any contractual relationship with BP were not disclosed. Asked if the actor would charge for use of the machines, Pat Smith, a spokesman for Costner, said, "We don't know yet."

Houghtaling said Costner bought the technology, developed with help from the Department of Energy after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, and turned it over to a team of scientists and engineers for fine-tuning.

"The machines are essentially like big vacuum cleaners, which sit on barges and suck up oily water and spin it around at high speed," Houghtaling said. "On one side, it spits out pure oil, which can be recovered. The other side spits out 99 percent pure water."

Talk about the machine has intrigued BP, the party responsible for the well blowout that caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. "BP has agreed to test Mr. Costner's machines," BP spokesman Mark Proegler said. "Of course, they need to meet regulations with respect to discharge."

With oil washing up on a portion of southeastern Louisiana's swampy edges, word of Costner's devices and their potential capabilities triggered intense lobbying over where they should be stationed first.

High on the list of prospective sites is Plaquemines Parish, where "we've already lost 24 miles of marshland," Nungesser said. "Everything in it — frogs, crickets, fish and plant life — is dead and never coming back."


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