After many years of blogging, and consistent with my desire to move toward retirement, we have ended the Insights blog. Thanks to Doug Bedell for his years of blog support.

Kevin Costner’s Moxie in the Gulf

Posted on May 26, 2010
Filed Under Business, Technology | Leave a Comment

Another blog got to this first, but if you’re Kevin Costner with a good idea, we have to agree, Field of Dreams-like, “He built it, so let him come.”

In this instance, we’re referring to Costner’s centrifugal oil separation machines, which are being checked out by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. They’ve been developed by Costner’s company, with $24 million of his own money and the wonderfully appropriate name of  Ocean Therapy Solutions.

A great technical tale appears to be unfolding here, powered by a visionary sense of environmental utility that was triggered by the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. Kostner was ticked off about that, big time. So, as The New York Times’ Green blog reports, he bought the emerging centrifugal technology from the government and invested heavily in getting it ready for another big spill.

Perhaps providentially for Costner, along came BP’s gulf spill. The oil giant has approved six of Ocean Therapy’s 32 machines for testing. They’re supposed to, says The New York Times, “suck oil from water, separate the oil, store it in a tanker and send the water, 99.9 percent purified, back into the gulf.”

Costner is confident they’ll do just that. “I’m very happy the light of day has come to this,” he said at a news conference in New Orleans, explaining he was “very sad” about the spill “but this is why it’s developed (the centrifugal technology).”  Costner’s barrel-like machines will be mounted on barges and trundled out to spin oil from water. Details of any contractual relationship between BP and Costner, should the machines indeed work, have not be disclosed, The Los Angeles Times reports.

This is the way it is with technology – an idea and the vision to extend it, the ingenuity to perfect it, and the commitment of resources, personal or borrowed, to prove it out. All those images of “Waterworld,” “Field of Dreams” and other Costner films that flickered on so many movie screens around the world may now be contributing to a happier reality than would have been likely without Costner’s moxie, providing he’s proven out,  which many people along the gulf are hoping for.

Right on, Kevin! – Doug Bedell


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