#rsrh Kevin Costner’s oil spill machine… works?

[UPDATE]: Welcome, Hot Air readers.

Honest to God.

It was treated as an oddball twist in the otherwise wrenching saga of the BP oil spill when Kevin Costner stepped forward to promote a device he said could work wonders in containing the spill’s damage. But as Henry Fountain explains in the New York Times, the gadget in question — an oil-separating centrifuge — marks a major breakthrough in spill cleanup technology. And BP, after trial runs with the device, is ordering 32 more of the Costner-endorsed centrifuges to aid the Gulf cleanup.

So, why wasn’t this tech being improved before?


One obstacle, he said, was that although his machines are effective, the water they discharge is still more contaminated than environmental regulations allow. He could not get spill-response companies interested in his machines, he said, without a federal stamp of approval.


Research is hampered in other ways. For example, there is only one place in the United States — a center in New Jersey operated by the Minerals Management Service — where cleanup technologies can be tested, at full scale, on spilled oil. Other countries, notably Norway and Canada, allow occasional testing involving intentional spills into the environment, although only after an exhaustive permitting process.

In the United States, just obtaining oil for use in small-scale laboratory research can be extremely difficult, said Scott Pegau, research program director of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute, a research center established in Cordova, Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez spill. Mr. Pegau said it recently took him months to obtain less than a gallon of crude.

All bolding mine. Not to be mean-spirited about this, but I can’t help but notice the karmic backlash happening here when it comes to the Obamaspill, and how big-government acolytes are handling it. Which is to say, badly.

Moe Lane


  • Just Dave says:

    There’s another issue here too. A no-muss no-fuss resolution and clean-up wouldn’t really serve the purposes of the Luddite Gaia-Worshiping Enviros that would like nothing more than a big messy disaster to point to every time the idea of using more of our own resources comes up.

  • TxSaint says:

    looks like they have all of the sample oil they need for testing now…

  • NavyspyII says:

    Is it any surprise that once again, Government is the obstacle to progress?

    Look at it objectively, the proposal is to take water that is contaminated with oil, and remove 98% of the oil from the water, then discharge that water back into the area it came from. How is this a bad thing?

    If you wait for a 100% effective solution, you will never get anything done.

    Regardless of my personal suspicions as to the motives of this administration, how is removing 98% of the contaminant an insufficient solution?

  • Jeff Weimer says:

    Don’t you love it when the perfect is the enemy of the good?

  • mndasher says:

    Apparently the “government wackos” believe that 100 percent oil in the water is better than 99 percent of it removed. Something wrong with people who don’t think that 99 percent of the oil being removed is not good enough. Ask that of the people living along the gulf.

  • JamesS says:

    I read another blog where the author opined that mankind reached some kind of capability pinnacle around 1975, and since then the sheer amount of bureaucratic hoops of fire new technologies have to leap though have severely limited our ability to innovate.

    This sounds like another data point in favor of that hypothesis.

  • […] Moe Lane, a good little blog that I should visit more often, I […]

  • MN says:

    Several humorous cartoons on Obama’s poor response to the oil spill at http://drawfortruth.wordpress.com/category/oil/

    The newest one is “ducks in a row!”

  • SenatorMark4 says:

    Cool. But…saw something that should at least be tested. Barge. Bails of hay. Grinder. Tooo clean to be tested by people in the Federal grant world!


  • bill-tb says:

    Massive big government regulatory failure on every front you turn to.

    I am just relieved to know the Katrina cleanup crew has been moved to Obamacare.

    Something tells me we need about a 75% reduction in the federal budget, to get the sludge out.

  • Black Sabbath says:

    In the future, we’re going to look back at this and just wonder how we let this Administration get away with screwing this disaster up so badly. This should be a lesson in anyone who believes in Big Government. Sadly, the Liberal Progressives see the failure here and demand More Big Government.

  • Kelvin says:

    It is modified 1940s tech, of course it works. the difference in weight between Water, and oil is much greater than between u235 and u238. All it needs is a vast filter made of something hydrophobic, yet also oilphilic, say human hair, on the water discharge.

  • Dschoen says:

    “But as Henry Fountain explains in the New York Times, the gadget in question — an oil-separating centrifuge — marks a major breakthrough in spill cleanup technology.”

    WTF are you talking about? Oil/Water separation by centrifuge has been done for yearssssssssssssssssssss

    Google it, Oil/Water centrifuge, About 302,000 results (0.25 seconds)

    oil water centrifuge – offers from oil water centrifuge …
    oil water centrifuge manufacturers directory – over 3000000 registered importers and exporters. oil water centrifuge manufacturers, oil water centrifuge …

    “Film star Kevin Costner and his scientist brother are promoting a new technology they say could separate oil from water as part of the effort to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf. BP officials agree to test the system.”

    Oil/Water separation by centrifuge is not “new” technology.
    Oil/Water separation by centrifuge is not a “new” concept.

    Here’s a quick, not all-inclusive list of Oil/Water separation by centrifuge concepts, please note the dates starting in 1940 thru 1972.

    Oil/Water centrifuge US Patent References:
    Bergmann – April 1940 – 2197120Centrifugal fluid purifier
    Langmuir – October 1949 – 2485390
    Centrifugal separator
    Cram – October 1956 – 2767841
    Combination pump and separator
    Prijatel – October 1965 – 3209995
    Javet – October 1972 – 3695509

    The NYT is not a credible source. You need to do your own research.

    We have been separating oil from water for years. There are many ways to do it, a centrifuge is one of them.

    Contact your local waste water treatment plant/operations and they can tell you how its done at your location.

    Most, including a centrifuge use the fact that water and oil have different weight.
    Oil “naturally” floats on top of water cuz oil is lighter than water.

    A centrifuge “spins” the contaminated water. The heavier stuff moves to the outer area and the lighter stays in the middle.

  • czekmark says:

    I wonder if Americans will ever wake up to realize that environmentalists are responsible for almost everything that has gone badly in our country. For example our foreign energy dependance can be blamed entirely on the environmentalist who have kept us from nuclear power which could easily provide 40-50 percent of our energy needs not to mention their restrictions on oil, coal and other ‘dirty’ energy sources.

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