How Kevin Costner's Oil Filtration Tech Works

Kevin Costner on the red carpet at the Rome Film Fest. Lucky Team Studio/

At a press conference yesterday in Louisiana, Kevin Costner became the first, and most unlikely, celebrity to step up and announce his support for helping residents affected by the Gulf oil spill. But Costner was bringing more than just star power to the rescue. Along with his brother Dan, the two showed off the oil-filtration technology that they've been working on for more than 15 years.

Turns out Costner has a passion for more than just Hollywood. And lucky for us, that investment could help deal with the oil spill crisis.

Unfortunately, little was known about how the new invention would work — but a demonstration was promised later. Here's what I found after a little digging, courtesy of local Gulf station WDSU:

The machine works on the principle of centrifugal force. In this case, diesel fuel and water enter the machine together and are jettisoned separately, with water on one side and diesel on the other. The machine will clean the water up to 97 percent, officials with Ocean Therapy Solutions said.

OK, so that's a very basic explanation. There's obviously a bit more at work here, but for patent reasons (assumingly), the Costner brothers ain't talking. The cool thing is that the jump to 100 percent filtration is within reach — something one of the engineers said will allow you to drink the water being filtered from the machine.

Sure, but you first.

"I just am really happy that this has come to the light of day," Costner told the station. "I'm very sad about why it is, but this is why it was developed, and like anything that we all face as a group, we face it together."

The company offers five different machines that work from 5 gallons a minute to 200 gallons a minute — making the high-end version capable of doing some serious filtration near the source of the spill. It's no wonder that BP is working with locals to get one of the demo units out in the water.

For his part, Costner said he's invested some $26 million to make the technology a reality. Should it help to filter even a small percentage of oil in the water, you can bet his gamble will pay off substantially.

And then we won't be making anymore "Waterworld" jokes. Turns out the guy may actually be able to save the oceans after all.