Transcript: Costner Inspired by Exxon Valdez to Create Oil-Cleaning Machine


CHAMPION: --if I'm right. And correct if I'm-- if I'm wrong, 15 years--

COSTNER: I think the years are … the years could be wrong a little bit. But I don't, I'm not correcting you, Sam.

CHAMPION: Okay. And am I right with 20-- $24 million?

KEVIN COSTNER: Yeah. I, it's …north of $20 million and … I've said before, that's, that's after taxes. (LAUGH) So imagine how much I had to make to make $24 (million). So when you start adding interest and opportunity cost, it, the number goes a little bit north of that, I would say, by a long shot. But I think if you say over $20 million … I think that gets enough attention.

CHAMPION: It's a big-- it's a big number.


CHAMPION: --everybody's number. It's a big number. And … what have we got? Just tell me a little bit about what it is and what it does.

COSTNER: Well, it, literally … it's an oil separator. It … it separates oil and water at incredibly high speeds under very difficult conditions. So our largest machine separates oil and water at about 200 gallons a minute. I can't do the math. Somebody … somebody on your staff could extrapolate that.

But if we probably wanted to frame it in some kind of analogy that the world could understand, if you took the Exxon Valdez, which was kind of the motivating force for me to go into this technology when I saw everybody standing on the shore with rubber boots and pitch forks trying to clean up the problem that they didn't create, you know, the images of the birds, it was all very, very sad.

So I went ahead and I said, "Does this have to happen?" Created this machine, and … this machine works the same way now as it did ten years ago. If 20 of my V20s would have been at the Exxon Valdez, 90 percent of that oil would have been cleaned up within the week. And the reality is, it would have been used asset because the machine works at such a high efficiency, the oil could have come back to the … oil company. You know, they would have avoided most of their black eye and they would have had most of their precious asset back into their hands.

CHAMPION: So vacuums up--

COSTNER: I realize people go, "Huh? Really?" But that's really it.

CHAMPION: (LAUGH) And-- and that's why-- I think that's why it's so hard to believe that it's not in use but-- right now.


CHAMPION: But … okay. So it vacuums oily water mixture.


CHAMPION: And to--


COSTNER: What we're doing now is vacuuming up oil and water. And now where do we put it? All the skimmers are out there. It's 90 percent water, ten percent gunk, and where do they put it? If-- they're gonna have to go put that out of mind and out of sight.

It's an incredible inefficient system for dealing with the oil. It's just really … is. These machines could actually be on those particular ships, … mixing it, straining it, separating it, so that when those ships actually come back to shore, they don't have 90 percent water. They have almost 99 percent oil in the bottom. That's a more efficient model … .

CHAMPION: It … seems common sense.


CHAMPION: Now-- and I know you've tested it many times. I've read different areas that you've tested. But you ran into a problem trying to get it here because there's a catch 22, as you referred to it.

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