Serious alpha points to Kevin Costner for investing $26 million in his brother Dan‘s Ocean Therapy device — a kind of vacuum cleaner that separates oil from water. They’ve so far built 26 units, six of which are now being tested in the oil-spill area on the Gulf of Mexico with the support of British Petroleum.

Kevin and Dan, a scientist, have reportedly spent the last 15 years testing and building their “separation” device. They’ve done so under the aegis of the Costner Industries Nevada Corporation, a company devoted to eco-friendly research.

Ocean Therapy sucks up dirty liquid and then uses a high-speed centrifuge to separate it into oil and heavier water. The water that spews out at the other end will be 97% oil-free, they’ve claim. Costner-the-actor got into the idea after being enraged by the Exxon Valdez spill and wanting to do something, etc.

Ocean Therapy can clean “between 5 and 200 gallons of water a minute, depending on its size,” according to Costner’s lawyer and business partner, John Houghtaling. The Independent’s Guy Adams concludes that the machines “could in theory mop up oil at the rate it is currently gushing into the Gulf.”

When the Costner brothers allowed the local media to see Ocean Therapy in action – albeit on dry land – “it appeared to work as advertised,” Adams reports.