(CNN) -- BP officials have turned to a new source for help with their oil cleanup efforts: actor Kevin Costner.
The oil giant announced Monday that it had ordered 32 machines from Costner's company, the actor told CNN in an exclusive interview on "AC360."
The machines use a centrifuge mechanism to separate oil from water and recycle the crude at the same time, Costner said.
"This is the key, it's the linchpin to people going back to work. It's certainly a way to fight oil spills in the 21st century," he said. "It creates an efficiency where there are no efficiencies out there, and it's been a long time coming."
Costner said he had been working on developing the machine since 1992 or 1993 with the help of his brother, a scientist.
Each machine weighs about 4,000 pounds, he said, and will allow crews to collect more oil.
"Skimmers are picking up 90 percent water, 10 percent oil, and they throw it into a barge ... What this machine simply does, in that particular case, will give a pure payload. Suddenly a barge will be coming back to shore with 99 percent oil as opposed to the other way around," he said.
Costner described the machine to a congressional committee last week.
"It may seem an unlikely scenario that I'm the one delivering this technology at this moment in time, but from where I'm sitting, it is equally inconceivable that these machines are not already in place," he said.
CNN's Anderson Cooper contributed to this report.