Age of Aquarius for ballast water management

30 Nov 2011
Hamworthy ballast water system

Hamworthy ballast water system

Ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention is widely anticipated within the next 12 months and consequently, ship owners are evaluating urgently which technology is best suited to both existing and new ships.

Recognising that no one solution will be suitable across all ship types, sizes and environmental conditions, Hamworthy’s dedicated ballast water research and development team has developed two different treatment solutions to provide customers with greater flexibility and choice. The product range is called AQUARIUS.

Dr Joe Thomas, managing director, Hamworthy Ballast Water Systems points out: “We are currently the only OEM offering a choice of ballast water treatment solutions to both the new build and retrofit markets. We believe this gives our customers every confidence that by working with Hamworthy they will be able to find the technology best suited to their particular needs.”

The AQUARIUS-UV system is a two stage approach with filtration followed by disinfection using ultraviolet light, and so does not use any active substance. As there is no detrimental effect on water quality, ballast water can be safely discharged from the ballast tank at any time. Furthermore, to ensure maximum disinfection, UV treatment is utilised during the discharge cycle, as well as on ballasting.

In developing the system, Hamworthy has formed a strategic partnership with UK-based Hanovia, a specialist in UV system design and manufacturing. Hamworthy has assumed overall responsibility for performance compliance against the required regulatory standards, with the UV system being an essential component to integrate with Hamworthy’s ballast water management solution.

Hamworthy is also marketing its AQUARIUS-EC Ballast Water System, which similarly employs a two stage approach, but in this case disinfection using an active substance, generated using side stream electro-chlorination. Hamworthy is collaborating with Magneto Special Anodes for the development of advanced electrolysis technology. Upon de-ballasting, the system neutralises any remaining active substance using sodium bisulfite, ensuring that the ballast water can be safely discharged back to the sea.

Dr Thomas said: “Both systems provide a robust solution for the treatment of ballast water across a range of challenging ship operating end environmental conditions, exceeding the required IMO standards. We have also adopted a modular approach to system design in both cases so that equipment can be flexibly arranged to suit conditions onboard. Furthermore, both the AQUARIUS systems are designed and supplied to treat ballast water across a full range of ballast pump sizes.”

The systems achieve filtration using automatic back-washing screen filter technology. The filter is designed specifically for ballast water applications and filters particulates down to 40μm. Operation of the filter includes automatic back-washing to ensure efficient removal of particles that are discharged back to the environment of origin, the systems are PLC-controlled with user friendly touch screen operation. All relevant data is stored by the PLC in accordance with IMO requirements and the system can be fully integrated into the main control system to achieve complete ballast water management onboard the ship.

Land-based testing of both the AQUARIUS systems was successfully completed in early 2011 at NIOZ (The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research) and sea trials involving both the systems are currently underway with the first official sea trial sampling resulting in a full pass against requirements of the IMO D2 standard. Hamworthy is also conducting AQUARIUS-EC specific corrosion and paint coating tests according to MEPC requirements.

With all testing complete, Hamworthy aims to secure IMO type approval for the AQUARIUS range during 2012.

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