Maritime transport is of fundamental importance to Europe and the rest of the world. Over 90% of the European Union's external trade is by sea and per year more than 1 billion tonnes of freight are loaded and unloaded in EU ports (European Maritime Safety Agency). The transfer of species in ballast water has been going on for as long as the shipping trade has existed. The movement of some 3 to 12 billion tonnes of ballast water in ships internationally each year has been responsible for the settlement of about 100 million tonnes of sediment. Its cleaning and the disposal of the ballast sludge produced involves enormous costs as well as job hazards and time. Furthermore, as the sediment cannot be removed, the freight capacity of the ship decreases with time and stability problems arise.
Besides these economic aspects, ballast water (BW) has been recognised as a major vector for the translocation of aquatic species across biogeographical boundaries. It is estimated that as many as 10 000 alien species of plants and animals are transported per day in ships around the world. As ships travel faster and world trade grows, organisms are better able to survive the journey, using the settled sediments as a substrate, but the threat of invasive species from ballast water increases. Thus with a reduction of sediment settlement in ballast tanks, a significantly reduced danger from alien organisms can be expected.
The aim of the project was the development of a new hybrid BW treatment technology (UV, filters and electrolysis) into a self-controlled BW treatment system. The main objective of the project was the invention of an effective treatment technology, incorporating non-permanent, seawater-generated active substances as a necessary measure to UV and Filter treatment technology. By producing active substances through electrolysis of sea water, there will be no need to carry or store hazardous and corrosive chemicals onboard ships. It also represents a more economical alternative to using chemicals for treating large volume of ballast water onboard ships.
The main objectives of this project for the marine sector were:
- to provide a safe, economically viable, and technically competitive alternative for onboard ballast water management;
- to develop an optimised sweater based electrochemical treatment system;
- to reduce the ballast tank cleaning costs; to reduce of sludge disposal costs; and
- to adapt the BW treatment system to a specific ship and her mission profile.
The main environmental objectives of the project were:
- to develop an efficient ballast water treatment system which allows the reduction of non-indigenous marine species transfer according to IMO convention and guidelines;
- to develop an environmentally acceptable and cost-effective treatment system; and
- to develop an automatic control/monitoring system which provides an unattended system operation.
The major technical objective of this project was the development and construction of a ballast water (BW) treatment plant in realistic conditions on board seagoing vessels with minimal environmental effects and adhering to the International Maritime Organisation's guidelines for ships' ballast water and sediments. The project consisted of the following work packages:
WP 1: Technological and regulatory review
An extensive survey on the latest developments for Ballast Water treatment system design as well as the existing regulations and future indication of EU directives and international bodies such as IMO was performed. Other relevant and crucial issues like the system's conformity to risk and safety regulations, cost effectiveness and compatibility with the ship's mission profile, size and design requirements were identified and clearly quantified. Finally, an objective rationale for overall assessment and evaluation of Ballast Water treatment systems was reported.
WP 2: Electro-chemical technology
A final treatment component without permanent active substances which kills the remaining bio load in the Ballast Water after conventional treatment technologies was carried out. The electro-chemical technology was set out to avoid hazardous substances and procedures through electro-chemical in situ production of disinfectants, which are highly efficient for a short period of time before they dissolve. The small proportion of species (according to IMO's convention) that are left untreated behind the mechanical components of the research plant may merely be deactivated by the processed salt water.
WP 3: Development of full-scale BaWaPla system
The main target was to investigate, amend and alter the design in such a way that BaWaPla system could be successfully installed and operated onboard of a candidate ship. Classification societies had to assess risk and safety issues which were explicitly or implicitly associated with the BaWaPla system. Ultimately, the system must cope with real flow rate of Ballast Water pumps onboard the candidate vessel. Nevertheless, the treatment system must not directly or indirectly damage the environment more than it is going to remedy the harm caused by non-indigenous species and it must be an economically feasible system.
WP 4: Automation and integration of BaWaPla system
In order to achieve the objectives, strategies and implementation for the controlling and automation interface connecting t
During the first stage of the project an extensive survey on the latest developments for Ballast Water treatment system design, as well as the existing regulations and future indication of EU directives and international bodies such as IMO was carried out. Other relevant and crucial issues like the system's conformity to risk and safety regulations, cost effectiveness and compatibility with the ship's mission profile, size and design requirements have been identified and clearly quantified. A hybrid approach with particular attention to electro-chemical treatment techniques and their complementary role with other chemical or mechanical treatment systems was performed. Finally, an objective rationale for overall assessment and evaluation of Ballast Water treatment systems was reported. The single treatment systems were intensively tested and optimised in lab scale before combined tests were carried out.
The optimised BaWaPla system was finally scaled-up to a full/large-scale plant and intensive land-base tests at different locations were carried out.
Initially the BaWaPla treatment system considered three technologies in a series to provide the required treatment level of ballast water. Based on the project knowledge gained and the improvements in the secondary treatment systems the source of the project - one hybrid treatment system - was turned into two viable treatment systems:
- Filter + UV
- Filter + Electrochlorination
Last but not least it is worth mentioning that both tested BaWaPla systems fully met the IMO Ballast water performance standard D2.
The BaWaPla project will help the EU to fulfil Article 6 of the Convention, which requests the parties to endeavour, individually or jointly, to (a) promote and facilitate scientific and technical research on ballast water management, and (b) monitor the effects of ballast waters management in waters under the parties' jurisdiction