Though the market for ballast water management (BWMS) is niche, it is still a growing market with new technology solutions being adopted to best treat ballast water. Within this niche market, different players specialise in their own treatment mode. These solutions can broadly be classified as Solid-Liquid Separation and Disinfection (Physical or Chemical).
At present, there is no clear market leader nor preferred methodology for ballast water management. As such, ship owners need to be well-acquainted with the development in this market. This includes IMO and USCG approvals, the pros and cons that come with each BWM type, new innovations and availability.
Ballast Water Management Systems normally consist of one or a combination of these following technologies:
Filtration uses discs or fixed screens with automatic backwashing to do solid-liquid separation. Mesh sizes are proportional to the size of the organism filtered. Level of permeability is thus a deciding factor for filtration systems.
Chlorination is classed as an oxidising biocide that, when diluted in water, destroys cell walls of microorganisms. This chemical disinfection process using oxidising biocides is well-established and used in many water disinfection applications.
Ultraviolet (UV) Irradiation is a mode of physical disinfection whereby amalgam lamp surrounded by quartz sleeves produce UV light to denature the microorganisms’ DNA and prevent it from reproducing. UV irradiation is also well established, and used extensively in several water disinfection applications. Its targeted approach makes it effective against a wide range of microorganisms but still needs to be enhanced with other reagents such as ozone.
Ozonation is a chemical disinfection method that bubbles ozone gas into the water. By doing so, the gas decomposes and reacts with other chemicals to kill microorganisms. Though this is effective in killing microorganisms, it is not as so for larger organisms. Ozone generators are required in large volumes of ballast water, which makes this BWMS expensive and require more installation space.
Pasteurization is a recent IMO type-approved method and proving to be an emerging solution for its smart energy use. The media to be treated is heated to an elevated temperature and maintained for a given time until all viable organisms are eliminated. This requires no additional, complementary treatments such as filters. The media flows continuously throughout the whole treatment process.
To read more on pasteurization as an emerging green technology, READ HERE.
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