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In 2010, Cathelco set up a new harbourside R&D facility in Kiel to focus exclusively on the development of the Cathelco BWT system.
The Kiel team is headed by Matthias Voigt, an acknowledged expert in the field. His involvement in ballast water research stretches back to 1998 when he became a partner in the EU Concerted Action on ‘Testing monitoring systems for risk assessment of harmful introductions by ships to European water’ (1998-2000).
Later he developed test protocols for the evaluation of the biological efficacy of ballast water treatment options which were subsequently applied to ballast water research projects worldwide. Since then he has acted as an adviser to the CEFIC delegation at the IMO-MEPC.
From the outset, Cathelco recognised that one type of BWT system was unlikely to serve the needs of all ships, bearing in mind differences in size, construction and trading patterns. As a result, they looked at systems which involve a combination of filtration and ultra violet light treatment
Filtration is effective in removing the silt and organisms from the seawater, whilst ultra violet light kills germs. In addition, active membrane technology can remove both silt and germs using well established reverse osmosis principles.
“We have avoided treatments that involve the use of chemicals as there are risks in introducing biocides into seawater from an environmental perspective”, said Justin Salisbury, managing director of Cathelco.
Cathelco will work alongside customers to determine the best BWT system for their particular ship or fleet. This requires an understanding of a number of characteristics.
In terms of the ballast system arrangement, it is essential to know the total ballast capacity and the number of ballast tanks, also, if these are contiguous with cargo oil or other hazardous cargo tanks.
It is also important to have an understanding of the ballast system equipment. Here questions will involve the number of ballast pumps and their flow rates, the location of the pumps, seachests and details of the electrical supply.
Ballast water handling practices also have a bearing on the type of system supplied. So, for instance, it is important to know how much ballast is loaded or discharged at any given port and how quickly the process needs to be carried out.
The quality of the ballast water before treatment also needs to be taken into consideration. This includes an understanding of the minimum salinity of the water and whether it contains low, moderate or heavy amounts of silt.
The trading pattern of the vessel is also important in the design of the BWT system. This particularly applies if the ship trades in special BWT zones such as California, Great Lakes and Australia.
These are just a few of the issues which need to be taken into consideration in designing and supplying an effective BWT system which answers the requirements of a particular vessel.
Based on many years of experience in the maritime industry, Cathelco is confident in providing the most practical and cost effective solution to ballast water treatment.
“We are very conscious of the need to develop a system which is cost effective. This is essential to commercial success and will help to reduce the burden on customers who will need to equip all of the vessels in their fleet”, Justin Salisbury concluded.