There is an array of Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) on the market, but effectiveness in real-world conditions can vary wildly.

The most popular systems include: Full-flow electro-chlorination technology, ultra-violet technologies, side-stream ballast water systems and filterless systems. But according to Clarksons Research (August 2020), 46% of the market has installed electro-chlorination BWTS.

ERMA FIRST believes a full-flow electro-chlorination proposition is the best all-round offering, both in terms of effectiveness and reducing OPEX.

A two-pronged attack

The ERMA FIRST FIT BWTS comprises of a filter stage, followed by full flow electro-chlorination. Sea water is used in the disinfection stage to generate the requisite amount of disinfectant through the electrolysis of the filtered ballast water.

It also employs special electrodes that allow a broad environmental envelope of operation, while offering flexible solutions for both safe area and hazardous zone installation.

Photo: ERMA FIRST

Water salinity and clarity can seriously affect the ability of a BWMS to work to its full potential. However, a full-flow electro-chlorination system - which is supported by filtration - can manage large volumes quickly with low power consumption. Turbidity and low ultraviolet transmissivity do not present the same challenges to an electro-chlorination system as they ordinarily would to a UV system.

"Not only does the ERMA FIRST FIT BWTS need minimal power requirements, it also doesn't take up valuable cargo space," said Konstantinos Stampedakis, managing director at ERMA FIRST. "It's designed to be installed quickly and includes intelligent controls and artificial intelligence for real-time remote monitoring.”

The system is designed to deliver compliance for ships trading globally and has been uniquely tested and certified with three different 40µm basket filters. Each filter’s performance has been proven in conjunction with the specially designed electro-chlorination cells. The achieved bio-efficacy meets and exceeds the dis-charge standards as defined by the IMO and US Coast Guard.

ERMA FIRST BWTS FIT Photo: ERMA FIRST

Focusing on OPEX

BWMS contributes to ship operational expenditure either directly or indirectly. BWMS power consumption is a direct OPEX. A stay in port due to BWMS flow restrictions in challenging water conditions would be regarded as an indirect cost.

Reduced UV intensity due to ageing UV lamps and quartz sleeves is an important example because it impacts UV dose, where flow reduction and/or power ramp up are resultant countermeasures. Operational modes designed to deal with specific operational challenges, in addition to system design limitations (SDL), provide a reasonable indication of factors that contribute to BWMS OPEX.

"With UV and electro-chlorination BWMS, there are significant OPEX differences between these two types of systems," said ERMA FIRST chief technology officer Stelios Kyriacou.

"For a BWMS operating in seawater conditions with low water turbidity, a filter-UV system will be operating at the lower level of power as UV transmittance is high (>70%). An equivalent filter-EC system will also operate at low power levels due to favourable salinity conditions. However, the key difference is electro-chlorination system operates only on ballasting, a UV system is also used at de-ballasting hence the power related costs are significantly higher."

The Excellence of Simplicity

ERMA FIRST delivers cutting edge BWTS solutions that set the standard for effective ballast water treatment with superior operational readiness, build quality and ease of use.

  • HIGH POWER EFFICIENCY
  • SINGLE MODE OF OPERATION
  • THE ONLY BWTS WITH INTEGRATED AI
  • THREE DIFFERENT FILTER OPTIONS
  • SINGLE CONFIGURATION WILL SATISFY BOTH IMO AND USCG REQUIREMENTS
Source: ERMA FIRST