During the 2020 GREEN4SEA Athens Forum, Mr. Vaggelis Papalaios, Regional Division Manager, Capital Sales, Marine Division, Alfa Laval shared lessons learned from 15 years of BWM experiences. Providing statistics from ballast water in numbers for the world’s fleet, Mr. Papalaios highlighted the need of balance between price and value when retrofitting a BWTS, while focused on high power consumption as a measure of biological performance.
Ballast water management is nowadays an inescapable fact leading both organizations, IMO and the USCG, to legislate on the issue accordingly. Two years ago the convention was enforced and we still have 33,000 ships that must be retrofitted, meaning 16 ships per day. At the same time, vendors are also trying to develop their own systems and gain market shares accordingly. For the next years, the industry will need to climb the retrofit mountain, ramping up eventually by mid of 2021 and will start to size down after 2023.
With a closer look, vessels in need of USCG type approval will have to install systems at the next dry docking while vessels with decoupled certificates may want to recouple and some owners will make early moves due to concern of availability in 2022.
Now is the time to make decisions and have your retrofit plans ready.
Trying to develop and optimizing systems’ performance according to the USCG and the IMO requirements, we have been questioning ourselves about the relations between certification and performance.
For example, having power consumption, does it really mean biological performance, or could UV be used as a value to compare different UV systems performance? We have compared two generations of Alfa Laval pure ballast, pure ballast 2 and 3 which have the same capacity. We have managed to reduce power consumption from 144KW to about maximum 100KW. But, the UV transmittance has been significantly dropped down to 42% instead of 50%. That means that high power consumption is not always the main target, while other critical factors that shipowners are taking into account for decision making are: ballast water temperature, salinity and UVI/UVT, which are more tangible and should be clearly mentioned in IMO and USCG revised type approval certificate.
The systems installed after October 28, 2020, need to be retrofitted, and certified according to the revised G8 guidelines. So, for those that haven’t started yet having this type of approval, it will be very difficult to acquire it at the end of this year.
Walking the R&D path from the very beginning until the approvals, will manage to reduce the footprints and power consumption on two important sizes, 1,000 cubic metres and 1,5000 metres, mainly used in tankers and bulk carriers.
We have now developed a complete solution consisting of systems, booster pump and deckhouse, that eliminates installation cost, avoiding modification on existing ballast pumps that can be too costly and sometimes we have noticed from operational performance and compliance point of view, are too risky.
Furthermore, bulk carrier shipowners who would like to have chemical free operation from their bulkers, and no production of hydrogen onboard, could benefit now from the UV technology advantage since last year we launched the Bulker-Fit Configuration, with a filter designed for 1-pump operation of ship during ballast, and the UV reactors designed for 2 pump operations of ship during deballast.
Without the change in components, the certification was already there, just modular combination of UVR and filter.
For example, in a handy size bulk carrier that has 2 pumps of 700 cubic metres, we used to deliver standard system having 15,000 filter; not it’s possible to use the bulker-fit that has 750 cubic metre filter and also one reactor of 1, 500 cubic metre.
Another challenge we faced is training. It will play a significant role during the experiencing building phase we are currently running. This challenge to cover crew training worldwide, was the key driver to create four master training centres globally.
Last but not least, i would like to draw your attention on the compliance issue. The USCG and the IMO, are clearly requesting systems to be well maintained and operated according to service manual, based on which they were tested and certified, as well as operation to prove through samplings that the systems are compliant with the regulation.
Experience from the USCG is that none compliance is often a consequence of improper handling of a BWMS.
The message from our pure ballast president is clear:
A ballast system itself isn’t sufficient to remain compliant.
Compliance service cannot be achieved without strong global network. We have certainly established and secured 57 engineers worldwide dedicated to ballast. However, the forecast is that by the end of 2020, to reach 100 engineers totally. Although we are in Q1 of this year, we have managed to have a 50% cover. So, approximately, we are 75 engineers in total.
Adding connectivity service that it is getting more and more attention, we are confident that installed systems will be able to comply through automatic reporting and remote troubleshooting.
To summarize, it is now for shipowners to decide about their acton plans in ballast retrofit based not only in systems real value and performance, but also in ease of use, and maturity. Shipowners will need to consider the time frame during rump ups and the most important is to select the preferred ventors who should have lifetime compliance and longterm commitment.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
Above article is an edited version of Mr. Papalaios’ presentation during the 2020 GREEN4SEA Athens Forum.
You may view his presentation herebelow
Vaggelis Papalaios is the Regional Division Manager, Capital Sales of Alfa Laval’s Marine Division.