Chinese marine equipment company Headway is developing a new factory near Qingdao in anticipation of a surge in demand for ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) this year.
The ratification of the Ballast Water Management Convention by Indonesia, Ghana and Morocco has brought the tonnage threshold closer. There is now an expectation that the 35% tonnage mark will be reached in 2007.
Headway is in a good position to meet demand with the new production facilities expected to be available by late 2016 or early next year and the US type approval is expected to be completed by the end of this year also.
The type approval process was started in 2014 and the land based tests were concluded in May last year, testing took place in Denmark under the supervision of class society DNV GL.
OceanGuard, Headway’s BWTS, has a small footprint according to the manufacturer and uses a low energy system: 0.8KW/hour for the smallest version, the HMT-50F, which has a flow rate of 10-50m3/hour; while the mid-range system the HMT-1000F uses 17KW/hour and processes up to 1,000m3/hour; and the highest power consumption at 69KW/hour is consumed by the largest system in the range of 13 systems, the HMT-5000F, which has a flow rate of up to 5,500m3/hour.
The system has already seen 285 installations, with around 80% of these sales for newbuild vessels and 30-40% of these sales were to foreign owners who operate a variety of vessel types, including Italy’s cruise vessel operator Costa Crociere. Systems have also been fitted to tankers, bulk carriers, container vessels and, most recently, there has been an order for 12 systems to be fitted to Grimaldi’s pure car and truck carrier newbuildings currently under construction at the Yangfan yard in China. Of the total 486 orders for OceanGuard the vast majority, 80%, come from foreign owners, says the company.
OceanGuard uses a filtration system that is effective for microbes greater than 50μ, water is then passed through a steriliser known as an EUT unit which uses electrocatalysis and ultrasound to kill bacteria. No chemicals are used in the process, says Headway.
An Advanced Electrocatalysis Oxidation Process (AEOP) produces hydroxyl radicals, and the company says: “These radicals have a high sterilisation efficiency, which are able to kill different bacteria, viruses, algae and dormant ovum in ballast water effectively (broad spectrum sterilisation) in a chained mode. The sterilisation process can be completed within the EUT Unit. The concentration of TRO (total residual oxidation) can be controlled within 2ppm, so that the TRO can carry out advanced management on the water in ballast tanks.”
The system is operated from a control unit which “consists of a control system, recording system, display system and alarm system. It is in charge of the entire system controlling, including the processing of every monitoring signal, the alarm signal, the linkage of the system and the auto-control of the system start-up and shutdown order.”
A breakdown in the system will trigger an audio and visual alarm and will automatically shut-down the BWTS and operators can control and adjust settings through the control unit. According to ABB, which provides some of the electrics used in the Headway system, there were some teething problems; one was an issue of space and the other challenge was with the starting solution.
“There were issues with the behaviour of the motor control centre that manages the starts and stops of the motors running the pumps of the BWMS [ballast water management system]. Using older starting solutions such as star delta and direct online led to excessive starting torque, causing damage to the motors and pumps.”
The solution was to use ABB’s own softstarters. Switching to the PSE softstarter meant using a significantly more compact motor control centre than before. This solved the crucial issue of space for installation. The starting characteristics of the motors in Qingdao Headway Technology’s BWMS also benefitted from ABB’s softstarters. The ability to soft start motors and avoid excessive starting torque and current spikes, meant a longer lifespan for the system,” says ABB.
According to Headway the cost of installation for the OceanGuard system is comparable with its competitors, but its operational costs are claimed to be significantly lower than many of the system’s competitors.
In addition, the system has a number of sensors fitted that will give operators information on the operational status of the BWTS.
“Sensors include a salinity meter, flow meter and TRO sensor, and they can respectively measure the parameters of salinity, flow rate and TRO, in order to accurately reflect the operating status of the system in time. Adjustments will be made according to the data of sensors by the control unit for an ideal treatment effect. Salinity, flow rate and TRO are important parameters in the control process and through calling the internal store programme, the control unit can make the EUT unit proceed with the relevant initial operating mode and optimum TRO operating status,” the company explains.
Operators can take up to two weeks to train in the use of the BWTS, but Headway believes this is the longest period, shorter training will be sufficient for crews that have a greater “understanding”.
OceanGuard was developed in collaboration with universities in China and the Headway R&D department. The system is patented and represents a key step in the development of China’s equipment manufacturers and the reputation that the country is trying to build.