In deciding which is the best-fit ballast water system, shipowners need to assess their vessel types, trading patterns, ballast capacity and flow rate requirements against these key OpEx considerations:
- Power Consumption
Power consumption will vary depending on the type of treatment mode. For example, electrochlorination systems are dependent on seawater temperature and salinity, which means that they use considerably more power in low-temperature or low-salinity conditions. First-generation UV treatment systems are known to be larger and more power-intensive. Even as the technology evolves, UV systems still require large amounts of energy. Low-pressure lamps utilise less power but have a larger footprint than medium-pressure lamps due to a longer lamp length and the need for up to 10 times as many lamps.
- Spares & Consumables
Certain ballast water management systems will require more consumable parts than other types. For example, mechanical forms of treatment such as Filtration will have high spare parts consumption. The amount of new filters replaced is dependent on the membrane permeability: if low, surface filtration of microorganisms is not practical and may have to be complemented with another filter or treatment method.
- Operation Requirements
Considerations for the workflow of your ship crew is imperative in ensuring high-performance and mitigating safety risks. Sophisticated ballast water management systems may deliver in meeting discharge standards enforced by the Convention, but may in turn require complex instructions for your crew. Adherence to manufacturer’s instructions is critical, so choosing a BWM system based on straightforward instructions is also something shipowners should factor in.
- Maintenance Requirements
The performance of the BWM system may be dependent on water quality and salinity. Certain processes like UV irradiation will require maintaining clear water to allow for strong UV transmission. This requirement may necessitate another treatment system before UV disinfection, as well as unfouled quartz sleeves to be effective.
- Availability of After-Sales Service
It goes without saying that accessibility to after-sales service is vital for your ship’s operations. Prioritising this is dependent on your crew’s knowledge base beyond the manufacturer’s instructions.
Overall, the BWMS market is still at its early stages with multiple makers of varying strengths and weaknesses. A mismatch in ship and BWMS may incur unseen costs, high consumption in energy and in spare parts like filters. Due diligence is critical in ensuring IMO-compliance and that there will be no surprises in OpEx and spare parts consumption rate.
For these reasons, the best-fit Ballast Water Management System is one that does its job according to regulations, runs at low-cost and is hassle-free.
Read more on what Types of Ballast Water Management Systems are out there.
This article is bought to you by Giantech Engineering. Click here to find out more about Ballast Water Treatment Systems.