Project Description

Transfer of invasive marine species via ballast water, is a major global ecological and economic problem. The EcoSeaSafe project is developing a ballast water treatment system securing inactivation of microbial invasive species in ballast water.

The system will apply reverse pulsed direct current (DC) electric field without affecting the water chemistry. Consequently, EcoSeaSafe will fully eliminate target species specified by the guidelines of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In addition, EcoSeaSafe will offer a clear alternative to state-of-the-art ballast water treatment as a cost effective, environmentally accepted, user-friendly, compact and safe technology.

The market driver for EcoSeaSafe is the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, adopted on 13 February 2004 by the IMO. This Convention requires effective control and management of ballast water, either through ballast water exchange (BWE) or ballast water treatment (BWT). However, BWE will be phased out as an acceptable method of complying with the Convention within the period 2012-2016. Also, the Convention describes a standard for effective removal or inactivation of the organisms potentially entrained in the ballast water, which may become subject to revision to meet more stringent conditions suggested by the US. It is very likely that the future standard will fulfill the US demand of zero emissions of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, as well as toxic chemicals added or induced by the BWT. In addition, both IMO and UNDP aim at including secondary toxic chemical species in research, monitoring, regulation and mitigation within the future standard.

Today, there are very few treatment systems that have obtained IMO approval despite efforts by a number of technology developers and vendors. Facing this huge global market for new ballast water treatment technologies, EcoSeaSafe seeks to meet both the current and the possible new IMO requirements for treatment technologies. The SMEs involved in EcoSeaSafe have identified a new, large market opportunity that will enable them to exploit a superior technology and enhance their competitive position and economic growth as well as international network of cooperation.

The EcoSeaSafe system has minimal footprint and can be easily installed on new ships as well as retrofitted on existing vessels without disrupting the structural integrity of the vessel. To attain the technological objectives of the proposed project, innovative developments will be undertaken that include development of an innovative pulse generator, a novel radical reactor of innovative alloys, and a process control unit for controlling the required pulse frequency, amplitude and shape as well as efficient inactivation with minimal electrode distance.