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Ultraviolet (UV) Light System for Ballast Water

by:LiangYueLiang     2019-12-20

The UV ballast water treatment system now is more and more widely applied to the shipping industries. Why? Explore this article and you will find out the reasons. 

UV ballast water treatment system is effective in removing small organisms. 

Most ships, especially the large ones use ballast water to the stability during the voyage. However, the ballast water always contains small organisms like plankton, fish larvae, and pathogens which can be along with the ship and brought into other countries. Thus, to prevent the invasion of Aquatic species and preserve the biological and ecological equilibrium, ship owners/operators are required to treat their ballast water properly according to the regulations to remover bacteria, pathogens, and other small organisms.

 The ultraviolet light ballast water treatment system consists of UV lamps that surround a chamber that the ballast water passes through. The UV light can effectively sterilize the water. In the UV-C range, the wavelength of 254 nanometers can deactivate and destroy the DNA that small organisms rely on to live and reproduce. The process does not involve any chemicals. Thus, in addition to being effective, UV-based system is also eco-friendly. 

Does electro chlorination still prevail over the ultraviolet light ballast system today? 

Chemical treatment technologies can be very effective to treat ballast water. They offer a number of benefits, such as low power consumption. However, the chemicals used should not only be effective for marine organisms but also be easy to degrade and remove to prevent the discarded water from becoming toxic to the ocean. Otherwise, the ecological environment will be seriously damaged. 

In the early days of ballast

water treatment, electro chlorination was widely thought to be more suitable for treating water of large flow rate. There was a reason for it. The first generation of UV ballast water treatment system was often larger and consumed more energies compared to the electro chlorination system. However, in modern days, the trend has been changed. With the significant development of UV-based water treatment technology, such bias no longer exists. Using ultraviolet light for ballast water treatment is increasingly popular in today’s shipping market.

Recent market and technology developments indicate a shift in thinking about ballast water treatment systems for oil tankers and other large ships. Today, a growing number of ship owners are finding that ultraviolet light ballast water treatment method has more advantages over electro chlorination in treating ballast water at high flow rates, even in terms of power consumption and carbon footprint. Today's UV system for ballast water treatment is rather competitive either in aspects of power or footprint parameters, even in the large flow rate in sea shipping. Its simplicity and lower operating costs are tipping the balance of the choice between electro chlorination and UV technology. 

Today UV ballast water treatment system has equal power and footprint. 

More and more ship owners are realizing that in practice, the power consumption of electro chlorination and UV ballast water treatment system of today is almost the same. To be clear, the electro chlorination system relies on the temperature and salinity of seawater, which means that this system consumes more power when the temperature or salinity is low. But for the latest UV-base system, it is not only effective in power management but also suitable for all water types, completely unaffected by temperature and salinity. 

When it comes to carbon footprint, the ultraviolet light ballast system is smaller than the electro chlorination system. Its pure ballast water system can be optimally configured to match the ship and its ballast water flow. Moreover, there is no need for heaters and major auxiliary equipment, thereby the UV-based system is also easier and less expensive to install compared to the electro chlorination system. 

UV ballast water treatment system is also advantageous in operation.

When energy consumption and carbon footprint are roughly equal to the electro chlorination system, the advantage in the operation of the UV ballast water treatment system thus becomes even eminent, altering ship owners’ preference of electro chlorination system. Using the ultraviolet light ballast system for water treatment is much safer and easier. How’s that?

When using the electro chlorination system, the chemicals used need proper storage and handling. The strong safety measures include equipping the explosion storage tank with extra ventilation, adding extra safety equipment, as well as offer professional training to crews. Besides, the process of electro chlorination generates hydrogen and chlorine gases. These two gases are not only toxic but also highly flammable when mixed, which is rather hazardous if not be handled well. And all these safety measures add to the cost. The UV system for ballast water treatment, by contrast, requires no chemicals. And the operation is relatively easy. As the process does not generate harmful substances, there is no need to take any measures to prevent corrosion and neutralize residual oxidant. Taken together, these factors mean less risk, less maintenance, and less operating cost. 

The ultraviolet light ballast water treatment process is a proven, reliable and eco-friendly method. In the future, this technology might be further developed for the benefits of the environment and the shipping industry in general.                                

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