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Katie Weaver*:The Ecochlor® BWTS: Proven Effective and Reliable for over 12 Years at Sea

It started with a conversation in the late 1990’s between two senior-level employees in the pulp and paper industry regarding the use of chlorine dioxide in their industrial processes.

Tom Perlich, Ecochlor’s president and founder, had become interested in the international effort to prevent the spread of invasive species in ship’s ballast water and thought chlorine dioxide would make a great treatment technology.

Chlorine dioxide was already being used safely and effectively in industrial and municipal water treatment applications, but had not yet been considered for shipboard applications in ballast water treatment. The concept was simple: Chlorine dioxide injected at a low dose into the ballast line will kill organisms in ballast water. Once in the ballast tanks, chlorine dioxide degrades to salts, which are naturally present in seawater. Thus, in 2001 Ecochlor, Inc. was formed with the sole purpose of commercializing recently obtained patents for a superior ballast water treatment technology. 

In 2004, the company installed its first system on the Atlantic Container Line’s, Atlantic Compass, one of the world’s largest combined container/RORO ships. Two years later a second system was installed on the bulk carrier, the MV Moku Pahu, operated by Matson Navigation, which carries sugar from Hawaii to the US West Coast and grain to Asia.

Christian Johnsen, Chief Officer of the MV Moku Pahu shared his thoughts about using the Ecochlor® BWTS onboard his vessel. “The Ecochlor System has worked well for us in that, its relatively small footprint was easily retrofitted into our existing ballast system, it uses an almost negligible amount of electrical power and works effectively in all water conditions, including the sediment filled, biologically saturated waters off Chittagong, Bangladesh. Ecochlor has shown their commitment to our system by reliably providing support, scheduled service and chemical resupply as needed.”

Since those first systems were sold, the system has undergone extensive testing and received International Maritime Organization (IMO) Type Approval (2011), US Coast Guard (USCG) Alternative Management System (AMS) Acceptance (2013), and numerous classification society approvals including Lloyd’s Register, American Bureau of Shipping, Class NK, Bureau Veritas, and RMRS. While other BWTS manufacturers have had to modify their systems to meet changing regulatory requirements, Ecochlor’s core technology has never changed. 

USCG Type Approval Process

In 2013, after receipt of USCG AMS Acceptance, Ecochlor started the process for USCG Type Approval. DNV GL was selected as Ecochlor’s Independent Laboratory (IL), in order to secure DNV GL classification society approval simultaneously with USCG Type Approval.

Following completion of preliminary test plans, Ecochlor submitted a letter of intent (LOI) to the USCG indicating the intention to initiate testing. A treatment system was installed at the California Maritime Academy’s Golden Bear Facility (GBF) in March 2015 and both land-based and shipboard testing starting in April of that year.

All testing required for USCG Type Approval was completed in September 2016. Since that time, Ecochlor has continued to work diligently with DNV GL to finalize the required paperwork and submit an application, though the road has been arduous.

As one of the first manufacturers to pursue USCG Type Approval, there have been delays as Ecochlor has worked with DNV GL to finalize testing and reporting procedures. Each ballast water treatment manufacturer who went through this testing prior to Ecochlor also experienced these challenges to some degree. Fortunately, as we are nearing the end of this process, we have four manufacturers who have led the way, giving DNV GL and Ecochlor better insight to allow for a smoother process towards Type Approval.

One example, is the scaling requirements. The Ecochlor system installed on the Golden Bear was an ES-400S-1.0, capable of treating flow rates up to 400 m3/hr. Ecochlor is working to document the system’s ability to scale up so that it will be approved for the wide range of flow rates it’s capable of treating (up to 16,200 m3/hr). As a team, DNV GL and Ecochlor are working together to provide supporting documentation to ensure the system is approved without operational limitations.

As these final details are addressed with DNV GL, Ecochlor remains poised to submit its application and obtain USCG Type Approval.  Ecochlor’s test results from USCG Type Approval indicate that the Ecochlor System can meet and in most cases exceed USCG discharge criteria.  This has come as no surprise to those who have been following Ecochlor since the beginning.

Tom Perlich said, “In the past year, Ecochlor has seen a lot more activity from shipowners and has been working in force to prepare for a very busy 2017 due to the IMO ratification and upcoming USCG Type Approval. Shipowners SCF Novoship and Unicom are in the process of installing our system on their tankers. Between last fall and early 2017 a total of seven Ecochlor systems were installed on their vessels, six more are pending installation and (at this time) 14 more are on the books for later in 2017. The Ecochlor BWTS is well-known for its efficacy in all water types, its low power requirements and flexible installations on mid-sized ships to some of the largest vessels in the world.”

Our focus is effective ballast water treatment. Our mission is to help shipowners protect our coastal ecosystems and meet regulatory requirements in the most effective and efficient way, now, 12 years from now, and longer.

* Ecochlor Technical Sales Manager


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