How to treat ship wastewater efficiently and effectively

Oct 03, 2013
How to treat ship wastewater efficiently and effectively
Credit: Shutterstock

Ship-source polluting discharges constitute a criminal offence under EU law, with operators facing increasing scrutiny. Even the discharge of bilge water - seawater that collects in a ship and must be pumped out - has to be done within tight regulations, as it often mixes with oil and toxic chemicals.

The answer, according to OILECLEAR, an EU-funded project started in 2012, is to develop a fully automatic, complete stand-alone bilge water treatment unit for ships and rigs, capable of separating emulsified from water via a novel three-phase separator design. This will enable operators to confidently meet current and future bilge and slop water regulations with regard to oil hydrocarbons (THC), dissolved organics and toxic metals.

Indeed, the overriding goal is to enable ships and rigs exploring offshore for oil and gas - the primary target markets for the OILECLEAR system - to meet all current and expected regulations regarding oil-in-water. The potential impact of the project is huge because bilge water is common to all ships. It tends to consist of a varying assortment of oil and grease, oxygen-demanded substances, and organic and inorganic materials including volatile , semi-, inorganic salts and metals.

Current regulations put limitations on the discharge of this oily water at 15 ppm (parts per million) of THCs, while sensitive areas can have more stringent requirements. OILECLEAR is developing a bilge water system that meets a THC standard of 5 ppm. The process will be optimised and automated, providing a system to end users that can be easily operated and maintained.

The OILECLEAR system works by separating emulsified oil and water by use of a novel separator design. The main features / components of this are a self-rinsing and adjustable electrolysis cell, a combined floatation and sedimentation sludge separation unit, an explosion proof design and an all-enclosed gas phase design. The innovation also features off-gas catalytic treatment for minimum air contamination and an alarm which cuts off effluent if the effluent level becomes too high.

Effluent data and operation will be integrated with process control by using ultrasound measurement of flow and particles and automatic logging and monitoring of THC by UV-fluorescence.

The project, which is due for completion towards the end of 2014, is being coordinated by Westmatic AB (Sweden). As an electrode cell and separation unit technology provider, this company will, post-project, sell the fully integrated systems and service to the market. Other project partners include IMU-TEC OY (Finland), NaCoM AS (Norway) and LE Stena Line (Sweden), which is contributing end user requirement guidance. EU funding has been received to the tune of ?1 149 000.

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

More information: www.oileclear.com

Related Stories

Ship will make its own waves for rig safety (w/ Video)

Sep 26, 2013

(Phys.org) —A so-called "hotel" ship to accommodate offshore oil rig workers is under construction, which will be engineered in a way to maintain its stability even over rough seas. The new Norwegian ship ...

Purifying dairy wastewater while producing electricity

Jun 14, 2013

In an EU-funded project the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart is developing, together with industrial and scientific partners, a modular system to purify dairy wastewater ...

Environmental bridge over troubled waters

May 08, 2013

A breakthrough innovation designed to purify water through the rapid removal of oily pollutants, could have major environmental benefits in agriculture and manufacturing industries.

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.