Business Manager, Evoqua Water Technologies
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your position with Evoqua.
I’ve held various technical and management positions throughout my career in sectors including industrial power, automotive and water treatment for both industrial and municipal users. I first became involved with ballast water treatment in 2002 when I collaborated on the design of one of the first ballast water treatment systems (BWTS).
In 2003, I successfully oversaw the installation of that system. Since then, I’ve been personally involved in more than 25 installations of BWTS on both new-build and retrofit ships. As the chief executive of Hyde Marine, one of the original BWTS companies, I led the organization through the first International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) type approval process, which was completed by Lloyd’s Register and the British MCA.
I am currently the business manager for Evoqua Water Technologies, with a focus on the company’s SeaCURE Ballast Water Management System. In this role, I focus on building the infrastructure necessary to ensure that we can provide our customers with the aftersales support and service they need to ensure compliance for the life of their vessels.
As you know very well, Ballast Water Management technology is a hot topic of discussion. For our readers not in the know, can you explain Evoqua’s offering in the BWM niche?
The SeaCURE Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) is a thoroughly tested and field proven system. It has evolved from an existing Evoqua product - the long-established Chloropac Marine Growth Prevention System, which has been servicing needs of the maritime and offshore oil and gas industries for more than 40 years. Electrocatalytic, the Evoqua brand behind the SeaCURE product, is a pioneer in the electrochlorination industry.
During ballast water uptake by the ship owner, the SeaCURE BWMS uses a combination of technologies to achieve the treatment standards. First, the larger organisms are mechanically removed via a highly efficient, self-cleaning filter. After filtration, the water is treated with sodium hypochlorite, which is produced on-site by our electrolyzer. The electrolyzer uses a small side stream of about 1 percent of the ballast water flow to generate the sodium hypochlorite.
We offer a dual purpose system, where SeaCURE BWMS can also be used as a marine growth prevention system, saving costs on a second system for this function for the owner or operator.
At the true heart of the system is the electrolyzer cell, where the sodium hypochlorite is produced. We have been producing such items for decades for the marine industry. Our experience allows us to minimize the power usage and the hypochlorite production to meet the incoming water quality conditions.
What approvals, to date, has the Evoqua BWM offering received?
The SeaCURE BWMS has already attained alternate management systems (AMS) acceptance for fresh, brackish and full saline water. Indeed, SeaCURE BWMS was the first electrochlorination system to receive AMS acceptance for all three salinities. The system has also received IMO type approval from German flag state authority BSH Marine, and marine design approval by Lloyds Register.
Evoqua was also the first company to complete low salinity (brackish) water testing in the USA for ballast water management solutions as part of United States Coast Guard (USCG) protocols through an Independent Laboratory. SeaCURE BWMS testing was completed at the Marine Environmental Resource Center (MERC) in Baltimore, Maryland, under rigorous conditions that replicate the environment in which the system will be operating. We are in the process of completing land-based testing in the other two salinities, in addition to shipboard testing and we expect to have all USCG approvals before the end of the year.
From our perspective, there is a fair amount of confusion and concern among the ship owning community regarding the entire Ballast Water Management issue. How do you see it from your perspective?
The issue of ballast water treatment and leading regulations is one that is still unclear to many owners and operators. We continually try to keep up to date with the market developments so that we can provide the best counsel for our customers. At the moment, there are changes on an almost weekly basis. The recent USCG rejection on the most probable number (MPN) test method, the closer steps to ratification, and before Christmas the lawsuit initiated by environmental groups in the US Court of Appeals (Natural Resources Defense Council et al v. EPA et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 13-1745, 13-2392, 13-2757), all combine to create confusion in this sector.
When you discuss Ballast Water Management systems with vessel owners, how would you characterize their main question and concerns?
Owners have a number of issues. As this is certainly a non-revenue generating expense, one of the questions will always be cost. Not only cost to purchase but also to install, run and maintain. The more savvy owners are definitely looking at the total cost of ownership. After the total cost comes the question of reliability and with that service. Ships operate worldwide around the clock 365 days a year. Owners want to know that if an issue arises, the manufacturer will be there to quickly resolve the problem and ensure the ship meets its schedule.
The most recent concern we are learning about is about the longevity of the company behind the system. Given that dozens of new companies have entered the market looking to capitalize on the upcoming demand, owners want to be sure that the company behind the technology is stable and going to be around for the lifetime of the vessel.
If you see confusion and uncertainty in the market, what do you see as the top ways in which this confusion and uncertainty could be removed?
Partnerships with a supplier who has vast experience within the market. Make sure that they are abreast of all changes and can advise you not just on a system for a single vessel but on an entire solution for your fleet. As long as there are competing regulations with different testing standards, there will always be some confusion. The only way to ensure worldwide compliance is by installing a system that meets the highest, strictest standard, which is the USCG type approval. Installing a USCG type approved system ensures that you can operate your vessel anywhere in the world.
Please give an overview of Evoqua’s investment, today and going forward, in the BWM solution.
Evoqua is currently undertaking USCG type approval testing in the USA with the NSF and MERC testing facilities; investment ensures that we have a solution that is tested and proven to the highest standards.
We are also investing in our people, partner network and facilities to make sure that we are ready when the market needs us.
(As published in the April 2016 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News)