NEI Treatment Systems’ Venturi Oxygen StrippingTM (VOS) ballast water treatment system has been issued a Type Approval Certificate of Ballast Water Management System. The Certification was issued by the Liberian Register, with technical review by the American Bureau of Shipping. Land-based biological testing was conducted by the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (USA). Shipboard trials were conducted by a team of scientists from CBL and the Marine Invasions Research Laboratory of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, a U.S. Federal Government Laboratory.
In 2004, the International Maritime Organization finalized the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, which will eventually require most internationally-trading vessels to treat ballast water to prevent the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms. Venturi Oxygen StrippingTM is a deoxygenation technology that rapidly removes 95 percent of dissolved oxygen from ballast water. This is accomplished as ballast is drawn into the vessel by mixing very-low oxygen gas through large-diameter venturi injectors in the ballast piping. Aquatic organisms cannot survive in these conditions. In addition, because the oxygen is removed, corrosion of ballast tank steel and degradation of coatings are virtually arrested. This corrosion prevention element of the VOS system can bring substantial savings in ballast tank repair and maintenance.
Upon discharge of ballast water the VOS process reverses itself. The water rapidly re-aerates. The system does not require pre-filtration, has very few moving parts, and is easily integrated into a vessel’s existing ballast control system. There are no hazardous chemicals to carry on-board, and there are no toxic by-products in the discharged ballast water. The system has no upper limit to flow rate capacity, making it useful for a wide variety of vessel types. The VOS system is currently installed on one ship, and NEI has received several orders for ships for installation in 2008. NEI Treatment Systems was the winner of Intertanko’s 2004 Environmental Challenge, an award for a technology that benefits the shipping industry as well as the environment.