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New bilge water treatment system for use on ships and oil rigs is now under development

Meeting the water regulations for discharge of bilge water from ships and rigs can be a challenge, but new technology and research might put an end to it. An EU financed project for development of a bilge water system which meets a THC (Total Hydrocarbon) standard of 5ppm has now started.

Regulations put limitations to discharge of oily water from ships and oil rigs. IMO, Annex 1, has set a limit of 15 ppm THC, while sensitive areas can have more stringent requirements. Voluntary type approval – CLEAN DESIGN, used by the shipping industry to show environmental awareness and considerations, set limits of 5 ppm THC. Current available technology for bilge water treatment requires relatively high energy consumption and maintenance costs, and compliance with regulations is not easy to monitor and document. Over the next two years, the consortium in OilEClear plan to develop a complete stand-alone bilge water treatment unit for ships and rigs, which is safe, compact, economic and fully automatic and which provides treatment down to 5ppm TCH. The OilEClear bilge water system will use electrocoagulation and three-phase separation for efficient separation of oil. The process will be optimized and automated, providing a system to the end users that can be easily operated and maintained and which ensure that discharge meet a requirement of 5 ppm. The research and results taken forward in the OilEClear project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program, managed by REA Research Executive Agency FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement no 314958. For more information about the project, please contact Carl-Olov Persson at Westmatic AB, +46 570 72 76 03 and visit the project website


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