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Safeguarding shipping operations via a novel modular high frequency power converter to boost installation and performance of ballast water treatment systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HF-BWT (Safeguarding shipping operations via a novel modular high frequency power converter to boost installation and performance of ballast water treatment systems)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-03-31


Since the introduction of steel hulled vessels 120 years ago, sea water has been used to stabilise vessels. The spread of invasive species between oceans is now recognised as one of the greatest threats to the ecology of the planet. The International Marine Organisation's (IMO) convention comes into force on 8 September 2017, when all shipping lines will have until 2022 to install Ballast Water Treatment (BWT) equipment. This will involve some 55,000 vessels, of which approxinately 30,000 will require BWT using an electrochlorination process.

This will create a huge market of €750 million for high current dc power supplies which are used to power electrochlorination processes. Installing the new equipment on existing vessels will be a problem as space is limited.

Castlet has developed a low voltage high current switch mode power supply to reduce the size for the same power output to 30% of existing Transformer Rectifier 50/60Hz power supplies. The other advantage is modules of 500Amp output can be put in parallel for larger current requirements. Should one module fail in service the system will automatically operate at lower power until a replacement module is fitted.
At the start of this Feasibility Study Project on 1 December 2016, Castlet had reached the TRL 5/6 level with a 300Amp module. Our objective was to develop a 500Amp module and take the prototype up to TRL9 level. A significant part of the study was how could Castlet exploit this significant market against worldwide competition.

Castlet's engagement with two stakeholders is the cornerstone of their exploitation plan. A significant amount of work has taken place on the output voltage rating of Castlet's power supply to match the cell rating of the stakeholder's.

Our technical development road map has concentrated on how to increase the current output from 300Amps to 500Amps, together with a significant amount of mechanical engineering to allow for mass production.

To allow our new module power supplies to be used on board vessels, it was necessary to carry out regulatory compliance Type Testing to Lloyds register Tech 1 standards for electrical appliances. Currently Castlet is obtaining USCG type test approval for their module system. This testing is more severe than the Lloyds Regulator Testing, but necessary in order for vessels to enter USA waters.
This feasibility study has been very useful in helping to identify what needs to be done in order for this product to be viable on the worldwide market.

Additional staff will be required from 2018. By 2021 we will have created 15 new jobs for manufacture, test and service.
Castlet Team