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Disruptive and patented microfluidic technology purification for ship ballast water, being maintenance free, eliminating clogging of filters and providing significant life-cycle cost savings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TRILO-BWTS (Disruptive and patented microfluidic technology purification for ship ballast water, being maintenancefree, eliminating clogging of filters and providing significant life-cycle cost savings)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-11-30

There is significant transfer of ballast water between different continents and oceans, an activity that also can transport invasive organisms into new ecosystems. There are hundreds of examples of major ecological, economic and human health impacts across the globe. New regulation from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) prompts the need and the case for investing in ballast water systems (BWTS).

The motivation and desired outcome of the overall TRILO-BWTS project is to bring to market a system for purification of ship ballast water based on TM’s patented microfluidic technology for removal of small particles and microorganisms. The system will be cheaper and more efficient than existing solutions, avoiding clogging of filters and the need for chemicals / consumables. The system will be compact and have no moving parts, leading also to more reliable and ‘maintenance free’ operations, providing energy savings and lower life-time costs.
The work plan has consisted of one 6-month Work Package, the Feasibility Study. Detailed tasks have been performed as per the below:
* Task 1: Market and competitor analysis
Review of actions taken and deliverables: The original plan was followed based on a combination of a top down (market reports etc.) and bottom up (interviews, industry meetings etc.) approach. We highlight in particular a visit to the SMM conference in Hamburg in September, the leading international maritime fair. Market developments during the project period have been highly conducive to the TRILO-BWTS value proposition, with new regulation being ratified and resulting in an expected additional BWTS market pull. While concerns remain from shipowners over costs and the approval of systems, the BWTS suppliers stand to benefit.

* Task 2: Cost assessment
Review of actions taken and deliverables: Detailed calculations have been firmed up in a financial model that ties together the technology roadmap, the foreseen organizational build up and capital needs and sources. The model with detailed cost breakdowns and dynamic assessments has been actively used also with prospective financial investors during the project period.

* Task 3: Detailed business plan
Review of actions taken and deliverables: During the SME Instrument Phase I project period, we studied the feasibility to move our technology from TRL6 to TRL9. The work done on the business plan provided significant synergies also for dialogues with investors, interaction with prospective customers and for other purposes.

* Task 4: IPR analysis and strategy
Review of actions taken and deliverables: The SME Instrument phase 1 grant has enabled a more focused review of TMs IPR position. Our position with respect to the company’s patents is well documented and ‘freedom to operate’ has been re-confirmed

* Task 5: Shipboard piloting design and regulatory feasibility
Review of actions taken and deliverables: In addition to the broad activities highlighted in the original application, we have gathered comprehensive documentation from two shipping companies for specific piloting activity.

* Task 6: Detailed Phase II development plan
Review of actions taken and deliverables: Significant work has been done to gather input. The project has progressed in line with the ambitious plan laid out in the SME Instrument phase 1 application and the overall objective remains intact.
TRILO-BWTS will be able to provide the world’s shipping industry with the ability to remove or liquidate all particles, bacteria and viruses from the ships’ ballast tanks. The success of the project will help contribute to reducing the serious environmental, ecological, and economic threats to both coastal communities and the marine environment – opening up a major business opportunity for TM and introducing an innovative product to the transport sector to preserve Europe’s leadership and create new jobs, as well as to tackle environmental and mobility challenges. Our solution is a market disruptive world-first solution, substantially lowering ship-owners life-cycle costs related to ballast water treatment.
Cross section of Trilobite chip, inlet, separation, outlet
Trilobite chip
Trilobite module
Pilot system, pump and system controller