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BOSOWS Report Summary

Project ID: 781846

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BOSOWS (Blue Ocean Secondary Oily Water Separator)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

All ships produce oily bilge water. The MARPOL Convention requires vessels to have oily water separators and prohibits the discharge of water with more than 15 ppm oil content.

Present techniques to clean bilge water on board include gravitational separation, adsorbents, flocculation, filtration and biotreatment. They are expensive, cumbersome and often unreliable under real life conditions at sea. Holding tanks on board are limited, some ports have insufficient reception facilities, and port delivery of oily water is expensive.

Chronic oil discharges from ships to sea are estimated to be higher than accidental oil spills. They are one of the biggest man-made oil pollutants of the marine environment. OECD estimates, that 10-15% of all vessels (i.e. > 10-15,000 vessels) regularly discharge illegally.

The BOSOWS oily water separator is an important step to improve the on-board processing of oily bilge water and ensure compliance with EU and international regulations regarding discharge to the sea, making marine transport more sustainable. Further, its simple and easy operation and reliability improves the daily life of ship engineers and other crew members as well as ship-owners. It does not involve any sex and gender or cultural issues.

The market is more than 6,000 units annually for new vessels and retrofitting.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The BOSOWS is a Secondary Oily Water Separator, building on principles not yet used separation of marine oily bilge water. Its advantages are that it is insensitive to the ships motions and vibrations, reliable, requires less maintenance, employs no expensive and annoying filters, chemicals etc., and is easy to operate. Further, it exploits the engines cooling water for heating and seawater for cooling, and operates and cleans automatically.

A working prototype was built on board a Norwegian Offshore Supply vessel, producing 300 litres of clean water per day.

The Phase 1 Working Package for the BOSOWS included the following tasks:

Task 1: Construction of a BOSOWS Prototype with a capacity of 1 m3 per day.
Task 2: Laboratory tests.
Task 3: Technical Manual
Task 4: Technical Test Report
Task 5: Business Plan
Task 6: Patent and Freedom to Operate examination.

Task 1 has been completed. However, the test runs on the full-scale prototype revealed unforeseen difficulties. Hence, much time and efforts went on to find and test solutions to the difficulties, ending up in major changes to the prototype including the original working principles. The changed principles solved the said difficulties, however at the cost of other complexities, including increasing the energy required for cleaning and increasing the cost of production. Further, the changed principles require the development of a new cleaning process for the separator. This development is not finished yet. Task 2-4 have hence not been finalized yet, due to the complications from the changes made. The work on the Business Plan is approx. 80% finished, but cannot be finalized before Task 1 - 4 are finished. Our analysis in the Business Plan confirm the business potential for an Oily Water Separator with the intended properties of the BOSOWS, if production cost when full production scale is achieved can reach the originally anticipated cost level. Task 6 is finalized. No patent has been obtained on the BOSOWS, and the Freedom to Operate examination has so far revealed US patents on similar principles. However, the Freedom to Operate examination did not include the new principles for the BOSOWS. Hence, if the project continues based on the new principles, a new Freedom to Operate examination will have to be undertaken.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The project did confirm that it is possible to solve the problems with separating oil from bilge water by processes that to the best of our knowledge are not used in marine applications today. The resulting BOSOWS can distil oily water but is not fully operational, since it lacks an automatic cleaning process. Further the increased energy use due to the new principles as well as the higher production cost compromise the economy of the BOSOWS. Hence the BOSOWS did not reach the TRS 9 as intended. The project stopped due to lack of funds. The future of the project is unsure.

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