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Treatment of ballast water (BWTS)

Pressure transducer ensures control of ships' ballast water

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Ballast water from ships can contain thousands of microbes, plants and animals. These are often transported by a ship over long distances around the globe and are released at the destination. This can lead to potential damage to local species and organisms. Proper treatment and filtration of this water is of tremendous importance to our ecosystem.

Ballast water is used to improve the draught, stability and strength of an ocean-going vessel when it is not (fully) loaded. About 10 billion tonnes of ballast water are transported around the world every year. However, the water can contain thousands of aquatic microbes, plants and animals, which are transported across the globe during the voyage and end up in a new environment at the ship's destination when the water is discharged. This can lead to potential harm to species and organisms at that local location. Special, resistant pressure sensors help to properly purify ships' ballast water.

Damage and regulations for ballast water management

Chinese crabs, which accelerate erosion in the Thames. Bulgarian mussels, which clog the water intakes of power stations in the US. The spread of invasive species is a global problem. In terms of increased maintenance, destruction of fish stock, clogging of industrial inlets, erosion and other problems, the annual cost is €12 billion a year in Europe alone.  In 2019, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) enacted regulations for ballast water management. The Ballast Water Treatment Systems Convention (BWTS) prescribes the proper control and disposal of ballast water from ships. This is to ensure that proper treatment and procedures are used to minimize water pollution and prevent the introduction of harmful organisms plus pathogens into new ecosystems. This process includes filtration and electro-chlorination of seawater before it is discharged back into the ocean. Very special pressure sensors are used to monitor and control the ballast water treatment and filtration systems.

 Ballast water circuit

Most ballast water treatment systems use a two-stage approach with some form of mechanical separation (first stage). This is followed by physical or chemical treatment in the second stage. The two most common technologies are systems based on ultraviolet (UV) and electro-chlorination (EC). UV systems use physical UV radiation as a secondary treatment. Electro-chlorination uses a chemical "agent" to inactivate biological organisms. Both systems usually use filtration as the primary treatment process.

Corrosion-resistant, titanium pressure transducer 

During the purification process, water is forced through the filtration system under high pressure. The pressure in the system must be continually monitored, as pressure drops or fluctuations can indicate filter damage. This is where precision pressure sensors such as the AGS4200 are used. Due to its special material specification, it is particularly suitable for seawater. The pressure connection is made of 100% titanium and thus offers excellent chemical compatibility and corrosion resistance.

The AGS4200 pressure transmitter

The AGS4200 is also ideal for measuring the dosing pressure of the chemical additives used to treat the water in the system. These additives include sodium hypochlorite - a combination of sea water, chlorinated water, oxygen and hydrogen. The AGS4200 offers perfect resistance to corrosion. Due to its titanium and sapphire construction, the pressure transducer can be used at medium temperatures of up to 125 °C (at ambient temperatures of up to +85 °C). The sensors are equipped with integrated electronics and offer high over pressure resistance. The sensors are available for measuring ranges from 0 ... 500 mbar to 0 ... 1,500 bar and have an accuracy of ±0.25% (optionally ±0.1%).

Further applications for AGS4200 sensors:

  • Process engineering and process measurement technology;
  • Test and examination installations;
  • Test benches in the automotive and aerospace industries;
  • Oil and gas exploration;
  • Installations and systems for energy generation and production.

What is your field of application? Do you have a situation where, for example, measuring pressure is crucial?

Contact our engineers

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