School of Engineering


BaWaPla - Sustainable Ballast Water Management Plant

Maritime transport is of fundamental importance to Europe and the rest of the world. Over 90% of European Union external trade goes by sea and more than 1 billion tonnes of freight a year are loaded and unloaded in EU ports. Shipping is the most important mode of transport in terms of volume. Furthermore, its history and the effects of globalisation, maritime transport will continue to be the most important transport mode in developing EU trade for the foreseeable future.

Transfer of species in ballast water started as early as shipping trade. The movement of some 3 to 12 billion tonnes of ballast water (BW) in ships internationally each year has been responsible for the settlement of about 100 million tons of sediment. Besides these economic aspects, BW has been recognised as a major vector for the translocation of aquatic species across bio-geographical boundaries. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 alien species of plants and animals are transported per day in ships around the world.

As ships travel faster and world trade grows, organisms are better able to survive the journey, using the settled sediments as a substrate, and the threat of invasive species from ballast water increases. New international regulations are due to be enacted in a short few years restricting/outlawing the discharge of untreated ballast water.

This project is run by a consortium of 12 partners from 8 different countries (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Turkey and Israel) and is funded by the European Union under the sixth framework program. The aim of the project is the development of a new hybrid BW treatment technology (UV, filters and electrolysis) into a self-controlled BW treatment system. The main objective of the proposed project is the invention of an effective treatment technology incorporating non permanent, seawater-generated active substances as a necessary measure to UV and Filter treatment technology. By producing active substances through electrolysis of sea water, there will be no need to carry or store hazardous and corrosive chemicals onboard ships. It also represents a more economical alternative to using chemicals for treating large volume of ballast water onboard ships.