Wärtsilä has announced the launching of a new and unique ballast water treatment solution, the Wärtsilä BWT 500i, which has been developed together with the company's technology partner Trojan Marinex, the marine water solution division of Trojan Technologies. The new system has a compact design, making it easy to install and suitable for most vessels. It offers low maintenance costs and high throughput, with outstanding treatment quality. Wärtsilä BWT 500i effectively meets the latest and most stringent environmental regulations for ballast water management. Delivery of the first systems is expected to commence during the second quarter of 2011.  

"Easy installation and a small profile are crucial for the retrofit market, and have been central to our design process from the outset," says Vesa Marttinen, Director of Wärtsilä's Environmental Services unit. "We have done extensive pre-testing and have worked in close co-operation with our customers in order to meet the key requirements. With this product launch, we are confident that the Wärtsilä BWT 500i meets all regulatory and operational criteria very well."

The Wärtsilä BWT 500i treats the ballast water via a two-step process, first by filtering out larger organisms and particles, and then by ultraviolet disinfection. The UV irradiation either kills the remaining organisms, or renders them incapable of reproduction. Each unit is capable of treating 500 cubic meters ballast water per hour, with the possibility to install several units in parallel for higher flow rates.

"We aim to meet all expectations with a solution that is the most flexible, and which has the lowest risk. By doing this we are providing customers with the confidence that they can meet not only today's requirements, but those of tomorrow as well," says Christian Williamson, Vice President, Global Marketing Strategies at Trojan Technologies.

The IMO Global Ballast Water convention is expected to be fully ratified in 2011, and will require existing vessels to install a certified ballast water treatment system before 2014 or 2016, depending on the vessel's ballast water capacity. Already at this early stage, some countries are proposing even stricter guidelines, a situation that was anticipated and incorporated into the design plan for the Wärtsilä ballast water treatment system.

Ballast water is used to stabilize vessels when not fully loaded. Water is taken in when a ship unloads cargo, and released when it is loaded again. Ballast water can also be used for trim and structural integrity purposes. However, the environmental regulations covering this have been tightened due to the fact that when water taken in at one port and discharged at another without prior treatment, it may contain non-indigenous organisms which can be harmful to the discharge area's ecosystem.

In February this year, Wärtsilä Corporation and Trojan Technologies signed an exclusive agreement to jointly develop, market, and distribute a ballast water treatment product for ships.