The type-approvals required in the US and by IMO for ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) discourages innovation and improvement, says a leading BWTS manufacturer.
Hyde Marine executive director Chris Todd told BWTT “We have to go through painstaking testing work to get equipment type-approved, and once approved a manufacturer cannot make modifications and improvements without another round of expensive testing, therefore this discourages innovation and improvement as the testing process is so long and expensive.”
Indeed, he said that on average the full test process costs an average of US$4M for the two-year process. “Innovation is discouraged because if you spend US$4M to get the solution approved, you do not want to spend that again.”
Hyde Marine has been outspoken about this issue within the market, but Mr Todd said that there was not much manufacturers could do to make any changes to the process. But one thing that could lead to “positive change” is once shipowners install BWTS and then realise that they want improvements further down the line.
Hyde Marine is currently retesting its system to receive USCG type-approval after its request that its Most Probable Number (MPN) technique was rejected by the USCG as an alternative test method.
In order to reach compliance, Hyde Marine is increasing its system’s UV dose capability by using larger UV lamps. The testing is expected to finish Q3 this year and the technology will then be submitted for approval at the end of 2018.
Mr Todd pointed out that a benefit of being later in the type-approval process has meant that Hyde has been able to tweak its system and carry out improvements. An example is that it has added a flow-limiting valve that limits UV flow and ensures that it will not exceed type-approval requirements.