Techcross has become the first South Korean manufacturer to obtain US Coast Guard (USCG) type-approval for a ballast water management system (BWMS).
Its Electro-Cleen System (ECS) was granted the certificate on Tuesday (5 June), more than seven months after it submitted its application on 31 October last year. That is the longest interval of any of the seven systems that now have USCG type-approval, and in a statement today Techcross director of sales and promotion Jay Lee acknowledged that the approval process “took a little longer than we expected” but suggested that this “might be due to USCG scrutinising the first application tested by KR [Korea Register of Shipping].”
KR served as Techcross’s independent laboratory (IL) during more than two years of testing and report preparation. It is also the IL for an application by South Korea’s Samsung, which submitted its application in September 2017, a month earlier than Techcross.
Techcross director of sales and customer service Mike Lee told BWTT today that USCG began its reviews of both the Techcross and Samsung applications at the same time “and this must have delayed the review for some time.” He said there had been “continuous questions and comments from USCG to KR” on a number of topics, including test reports, test water qualities, the quality assurance project plan, scaling and hydrogen gas. “As KR needed time to prepare the clarification with additional reports (some answered by sub-laboratory KOMERI and others by Techcross), it took longer than expected compared to other ILs.”
He expects its type-approval to increase the number of systems it sells. “For newbuild contracts, most shipowners requested Korean shipbuilders to include a BWMS maker with USCG type-approval and we had some difficulties to get listed,” he said. Techcross’ goal is to secure orders from 200-300 vessels this year, which is “great news,” he said. Its manufacturing division can produce up to 1,000 shipsets per year, he told BWTT.
Techross’s ECS was the first IMO-approved full-flow electrolysis system, a technique that has since been adopted by other manufacturers. Unlike those, ECS does not have use a fine-mesh filter of 20-50 μm, the company’s statement noted. “Techcross has intended to develop a BWMS without fine mesh filter ever since we started the development in 2004 as we did not have enough confidence in fine mesh of 50 μm or less for long-time use,” Jay Lee said.
A vessel might operate its BWMS for around 15-20 hours whereas the land-based test only needs it to run for an hour or so at 200-300 m3/hr capacity, he said. “There are many vessels that may not be fitted with automatic backflush filters” and have limited space available. In those situations, the ECS could be a good option, requiring no modifications to the engineroom or pump room, he said.
Techcross’s statement also addresses a limitation on its type-approval certificate setting a hold time of 120 hours. “This can be a restriction for the vessels discharging ballast water within five days from ballasting,” it said, and quoted Jay Lee acknowledging that hold time is critical for the vessel operation. “We have been working on additional tests with KR for 48 hours hold time for all salinities and expect an amended USCG certificate before the end of 2018,” he said.
With the Posidonia exhibition taking place this week in Greece, Techcross reported positive reaction to its certificate from visitors to its stand, including the director of marine services of the environmental maritime testing company SGS, Vladimiro Bonamin. In its statement, Techcross reported that SGS had “evaluated ECS performance as one of the most reliable systems compliant with the relevant standards of both IMO and the US” and quoted Dr Bonamin saying that “SGS proved full compliance during many testing events [during] the developmental and final stages of Techcross BWMSs.”
Techcross also makes a side-stream electrolysis BWMS, ECS-Hychlor. This is undergoing shipboard tests with DNV GL, which are expected to be completed “within a few months,” Mike Lee told BWTT. “We expect to submit a USCG type-approval application by the end of 2018,” he said.