Development and testing of a prototype for the separation from oil, heavy metals, soilds and sooty particles of bilge water

Funding: Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen "Otto von Guericke" e.V. (AiF)
Project Duration: 01.09.2008 – 31.08.2010
Project Manager: Wolfgang Schulz
Homepage: -

Bilge water emerges from leakages, arises out of the dewatering of setting and sludge tanks as well from the remainder from the outflow of different cleaning processes. It can contain saltwater, cooling water, fuel and lube oil as well as sooty particles and pollutants. The bilge water accumulates in the so called bilge which is the deepening in the bottom of the hulk. Whether ferry, container vessel, oil tanker or cargo ship: approx. 1.000 to 10.000 litre bilge water accrue at a ship daily depending on the size. This causes an urgent sanitation problem. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) created a worldwide mandatory standard with the maximum limit of 15 ppm oil content. Every registered ship has an installed and certificated control mechanism which regulates the outflow of bilge water during the way and which is protected against manipulation. Before polluted water can be discharged, it has to be prepared intensively.

Most of the ships clean their bilge water with an oil-water separator before sanitation. This common procedure reaches its limits when the water is highly polluted: after a few hours of work, a time intensive cleaning of the machines is required. After this method, the water quality is often as bad so that the water has to be transported back ashore and sanitized.

Within the project, a facility should be developed and installed on board which shall contribute to treat oleaginous bilge water economically, efficiently, safe and ecologically by using new developed single components, special instalments and an effective automation. Thereby, bilge water will be prepared economically and ecologically under real ship conditions so that the oil content of <5 ppm will be significantly below the critical value. Heavy metals and other pollutants will be separated.