Ballast Waste Treatment – Utilising Waste Heat for Sustainable Shipping

The IMO developed The International Convention for The Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (Ballast Water Management Convention) with the aim of protecting the marine environment from the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water carried by ships.

By the effective date of the convention (8 September 2017), all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above to which the BWM Convention applies (including existing ships, except floating platform, FSUs and FPSOs) are required to possess International Ballast Water Management Certificate (IBWMC).

The Convention will come in force in September 2017 after which all ships above 400 gross tonnes are required to have ballast water management system.

Researchers at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have developed a method to use waste shipboard heat in a ballast water treatment system to dramatically reduce both initial capital investment and operational costs.

The system is:
• Inexpensive and easy to install – consisting of heat exchangers and pipework
• Easy to couple to complimentary technologies – e.g. filtration and UV radiation
• Very low to zero operating costs – via the utilisation of waste heat
• A small footprint technology – for new installations and retrofitting

The system works by redirecting sea water, that is currently used as a secondary coolant, through heat exchangers that are configured to harvest waste heat from the ship engine’s exhaust gases, to raise and maintain the sea water temperature in the range 35-45 degrees C, which is sufficient to destroy phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria.

Cost Estimations

The system is highly cost efficient. As shown in the table below, in comparison to other ballast water treatment technologies, capital costs are low and running costs are minimal as no extra power is required to run the system.

Capital cost*: ~ $300,000 for the heat treatment system
Running costs*: < $0.01/tonne (no extra power required)
* for ballast capacity of 5000m3, rate of 100-150m3/h and engine power of 3000kW

Commercial Opportunities

The developers are looking for commercial partners to demonstrate the technology The systems could be implemented as a retrofitted device to augment existing ballast water treatment technologies

Project Leader:

Professor Dr Omar bin Yaakob

Photo of Omar Yaakob



Marine Technology Centre (MTC)
Department of Ocean, Aeronautics & Automotive Engineering

Phone : 6075534563
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