Ballast Water Treatment with Ferrate

Ballast Water Management

Every country around the world is affected by ballast water discharge which carries with them many invasive species along with other pathogenic organisms. Treatment and dispersal of ballast water are identified as one of the major procedures for the management of the marine ecosystem. The introduction of invasive species through ballast water discharge has been a serious concern with the marine ecosystem. With growing research in ballast water management, recent studies are being focused on the types of invasive species and physicochemical parameters discharging into ports. Different treatment and management strategies have been internationally implemented in ships in accordance with the ratification of the 2004 convention. During the designing of new ships ballast water management addresses many innovations by adopting different combinations

of physical and chemical methods. It is known that ballast water management is dynamic and dependent on the specific design of a ship and the sea conditions in which it operates. To maintain optimal balance in changing sea and weather conditions, a crew must continually adjust the ballast levels either by taking up additional water or by discharging water. Thus, ballast water management occurs at both ports and on high seas. Thousands of marine species could enter into a ship’s ballast tanks while pumping in ballast waters.

Ballast Water Treatment

All currently existing and used ballast water treatment approaches are presented in the table.

The ballast water needs to be disinfected (i.e. remove the microorganisms) before it is released back into the water.  Up until now, there have not been many effective solutions.  In order to be viable, the ballast water treatment solution has to be cost-effective, safe, compact, and be able to disinfect the water to an acceptable level. The ballast water treatment with sodium ferrate is able to achieve all the listed above goals. 

Ferrate demonstrated 100% mortality with respect to total coliform, E. coli, Enterococcus, and zooplankton. An International Maritime Organization (IMO) Treaty requiring ships to be equipped with treatment systems is now addressing this global issue. Most recently in 2012, a full-scale Ferrate Treatment System has installed onboard the U.S. flagged container ship HORIZON PRODUCER.

The unit was designed and built to produce enough Ferrate to treat a flow up to 8,000 gpm. It was lowered into the hold by a dock crane, connected to ballast water piping, and was ready to operate within one hour. During the at-sea trials, unfiltered, treated, water samples were collected at variable Ferrate doses between 1 ppm and 6 ppm. The zooplankton was classified by size as Microplankton (20-200 micrometers), Mesoplankton (0.2-20 millimeters), or Macroplankton (20-200 millimeters) and analyzed to determine viability. Thirty-one species of Holoplankton and 15 species of Meroplankton were identified and quantified in terms of viability after Ferrate treatment. Average mortality varied from 93% to 100% (compared to 10% for untreated samples) over that dose range. The disinfection performance on microorganisms was also tested for Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, total coliform, and heterotrophic plate count. 100% mortality was achieved with Ferrate doses between 1 and 4 ppm.

Ballast Water Management and Saimaa traffic

CBC OneDrop project currently is working on the testing treatment of ballast waster utilizing a sodium ferrate generation unit installed on the ships running through lake Saimaa and Saimaa canal in cooperation with NaviSaimaa

NaviSaimaa – smart and green canal traffic

The project aims at tackling the challenges and opportunities, focusing on environmentally friendly inland shipping in the Saimaa Lake region and the Saimaa Canal, and fostering a better integration of inland shipping in the transport chains.

IMO Ballast Water Management Convention was approved in London year 2004, and it was ratified 8.09.2017. The Convention aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another and halt damage to the marine environment from ballast water discharge, by minimizing the uptake and subsequent discharge of sediments and organisms.

Ballast Water Management Сonvention covers all vessels in the sea area of convention countries, regardless of the flag State. Vessels must be equipped with treatment systems during the period of transition, but latest before 8.09.2024. New ships will be required to install and comply with the treatment standard from the 8th of September 2017, once the Convention has entered into force. Post-installation of the system for Saimax-type vessel is estimated to € 200.000-300.000.

Lake Saimaa area

Inland Waterways Network:

  • 800 km is navigable for sea vessels (UNECE class Va, except vsl length)
  • 3 600 km for draft 2,5m (min UNECE class IV)
  • 2 300 km draft 1,6m (UNECE class RC)




Saimaa canal

  • 23 km + 20 km = 43 km
  • unique in the world
  • Russian land area on a 50-year lease for Finland
  • 3 locks in Finland,
  • 5 locks in the lease area
  • control, maintenance, and investments only by Finland and Finnish authorities





Volume development in the Saimaa region