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Publication numberUS20040099608 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/716,261
Publication dateMay 27, 2004
Filing dateNov 18, 2003
Priority dateNov 18, 2002
Also published asUS7704390, US20040099607
Publication number10716261, 716261, US 2004/0099608 A1, US 2004/099608 A1, US 20040099608 A1, US 20040099608A1, US 2004099608 A1, US 2004099608A1, US-A1-20040099608, US-A1-2004099608, US2004/0099608A1, US2004/099608A1, US20040099608 A1, US20040099608A1, US2004099608 A1, US2004099608A1
InventorsCharles Leffler, William Paul
Original AssigneeLeffler Charles E., William Paul
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ballast water treatment system
US 20040099608 A1
Abstract
A ballast water treatment system for removing contaminants from ballast water on a vessel. The ballast water treatment system may inject ballast water with one or more disinfectants or ionized gases, or both, to remove at least a portion of contaminants from the ballast water. The ballast water treatment system may produce disinfectants from saltwater using one or more disinfectant generators and return the byproducts to a water body. The ballast water treatment system may also produce ionized gases to be mixed with the ballast water. The ballast water may be disposed overboard after being treated.
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Claims(30)
We claim:
1. A ballast water treatment system, comprising:
at least one filtration system for removing at least a portion of the suspended solids from ballast water;
at least one disinfectant injector for injecting at least one disinfectant into the ballast water treatment system;
at least one mixer for mixing an ionized gas with the ballast water; and
at least one ionized gas injector coupled to the at least one mixer for injecting ionized gas into the ballast water in the at least one mixer.
2. The water treatment system of claim 1, wherein the at least one disinfectant injector further comprises a disinfectant generator for generating disinfectant materials from saltwater.
3. The water treatment system of claim 2, wherein the disinfectant generator comprises a housing containing a plurality of conduits having electrical cells for exposing electricity to saltwater flowing through the conduits.
4. The water treatment system of claim 3, wherein the disinfectant generator further comprises a single inlet coupled to a header that distributes saltwater to the plurality of conduits and at least one of the conduits has a valve upstream of an electrical cell and a valve downstream of the electrical cell.
5. The water treatment system of claim 3, wherein the disinfectant generator further comprises at least one sensor positioned downstream of an electrical cell in at least one of the plurality of conduits.
6. The water treatment system of claim 3, wherein the disinfectant generator further comprises at least one bypass conduit for controlling flow of saltwater through the conduits of the disinfectant generator.
7. The water treatment system of claim 3, wherein the disinfectant generator comprises between about four conduits and about twenty conduits, each having an electrical cell.
8. The water treatment system of claim 1, wherein the ionized gas injector comprises an ionized gas generator formed from a plurality of chambers, each chamber containing a plurality of ultraviolet lamps and each chamber adapted to allow a gas to pass the through the ionized gas generator.
9. The water treatment system of claim 8, wherein the plurality of ultraviolet lamps comprise between about one ultraviolet lamp and about twenty ultraviolet lamps extending from a first end of the ionized gas generator to a second end of the generator generally opposite to the first end.
10. The water treatment system of claim 9, wherein the plurality of chambers are coupled in parallel.
11. The water treatment system of claim 9, wherein the plurality of chambers forming the ionized gas generator comprises thirty chambers.
12. The water treatment system of claim 1, wherein the at least one filtration system comprises at least one drum screen with an automatic cleansing system.
13. The water treatment system of claim 1, further comprising at least one filter downstream of the at least one mixer.
14. The water treatment system of claim 13, wherein the at least one filter is comprised of at least a duplex filter system.
15. The water treatment system of claim 1, further comprising a recirculation loop coupled to a downstream location of the water treatment system for recirculating water through the water treatment system if the water, after passing through the water treatment system, does not meet selected standards.
16. A water treatment system, comprising:
at least one filtration system upstream of the collection device for removing at least a portion of suspended solids from the ballast water;
at least one disinfectant injector for injecting at least one disinfectant into the ballast water treatment system downstream of the at least one collection device;
at least one disinfectant generator in communication with the at least one disinfectant injector for generating disinfectant materials from saltwater, the disinfectant generator comprising a housing containing a plurality of conduits having electrical cells for exposing electricity to saltwater flowing through the conduits;
at least one mixer for mixing an ionized gas with the ballast water;
at least one ionized gas injector coupled to the at least one mixer for injecting ionized gas into the ballast water in the at least one mixer; and
at least one ionized gas generator formed from a plurality of chambers, each chamber containing a plurality of ultraviolet lamps and each chamber adapted to allow a gas to pass the through the ionized gas generator.
17. The water treatment system of claim 16, wherein the disinfectant generator further comprises a single inlet coupled to a header that distributes saltwater to the plurality of conduits and at least one of the conduits has a valve upstream of an electrical cell and a valve downstream of the electrical cell.
18. The water treatment system of claim 16, wherein the disinfectant generator further comprises at least one sensor positioned downstream of an electrical cell in at least one of the plurality of conduits.
19. The water treatment system of claim 16, wherein the disinfectant generator further comprises at least one bypass conduit for controlling flow of saltwater through the conduits of the disinfectant generator.
20. The water treatment system of claim 16, wherein the disinfectant generator comprises between about four conduits and about twenty conduits, each having an electrical cell.
21. The water treatment system of claim 16, wherein the at least one filtration system comprises at least one drum screen with an automatic cleansing system.
22. The water treatment system of claim 16, further comprising at least one filter downstream of the at least one mixer.
23. The water treatment system of claim 22, wherein the at least one filter is comprised of at least a duplex filter system.
24. The water treatment system of claim 16, further comprising a recirculation loop coupled to a downstream location of the at least one mixer for recirculating water through the water treatment system if the water, after passing through the water treatment system, does not meet selected standards.
25. A method of removing contaminants from ballast water on vessels, comprising:
passing ballast water through at least one filtration system for removing at least a portion of suspended solids from the ballast water;
generating at least one disinfectant using saltwater using at least one disinfectant generator comprising a housing containing a plurality of conduits having electrical cells for exposing electricity to saltwater flowing through the conduits;
injecting the at least one disinfectant into the ballast water;
generating at least one ionized gas; and
injecting the at least one ionized gas into the ballast water contained in at least one mixer adapted for mixing an ionized gas with the ballast water.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein generating the at least one ionized gas comprises passing a gas through at least one ionized gas generator comprising a plurality of chambers, wherein at least one chamber contains a plurality of ultraviolet lamps and each chamber is adapted to allow a gas to pass the through the ionized gas generator.
27. The method of claim 25, wherein generating the at least one disinfectant comprises receiving saltwater from a body of water, passing the saltwater through a plurality of conduits including electrical cells, and imparting electricity to at least a portion of the saltwater passing through the disinfectant generator.
28. The method of claim 25, wherein passing ballast water through the at least one filtration system comprises passing ballast water through at least one drum screen having an automatic cleansing system.
29. The method of claim 25, further comprising passing the ballast water through at least one filter downstream of the at least one mixer.
30. The method of claim 25, further comprising passing the ballast water through a recirculation loop for recirculating the ballast water through the ballast water treatment system if the ballast water, after passing through the ballast water treatment system, does not meet selected standards.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/426,803, filed Nov. 18, 2002.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention is directed generally to water treatment systems, and more particularly, to ballast water treatment systems usable on vessels.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Vessels, such as ships and megayachts, include ballast tanks for controlling the attitude of the vessels in a water body. For instance, cargo ships are designed to operate safely while carrying a full load. Ballast tanks are used to account for situations when a vessel has only a partial load or no load at all. Without ballast tanks, a vessel without a load would float too high in the water, thereby making the vessel unstable. Ballast tanks are contained in a vessel and receive water from a water body in which the vessel is floating. The ballast tanks are typically located in strategic locations to properly balance a vessel.

[0004] Often times, a ship loaded with cargo will arrive at a port and off load some or all of its cargo. Water is often drawn into the ballast tanks to compensate for the loss of cargo. The ship typically then journeys to a distant port to deliver remaining cargo. If the ship takes on additional fuel or cargo at the distant port, the ship releases some or all of the ballast water at the distant port. Otherwise, the ship would be carrying too much weight. The ballast water typically contains contaminants such as, chemicals, suspended solids, fecal coliforms, normative biota, and other material that can harm the waters of the distant port.

[0005] Researchers at universities and independent organizations around the world have identified ballast water discharges as one of the leading causes of the decline in coral reefs throughout the tropics. In addition, ballast water has been suspected of being the cause of introduction of nonnative organisms to waters in which nonnative organisms have caused the extinction of indigenous animals. Thus, there exists an urgent need for a water treatment system usable on a vessel for treating ballast water by reducing the concentration of contaminants below an acceptable threshold, thereby allowing ballast water to be discharged overboard without causing adverse effects to the ecosystem in which the ballast water is discharged.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] This invention is directed to a ballast water treatment system for removing one or more contaminants from ballast water on a vessel such as, but not limited to, a ship, megayacht, or other vessel. Such a system is needed because often times a vessel takes in ballast water and travels hundreds or at, times, thousands of miles before releasing the ballast water. Releasing the ballast water in another water body may result in the release of non-native organisms, which may negatively affect the native biota and, in an worst case scenario, may drive one or more populations of native organisms to extinction.

[0007] Components forming the ballast water treatment system may be modular in design to enable easily installation on vessels in space limited compartments. The ballast water treatment system may remove at least a portion of suspended solids, BODs, CODs, any combination thereof, or other materials, from the ballast water using a combination of treatment systems. The ballast water treatment system may inject disinfectants, such as, but not limited to, chlorine, bromine, and other halides, hydrogen peroxide, or other disinfectants, into the ballast water and may inject one or more ionized gases into the ballast water. One or more of the disinfectants may be generated from saltwater using a disinfectant generator. In at least some embodiments, the ionized gases may be produced onboard a vessel in which the ballast water treatment system resides using an ionized gas generator.

[0008] The ballast water treatment system may include a filtration system for removing contaminants from the ballast water. The filtration system may include coarse filters and fine filters, which may be capable of removing particles as small as 50 microns and smaller. The filtration system may be used to filter ballast water as the ballast water is sent into the ballast water tank and discharged from the ballast water tank.

[0009] The ballast water treatment system may also include a disinfectant system for injecting one or more disinfectants into the ballast water. The disinfectant system may include one or more disinfectant injectors for injecting at least one disinfectant into the ballast water. In at least one embodiment, the disinfectant system may generate disinfectants from saltwater using a disinfectant generator. The disinfectant generator may be formed from one or more conduits adapted to expose saltwater to electricity to induce electrolysis. Each conduit may have an electrical cell for applying an electrical charge to the fluid flowing through the conduit, which, in at least one embodiment, is saltwater. Each conduit may also include one or more sensors for determining the pressure, temperature, and other system parameters. The disinfectant generator may be coupled to an inlet in the hull of a vessel for receiving water from the water body in which the vessel is floating. The water may be drawn from the water body and passed through the disinfectant generator, where one or more disinfectants may be removed from the water. The water may then be returned to the water body.

[0010] The ballast water treatment system may also include an ionized gas injection system for injecting one or more ionized gases into the ballast water. The ionized gas injection system may include one or more ionized gas injectors for injecting ionized gas into the ballast water. Ionized gas may be supplied by one or more ionized gas generators for generating ionized gas to inject into the ballast water passing through the system. The ionized gas generator may be formed from one or more chambers, whereby the chambers may include one or more ultraviolet lamps and one or more magnets. In at least one embodiment, the ionized gas generator may include a plurality of ultraviolet lamps that surround a plurality of magnets positioned generally along a longitudinal axis of a chamber. The magnets may be positioned so that ends of adjacent magnets have like polarity, which may widen the magnetic field cast by the magnets. A gas, such as, but not limited to air, may be passed through the ionized gas generator to produce ionized gases.

[0011] The ballast water treatment system may also include one or more mixers for mixing the disinfectants and the ionized gases with the ballast water. In at least one embodiment, the mixer may be used to inject the ionized gases into the ballast water. The mixer may be formed from a generally cylindrical tube having a plurality of injectors. The injectors may be positioned around the perimeter of the mixer or in another configuration.

[0012] The ballast water treatment system may operate by filtering water before it has been deposited into the ballast water tank to remove contaminants from the ballast water before the contaminants have an opportunity to collect in the ballast water tank. The filtration system may also be used to filter the ballast water as the ballast water is discharged from the ballast tank and passed through other components of the ballast water treatment system. The ballast water may also be mixed with one or more disinfectants. The disinfectants may be generated from saltwater using a disinfectant generator, and the byproducts generated may be disposed overboard. The ballast water may also be mixed with one or more ionized gases. The ionized gases may be generated from air using an ionized gas generator. The ionized gases may be mixed with the mixture of ballast water and disinfectants in the mixer. The ballast water may be tested to determine whether the ballast water has a concentration of contaminants less than a predetermined threshold. If the concentration of contaminants is less than the threshold, the ballast water may be discharged overboard. Otherwise, the ballast water may be passed through a recirculation loop and passed back through the ballast water treatment system.

[0013] An advantage of this system is that ballast water treatment system may remove one or more contaminants from ballast water before the ballast water is discharged overboard, thereby reducing the negative side effects associated with discharging contaminant laden ballast water overboard.

[0014] Another advantage of this system is that the system uses relatively small amounts of chemicals to disinfect ballast water and leaves little residual chemicals in the ballast water emitted from the system.

[0015] Yet another advantage of this invention is that the system does not require that volatile chemicals be stored in tanks on board a vessel; rather, the disinfectants may be removed from saltwater and the byproducts be discharged overboard. Thus, the dangers associated with storing volatile chemicals may be eliminated.

[0016] These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after review of the following figures and detailed description of the disclosed embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] The accompanying drawings illustrate embodiments of this invention and, together with the description, disclose various aspects of the invention. These figures include the following:

[0018]FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of the ballast water treatment system;

[0019]FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a filter usable in the ballast water treatment system;

[0020]FIG. 3 is a side view of a disinfectant generator usable in the ballast water treatment system;

[0021]FIG. 4 is an end view of the disinfectant generator shown in FIG. 3;

[0022]FIG. 5 is a side view of internal components of the disinfectant generator shown in FIG. 3;

[0023]FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional side view of an ionized gas generator usable in the ballast water treatment system;

[0024]FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional end view of the ionized gas generator shown in FIG. 6;

[0025]FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional side view of the ionized gas generator taken at 8-8 in FIG. 6;

[0026]FIG. 9 is a side view of a collection of chambers forming an ionized gas generator;

[0027]FIG. 10 is a front view of the collection of chambers forming an ionized gas generator shown in FIG. 9;

[0028]FIG. 11 is a side view of a mixer usable in the ballast water treatment system;

[0029]FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional side view of a portion of the mixer of FIG. 11; and

[0030]FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional top view of a portion of the mixer of FIG. 12 taken along line 13-13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0031] FIGS. 1-13 illustrate a ballast water treatment system 10 configured to remove one or more contaminants from ballast water on a vessel. In at least one embodiment, the ballast water treatment system is configured to be used on a vessel, such as a ship, a megayacht, or other vessel that uses ballast tanks to control the level at which a vessel floats in a water body. Typically, ballast water is taken from the water in which a vessel floats and is stored in ballast tanks. The water often contains contaminants, which may include, but are not limited to, biota, fecal coliform, BODs, CODs, manmade contaminants, and other materials. The ballast water system may remove at least a portion of the contaminants from the ballast water before the ballast water is discharged from the vessel.

[0032] As shown in FIGS. 1-13, the ballast water treatment system 10 may be formed from modular components adapted for each vessel, and the components may be sized to fit into small compartments commonly found in vessels. In general, the ballast water treatment system 10 may include a filtration system 12 for removing at least a portion of the contaminants from ballast water. The filtration system 12 may filter the ballast water after being drawn from a water body but before the ballast water reaches a ballast water tank 26. The filtration system 12 may also filter the ballast water before the water is discharged from a vessel. The ballast water treatment system 10 may also include a disinfectant injection system 14 for injecting one or more disinfectants into the ballast water. The disinfectant injection system 14 may include one or more disinfectant generators 16 for generating one or more disinfectants from salt water. The byproducts generated by the disinfectant generators 16 may be safely disposed overboard without harm to the environment. The ballast water treatment system 10 may also include an ionized gas injection system 18 for injecting one or more ionized gases into the ballast water to further treat the ballast water. The ionized gas injection system 18 may include one or more ionized gas generators 20 for generating ionized gases. The ballast water treatment system 10 may also include one or more mixers 22 for mixing the ionized gas and disinfectant with the ballast water. Each of these components is described in more detail below.

[0033] As mentioned above, the ballast water treatment system 10 may include one or more filtration systems 12. The filtration system 12 may be formed from a single filter or may be formed from a plurality of filters in at least one embodiment. The filtration system 12 may include a filter 24, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, for removing contaminants from the ballast water. The filter 24 may be formed from various sizes. However, in at least one embodiment, the filter 24 may be a 30 micron to 50 micron filter. The filter 24 may be used to remove particles from water as the water is drawn from a water body and stored in one or more ballast water tanks 26. One or more screens 28, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, may be used upstream of the filter 24 to remove larger contaminants before these large contaminants reach the filter 24 where these contaminants could damage or clog the filter 24. In at least one embodiment, the screen 28 may be capable of filtering out objects ⅜ inch and larger. The filter 24 and the screen 28 may be automatically cleaned at regular intervals or when a programmable logic control system 30 (PLC) of the ballast water treatment system 10 determines that the filter 24 or screen 28 requires cleaning. In at least one embodiment, a differential pressure sensing system 32 may be used to determine whether the filter 24 or screen 28, or both, need to be cleaned.

[0034] The filtration system 12 may also include one or more filters 32, as shown in FIG. 1, positioned downstream of the ballast water tank 26. Filter 32 may be identical to filter 24 or may differ. The filter 32 may be positioned upstream of the disinfectant injection system 14 and the ionized gas injection system 18 to prevent contaminants from damaging these systems. While the filter 24 and the screen 28 presumably should filter out contaminants before reaching the ballast water tank 26, it is possible for contaminants to grow in the ballast water tank 26. Thus, some embodiments of the ballast water treatment system 10 may include filter 32 downstream of the ballast water tank 26. In addition, a screen 34 may be positioned upstream of the filter 32 to remove larger particles so as to prevent damage to the filter 32. Screen 34 may be sized similar or different than the screen 28 upstream of the ballast water tank 26.

[0035] The ballast water treatment system 10 may also include a disinfectant injection system 14. The disinfectant injection system 14 may include one or more disinfectant injectors 40. The disinfectant injector 40 may inject one or more disinfectants into the ballast water. In at least one embodiment, the disinfectant injector 40 may inject one or more disinfectants into the ballast water downstream of the ballast water tank 26 and downstream of the filter 32. The disinfectants may include, but are not limited to, disinfectants derived from saltwater, such as sea water, and may include chlorine, bromine, and other halides. The disinfectants may be stored in a tank or other appropriate device.

[0036] In at least one embodiment, the ballast water treatment system 10 may include a disinfectant generator 16, as shown in FIGS. 3-5, usable to generate disinfectants. The system 10 may include a single disinfectant generator 16 or multiple disinfectant generators 16 coupled together in series or parallel, or any combination thereof. Multiple disinfectant generators 16 may increase the reduction of contaminants from the ballast water. In this embodiment, a storage tank for the disinfectant is not required, but may be used if desired. Thus, the disadvantages and dangers associated with a storage tank filled with disinfectants may be eliminated when using a disinfectant generator 16. The disinfectant generator 16 may be capable of generating one or more disinfectants from saltwater. The saltwater may be drawn from a water body in which a vessel is floating. In at least one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, the disinfectant generator 16 may be formed from a housing 42 containing one or more conduits 44 having electrical cells 46 for emitting electricity into the water flowing through the conduits 44. The housing 42 may be generally cylindrical or have another appropriate shape for containing the conduits 44. Likewise, the conduits 44 may be cylindrical or have another appropriate shape. The number of conduits 44 contained in the housing 42 may vary, but housing 42 may contain between four conduits and thirty conduits, and in at least one embodiment, may contain about twenty conduits.

[0037] The housing 42 may also include a header 48, as shown in FIG. 5, for distributing saltwater to the plurality of conduits 44. In addition, the disinfectant generator 16 may also include a bypass conduit 52 for controlling the flow of fluid through the conduits 44. In at least one embodiment, one or more valves may be attached to the bypass conduit 52 for regulating flow of fluids through the disinfectant generator 16. Each conduit 44 of the disinfectant generator 16 may operate efficiently at a flow rate between about 5 gallons per minute (gpm) and about 40 pgm. To keep the disinfectant generator 16 operating at this level, the disinfectant generator 16 may pass excess fluids through the bypass conduit 52. The fluids passing through the bypass conduit 52 and the fluids passing through the conduits 44 mix in the header 49 before flowing to downstream components of the ballast water treatment system 10.

[0038] One or more of the conduits 44 may have a valve 56 on an upstream side and a valve 58 on a downstream side of the electrical cell 46 for controlling flow through the electrical cell 46 and enabling replacement of the electrical cell 46 without having to shutdown the entire system 10 during the replacement effort. One or more of the conduits 44 may have one or more electrical cells 46. The electrical cells 46 may emit an electrical current into the saltwater, which promotes electrolysis. Electrolysis may break the bonds in various compounds and produce free halides, such as but not limited to, chlorine and bromine, in liquid form. The reduction potential for saltwater electrolysis may be as follows:

[0039] (1) Electrolysis of Water

[0040] O2+4H+4e→2H2O 1.229 V;

[0041] (2) Potential Halide Reactions

[0042] Cl2+2e→2Cl 1.358 V;

[0043] Br2+2e→2Br 1.065 V;

[0044] The disinfectant generator 16 may be capable of producing halides, such as chlorine and bromine, in a concentration of between about 0.5 parts per million (ppm) and about 20 ppm. The desired amount of disinfectant produced is a concentration large enough to remove biota and other contaminants from the water and have residual concentrations of the chlorine or bromine left over.

[0045] The disinfectants may be collected and sent to a conduit 62 carrying contaminated fluids. Byproducts produced by this process may be returned to the sea or other water body, or other location. The components of the disinfectant generator 16 may be formed from materials, such as, but not limited to, stainless steel, such as stainless steel 316L schedule 40, fiberglass, or bond strand. One or more of the conduits 44 may include one or more sensors 64 for measuring salinity, pressure, temperature, and other system parameters. Sensor 64 is depicted as a tube in FIG. 5; however, sensor 64 is not limited to this configuration. The disinfectant generator 16 may also include a water leak detector, which may send an alert signal in the event of internal piping failure to prevent catastrophic results. A petcock (not shown) may also be included in the housing 42 for manual viewing of the internal aspects of the disinfectant generator 16.

[0046] The ballast water treatment system 10 may also include one or more ionized gas injection systems 18 for injecting one or more ionized gases into the ballast water. The ionized gas injection system 18 may include one or more ionized gas injectors 70 for injecting ionized gas into the ballast water, and more particularly, for injecting ionized gas into the mixer 22. The ionized gas injector 70 may be adapted to inject ionized gases, such as, but not limited to, nitrogen and oxygen, into the mixer 22.

[0047] The ionized gas injection system 18 may also be formed from one or more ionized gas generators 20. As shown in FIGS. 6-10, the ionized gas generator 20 may be formed from a plurality of chambers 72 containing one or more ultraviolet (UV) lamps 74. The ionized gas generator 20 may include between one lamp and about 20 lamps, with at least one embodiment having about eight lamps as shown in FIG. 7. In at least one embodiment, the ultraviolet lamps 74 may emit ultraviolet light having a wavelength between about 185 nm and about 255 nm. The chambers 72 may be, but are not limited to, generally cylindrical tubes sized and adapted to contain a plurality of UV lamps 74. The UV lamps 74 may extend from a first end 76 of the chamber 72 to a second end 78 of the chamber 72, which is generally opposite to the first end 76.

[0048] The ionized gas generator 20 may also have a plurality of magnets 80 positioned in the chambers 72,. In at least one embodiment, the magnets 80 may be, but are not limited to, permanent magnets, such as rare earth magnets. The magnets 80 may be positioned, as shown in FIG. 8, generally along a longitudinal axis 82 of a chamber 72. Each chamber 72 may include a plurality of magnets 80 stacked on top of each other using spacers 82 and oriented so that ends of adjacent magnets 80 have like polarity. Orientation of the magnets 80 in this manner increases the width of the magnetic field produced by the magnets 80. In at least one embodiment, the width of the magnetic field may be at least as large as the distance between the magnets 80 and an inside surface 86 of the chamber 72. Passing air through the magnetic fields produced by the magnets 80 and exposing the air to ultraviolet light reduces nitrogen and oxygen in the air and produces free oxygen and nitrogen.

[0049] The number of chambers 72 used in a particular application depends on the circumference and length of the chambers 72 and the anticipated fluid flow through the ballast water treatment system 10. In at least one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6, the chambers 72 may have diameters that are about 15 centimeters and may be about 60 inches in length. In this embodiment, as shown in FIG. 10, the ionized gas generator 20 may include between about one chamber and about 90 chambers 72; however, the ionized gas generator 20 is not limited to being formed from this number of chambers. Rather, the ionized gas generator 20 may be formed from other amounts of chambers 72. In at least one embodiment, the chambers 72 may be coupled together in parallel. Air flowing through the chamber 72 cools the ultraviolet lamps 74 while being ionized. In at least one embodiment, the air flow rate may be between about two cubic feet per minute (cfm) and about six cfm, depending on the circumference and length of the chambers 72. In one embodiment, the ionized gas generator 20 may have a flow rate of air through the generator 20 of about 2.5 cfm.

[0050] The reduction potential for ionized gas according to the present invention is as follows:

[0051] Oxidizing Gas Species

[0052] O3+2H++2e→O2+H2O 2.07 V;

[0053] H2O2+2H++2e→2H2O 1.32 V;

[0054] The ionized gas provides both a biological influence and an electromagnetic influence on the water containing the electrolytically produced disinfectants and enhances the coagulation of the contaminants, the separation of solid particles, and the removal of contaminants.

[0055] Ionized gas may be injected into the ballast water through numerous different devices. In at least one embodiment, ionized gases may be injected into the ballast water using injectors while the ballast water is in one or more conduits. In yet another embodiment, ionized gases may be injected into the ballast water in one or more mixers 22. In at least one embodiment, one or more mixers 22, as shown in FIGS. 11-13, may be positioned downstream of the disinfectant injection system 14. In at least one embodiment, the mixer 33 may be formed from an elongated housing 90 containing a plurality of injectors 92. The injectors 92 may be positioned around the perimeter of the housing 90 and offset relative to each other so as to form a helical formation. However, the position of the injectors 92 is not limited to this configuration. Rather, the injectors 92 may be positioned in other configurations about the housing 90. In at least one embodiment, the injectors 92 may be offset about 76 millimeters and rotated about 45 degrees relative to each adjacent injector 42.

[0056] In at least one embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the injectors 92 may include a deflector 94 extending from the housing 90 into inner aspects of the mixer 22. In at least one embodiment, the deflector 94 may be formed from a V-shaped member. Gas may be injected under pressure or drawn in under low pressure created behind the deflector 94 via the Venturri effect. The injector 92 may also include a diffuser 96, which may be, but is not limited to, a stone, for diffusing a gas into a fluid contained in the mixer 22. The diffuser 96 may be adapted to emit a gas, such as an ionized gas. The ionized gas may be received from an ionized gas generator 20 or another source, such as, but not limited to, a storage tank. The mixer 22 may include gaskets and bolt sleeves in appropriate locations to establish galvanic isolation between dissimilar metals to enhance the life of the mixer 22. In at least one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 11, the mixer 22 may be generally cylindrical; however, in other embodiments, the mixer 22 may have other appropriate shapes.

[0057] The ballast water treatment system 10 may also include a recirculation loop 100, as shown in FIG. 1, for directing ballast water having one or more contaminants above a selected standard to the beginning of the water treatment system 10 to be sent through the system 10 once again. The standards selected may be those standards of the jurisdiction in which a vessel containing the water treatment system 10 is present.

Operation of the Ballast Water Treatment System

[0058] Operation of the ballast water treatment system 10 may be controlled using various controllers, such as the PLC 30, to automatically control and operate the various components of the ballast water treatment system 10 described above. The controllers for the ballast water treatment system 10 may be completely contained on the vessel in which the ballast water treatment system 10 is mounted. In other embodiments, some or all of the controllers may be located on another vessel, an aircraft, on land, or in another location. Thus, the ballast water treatment system 10 may be controlled by personnel not on the vessel in which the ballast water treatment system 10 is mounted. A configuration such as this prevents crew members from overriding the system 10 and discharging ballast water having concentrations of contaminants that are greater than applicable regulations. Thus, remote control of the system 10 may prevent an owner of a vessel from being exposed to liability from illegal discharges.

[0059] The ballast water treatment system 10 may be configured from a plurality of modules sized to accommodate an anticipated maximum load from ballast water tanks 26. The ballast water treatment system 10 may utilize one or more of the following: nitrogen, oxygen, bromine, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and other chemicals, to disinfect the ballast water. Thus, the ballast water treatment system 10 may treat ballast water without injecting the ballast water with significant amounts of chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

[0060] The ballast water may be drawn from a water source, such as, but not limited to, a water body in which a vessel is floating. Water may be drawn into the vessel using one or more pumps (not shown) and deposited into the ballast water tanks 26. In at least one embodiment, the ballast water may first be passed through a screen 28 to filter out relatively large contaminants. The pumps or conduits, or both, may be configured to cause physical damage to living organisms by subjecting the living organisms to rough surfaces, high or low pressures, or any combination thereof, to distort the shape of the organisms before the organisms pass through a filter. The ballast water may also be passed through a filter 24 for removing a substantial portion of the contaminants. For instance, in at least one embodiment, the filter 24 may remove contaminants about 30 microns in size and larger. The ballast water may then flow into the ballast water tanks 26 until the ballast water is needed to be released from the vessel.

[0061] The ballast water may be treated either when received into the ballast water tank 26 or when released from the ballast water tank 26. In the preferred embodiment, ballast water is treated when released so that any contaminants that may have formed in the ballast water tank 26 may be removed during the treatment process. The ballast water may be mixed with one or more disinfectants. In at least one embodiment, the disinfectant may be a halide taken from sea water and may include, but is not limited to, chlorine or bromine, or both. The disinfectant may be generated by passing salt water through the disinfectant generator 16. The flow of saltwater thorough the conduits 44 may be controlled using the bypass conduit 52 and one or more valves to ensure proper operation. Waste products produced by the disinfectant generator 16 may be disposed overboard. The disinfectant may mix with the ballast water to remove at least a portion of the biota, BODs, CODs, or chemicals, or any combination thereof, or other contaminants from the ballast water.

[0062] The ballast water may also be mixed with one or more ionized gases. The ionized gases may be produced using one or more ionized gas generators 20. In at least one embodiment, air may be passed through the ionized gas generators 20 to generate one or more ionized gases. The ionized gases may be injected into the ballast water through one or more ionized gas injectors 92. In at least one embodiment, the ionized gases may be mixed with the ballast water in a mixer 22. As the ballast water flows through the mixer 22, ionized gases may be injected into the ballast water through diffusers 96 attached to the injectors 92. As the ballast water exits the mixer 22, the concentration of contaminants in the ballast water should be equal to or less than applicable thresholds, thereby enabling the ballast water to be disposed overboard. If the ballast water has contaminant concentrations higher than applicable regulations or chosen threshold, the ballast water may be passed through the recirculation loop 100 so that the ballast water may be passed through the ballast water treatment system 10 again to attempt to reduce the contaminant concentration. The ballast waste treatment system 10 may be formed from different combinations of the above-identified components depending on the applicable standards.

[0063] The terms and expressions which have been employed herein are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention, in the use of such terms and expressions, of excluding any equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof. Having thus described the invention in detail, it should be apparent that various modifications can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification210/704
International ClassificationC02F9/00, B03D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationC02F1/48, C02F2103/008, C02F1/4672, C02F2305/023, C02F1/4674, C02F1/722, C02F1/32, C02F1/78
European ClassificationC02F1/467B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 29, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: IONZ BLUEWATER SOLUTIONS, INC., FLORIDA
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Effective date: 20051103
Owner name: IONZ BLUEWATER SOLUTIONS, INC.,FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MARINE ENVIROMENTAL PARTNERS, INC.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASEUPDATED:20100427;REEL/FRAME:17283/649
Jun 28, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: EAGLESTONE INVESTMENT PARTNERS I, L.P. AND TESLA C
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MEP ENGINEERING SERVICES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:014789/0262
Effective date: 20040326
Nov 18, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERS, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LEFFLER, CHARLES E.;PAUL, WILLIAM;REEL/FRAME:014729/0252;SIGNING DATES FROM 20031105 TO 20031115