Problems and Challenges that Can Occur in Ballast Water Treatment Systems (Mitsubishi VOS)Blog | December 17th, 2018
As a kind of equipment review, let’s recall the functions that are carried out by Mitsubishi VOS systems. In the ballast system, the water treatment gear strips oxygen from the ballast water, hence the Venturi Oxygen Stripping designation. And, as every biology student knows full well, life cannot exist when oxygen is absent. So far so good, then. With the review out of the way, maybe we can get a little troubleshooting work done.
One-Hundred Percent Functionaity
That’s the goal, to make a Mitsubishi VOS water treatment system absolutely efficient. Some equipment setups can run a little off the mark, so there are energy losses to make up. The losses go on a report, and they’re dealt with by the maintenance crew when the ship docks. However, considering the nature of the threat here, a less than optimized water treatment system is unacceptable. Remember, the equipment is intended to stop foreign aquatic lifeforms from invading distant ecosystems. If we fail in that duty, we run the risk of introducing a new and dangerous aquatic species.
Mitsubishi VOS: The Challenges
With no active substances added to the ballast tanks, the organism killing technology relies on a micro-fine emulsion, a miniature mass of bubbles that removes fluid oxygen. With the water now in a hypoxic state, anything unfortunate enough to be hitchhiking in the tanks will be starved of life-sustaining oxygen. Think for a moment about the advantages of an organism eradicating method that doesn’t use any caustic chemicals. Once the ballast reaches another coast, it won’t poison the local ecosystem, nor will it dump foreign organisms. However, favourable features can also become hindrances, especially when things go wrong. Think now of a malfunctioning venturi chamber, a pump or dynamic moving part that stops the emulsion from forming properly. Now the tiny aquatic lifeforms have a chance of gaining purchase in the ballast tanks. As they say, given half a chance, life will find a way to survive. It’s a ship engineer’s job to make sure that half-chance is never there in the first place.
Troubleshooting the machinery, the maintenance tech knows this is a dynamic system. Mitsubishi VOS machinery requires a fuel line. If there’s a clog in the line, emulsion propagation will drop precipitously. The system caretaker keeps the fuel lines clear, takes water samples to check for oxygen, and he looks for other key signs of trouble. For instance, This ballast deoxygenating solution also fights local corrosion. After all, without oxygen, metal surfaces can’t oxidize. If there are signs of corrosion near the ballast tanks, there’s oxygen in the water, and the system isn’t doing its job.
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