Sumitomo Electric has successfully developed high-performance filtration technology for removal of plankton, micro-organisms and etc. from seawater. This technology features in an ultraviolet sterilization Ballast Water Management System called Ecomarine*, which has been undergoing full-scale trial tests since April 2012 ahead of the final approval application. Furthermore, Daiki Ataka Engineering, which boasts extensive experience in seawater electrolysis technology and holds a large slice of the global market in this business field, is also in the process of developing a Ballast Water Management System. Hitachi Zosen, meanwhile, has extensive experience and expertise in the maritime business as well as in shipbuilding and marine diesel engines.
The three companies plan to make a business alliance bringing together their respective areas of expertise—filtration technology from Sumitomo Electric, electrolysis systems from Daiki Ataka Engineering and ship design and retrofit engineering from Hitachi Zosen—to develop a compact, high-performance Ballast Water Management System with lower electric power consumption and minimal environmental impact. The joint development agreement also covers promotional approach to the clients in the world at the development stage of the product.
The entire product development process including type approval is due to be finished by the end of FY2014. The three companies then plan to set up a joint venture company to the market of the Ecomarine ultraviolet Ballast Water Management System and the newly developed electrolysis type Ballast Water Management System, with a target of ¥100 billion in cumulative sales by FY2019.
Ballast water is the name given to seawater that is taken on when the ship is empty in order to maintain balance of the vessel. In recent years, the practice of discharging ballast water upon arrival at port has become a matter of international concern due to the associated environmental destruction and impacts on ecosystems.
Under the Ballast Water Convention** adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2004, oceangoing vessels built after 2009 (with certain exceptions) must be fitted with Ballast Water Management Systems and existing vessels must be retrospectively fitted with treatment systems by 2016. In addition, ballast water regulations are starting to appear around the world, as illustrated by the introduction of new regulations in the United States in this June 2012.
The three partner companies plan to combine their technical expertise and experience to develop and market a Ballast Water Management System designed to satisfy the expected increase in demand for Ballast Water Management Systems and fulfill CSR obligations towards environmental issues.
* Ecomarine is a trademark or registered trademark of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
** The Ballast Water Convention (formal title: the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water & Sediments) requires ratification by at least 30 IMO member nations representing a combined total of no less than 35% of total global shipping tonnage, and will be in effective after one (1) year after ratification. At present it has been ratified by 36 nations representing a combined total of 29.07% of global shipping tonnage, and hence is yet to be enforced as of February 2014.