Cleaning up oily waste

Cleaning oily water on vessels at sea – without using chemicals, adsorption filters or membranes

DATE 2023-11-28

More than 70% of our planet is covered by water. Rapid growth in the need for transportation has also had an impact on the booming of the marine industry – which is good news from many environmental perspectives not the least its low carbon impact. However, the marine ecological system is bound to be perturbed by this growth. One of the companies that is committed to exceeding the environmental requirements is Teekay, one of the major marine actors in today's energy sector. The company takes no chances with environmental compliance, especially when it comes to oily water treatment. A large number of Teekay's vessels rely on centrifugal separation and oily water treatment systems from Alfa Laval.

Established in 1973, Teekay has developed from a regional shipping company into one of the world's largest marine energy transportation, storage and production companies. Beyond its commitment of bringing energy to customers worldwide, the company is committed to meeting or exceeding environmental requirements. When it comes to processing oily water on board, dynamic treatment is a key part of Teekay's environmental strategy. Teekay has spent many years working with Alfa Laval centrifugal separators, finding them to be the most reliable and cost-effective means of securing oily water discharge compliance. Not only has much of the Teekay fleet been retrofitted with Alfa Laval oily water treatment systems, Alfa Laval PureBilge is also the company's preference for all newbuild projects. "In our experience, centrifugal separation is vastly superior to gravity-based oily water treatment solutions," says Allan Muir, Director Digital Supply Chain at Teekay.

Gravity is not enough for today's oily water

In fact, many ship owners and operators find that static coalescers and other gravity-based solutions fail to perform at sea. The shortcomings of these systems stem from the complex nature of today's modern oily water mixtures, combined with a type approval procedure that does not reflect real-world conditions. "A lot of particles, chemicals and detergents make their way into bilge water, which means you end up with difficult emulsions that just don't settle out," says Muir. "If your oily water treatment system relies on chemicals or filters, things can get messy and expensive very quickly on a rolling and pitching ship. The filters rapidly become saturated and your ability to comply is suddenly limited."

Centrifugal separation with Alfa Laval PureBilge

In contrast to static coalescers and other gravity-based solutions, centrifugal separators can treat the most challenging oily water efficiently. Unaffected by pitch and roll, they supply many times the force of gravity, which allows them to break emulsions and perform even in rough seas.

Alfa Laval PureBilge meets the 15 ppm IMO discharge limit without ever resorting to filters or chemicals. Thanks in part to its XLrator disc inlet, which prevents additional emulsions by gently accelerating the process liquid, it provides continuous, high-capacity cleaning in any sea conditions. Though it requires virtually no attention from the crew, PureBilge has no difficulty keeping up with the vessel's bilge water production.

"PureBilge is an important part of Teekay's fleet strategy, but it also means peace of mind for our individual crews," Muir concludes. "Because PureBilge operates so reliably and with so little effort, there is never any question of discharging oily water overboard. PureBilge helps us do our part for the environment as a fleet, and it makes it easy for our crews to do the right thing as well."

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“In our experience, centrifugal separation is vastly superior to gravity-based oily water treatment solutions”

Allan Muir, Director Digital Supply Chain at Teekay

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