Mr. Nier Spielberg Returns to VP Marine & Sales at Filtersafe

Filtersafe is proud to announce that as of November 1, 2022, Nier Spielberg has returned to his position as VP Marine & Sales at Filtersafe. Nier had previously held this position for 3 years and stepped down at the end of 2020 in order to spend more time with his family. He continued to remain a part of the Filtersafe family, serving in an advisory role for the executive team over the past two years, which has allowed him to quickly resume his place amongst Filtersafe’s leadership.

“I’m happy to be back and to serve our clients in the best possible way,” says Nier, ”I’m looking forward to finding ways to empower and support our clients in this very competitive marketplace.

“I’ve always enjoyed working, especially with Etai [Dagan] and Filtersafe, so once I decided that I wanted to return to working in a fuller capacity, it made sense that I return to Filtersafe and my old role.”

Nier has extensive experience in the Marine and Ballast industries. He has been with Filtersafe since 2007, where he started as the Head of Marine Sales for Scandinavia and Northern Europe. After a few years, he worked in other capacities in the shipping industry before returning to Filtersafe in 2014 as VP of Business Development.

Etai Dagan, Filterafe CEO and Founder remarked, “Nier’s return is eagerly anticipated, not just by our team, but by our clients as well. Aside from being incredibly knowledgeable about the shipping industry and its needs as it pertains to ballast water treatment, he also has a unique ability to connect with people and build relationships. He was sorely missed when he stepped back from his role, and we’ve already heard from our clients how much they are looking to work with Nier again.”

Filtersafe Develops New UV BWMS Filter

Manta Series: Engineered Ballast Water Filtration Dedicated to UV BWMS

Compact, high-performance, and easy-to-maintain MANTA filters, created in response to market feedback, also receive equivalent series type approval.

 

ISRAEL; 2nd June 2022: Filtersafe, a world leader in automatic seawater filtration, has today announced its new ‘MANTA’ filter series, with the first of the portfolio exhibited at Posidonia 2022 in June.

 

The company’s latest high-performance filter is able to maintain impressive removal rates – 99.6% of organisms over 50 μm – all in a cost-effective package with a small footprint, specifically engineered for UV-based ballast water management systems (BWMS).

 

These organism removal rates ensure that ship owners and operators will be compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s D-2 standard for the implementation of the ballast water management convention, which must be adhered to by 08 September 2024, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) existing ‘Final Rule for Ballast Water Treatment’.

 

Filtersafe has received an equivalent series type approval from Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and the USCG. As one of the first complete filter redesigns to be approved under the USCG’s Policy Letter (CG-OES 03-20) Guidance on Testing Alternate Components for a Type Approved BWMS, the MANTA reflects one of the first true evolutions in ballast water filtration since the complex and costly testing regimes were mandated. Gaining approval under this policy ensures that customers of the performance-leading BallastSafe filter now have a new, more compact option to add to their BWMS portfolio.

The MANTA filters family

The MANTA features Filtersafe’s new one-motion scanner. This new design removes lateral motion of the scanner, reducing cost and eliminating parts. It features a larger proximity nozzle which is able to clean the filter screen in one continuous motion. When combined with the filter’s unpleated screen, the MANTA has improved cleaning coverage that reaches 100% of the screen.

 

A high-performing filter with scalable automatic self-cleaning technology is particularly important for BWMS operations in challenging water conditions, which is a priority for regulators and ship operators alike. Automatic filter cleaning can be increased when ballasting in sediment-rich waters, including those found in the port of Shanghai, to ensure a consistent flow rate and to avoid costly operational issues such as clogging. Despite being tested with a finer mesh filter, the MANTA outperformed the original BallastSafe design in independent testing of the cleaning, removal rate, and throughput efficiency of the filters.

 

Corrosion prevention remains another key industry pain point. Filtersafe introduced 904L stainless steel across its filter screen supply chain last year and this superior steel is also used in the MANTA series’ sintered screens. In addition, and in order to combat the steady-rising cost of alloy material, Filtersafe, together with its partners, has adopted a new SuperQuenching procedure, borrowed from the space industry, to overcome the material degradation of 316L due to the weaving, sintering, and fabrication process. This allows it to also offer a viable 316L screen option at a lower cost. Improved longevity and superior cleaning reduce maintenance costs and, even when maintenance is required, MANTA is thoughtfully designed to ensure it can safely and efficiently be maintained by one person.

 

Mark Riggio, Head of Marine at Filtersafe, commented: “As requested by leading BWMS manufacturers, we’re pleased to offer Filtersafe performance in a smaller package, designed specifically for UV systems. Having equivalent series type approval already completed makes adopting a MANTA filter a no-brainer for our current customers. The rising challenges posed by sediment-rich water conditions are not going away – and now we have the filter that anyone can use to meet them.”

 

“From a shipowner and operators’ perspective, MANTA is a win in both the CAPEX and OPEX categories. You expect CAPEX costs may be a little more for a high-quality filter, MANTA disrupts that. And our OPEX costs have always been Filtersafe’s strong point. If you have any questions about this or just want to see a MANTA filter, I encourage you to swing by the Filtersafe booth at Posidonia.”

 

Ballast water management is one of the toughest water treatment challenges in the world and demands the best technical solutions. There is sufficient technology and innovative equipment available on the market today to overcome operational challenges and ensure seamless, cost-effective regulatory compliance.

 

Powerful Lessons to Be Learnt From BWMS Operational Data

Ballast water management systems (BWMS) haven’t been the black-box solution that many shipowners had hoped for. They work, but as participants in a webinar hosted by De Nora and Filtersafe heard, there are outside variables that can make them challenging for managers and crew, especially if they don’t have quality equipment and adequate support from manufacturers.

Taking a look at some real-life case studies, the participants in the “What can vessel data tell us about BWMS commissioning & operation?” webinar (see full webinar below) discussed crew training, system commissioning, and striking a balance between power consumption and filter capabilities.

In one case study, crew operating their system for the first time found that while the portside pumping system worked as expected, the starboard system sounded the differential pressure alarm and shut itself down. Initially suspected to be a filter backflushing problem, the true cause lay in the design of the piping. This was only picked up by careful analysis of the system’s data logs by Filtersafe personnel who were then able to propose a workaround to the crew.

Why wasn’t this picked up during system commissioning? Sometimes both port and starboard pumps are not run simultaneously during commissioning – sailing schedules and crew availability can lead to such risks being taken.

In another case study, the crew complained that the filters were backflushing all the time – and the crew suspected that the culprit was the challenging waters in which the vessel was ballasting – but that ultimately wasn’t the cause of the problem. Rather, after manual cleaning, the filter was being reassembled incorrectly causing premature component wear. A further look at the data logs revealed another problem – an undersized airflow line. The problem was subsequently fixed on the vessel and also other vessels in the fleet.

It’s important that crews do not continually resort to bypassing systems. This would endanger the environmental objectives that ballast water treatment systems are designed to prevent: the spread of harmful aquatic organisms. One compliance issue which was highlighted is the proliferation of organisms in the ballast tanks, and therefore the criticality of emptying and cleaning the tanks regularly.

As an equipment manufacturer, De Nora provides intelligence and support to ship managers to monitor operations and avoid any issues that might frustrate crews. Furthermore, De Nora can help optimize power usage and reduce power consumption when ballasting in less-challenging conditions. This can be achieved regardless of treatment technology (UV or electrochemical dosing) and it can be done without risking schedules or compliance with D-2 standards.

Ballast water manufacturers, operators, and regulators have collected a lot of data so far during the experience-building phase of the regulations. It’s important to leverage this data to make sure shipowners – and regulators – can be confident that systems are working as intended when onboard a ship, and to make sure that ballast water rules have the positive environmental impact they were designed for.

The biggest takeaway from this data is that quality pays. Working collaboratively with quality, expert partners, and installing the highest quality systems is the best way to reduce operating costs, save time for both ship operators and crew, and deliver compliance.

Installing a cheap, low-quality system – where suppliers are not acting as technical partners – means buying twice, with almost certain costly failures and no tools to rectify them. And the ramifications of this will only become more extreme as ballast water is more heavily policed in the years to come.

And let’s not forget why ballast water treatment is so important! While significant attention is being given to finding effective solutions to the industry’s decarbonization challenge, the risks of invasive species remain real and dramatic. As we strive for a more sustainable future for shipping, environmental stewardship requires taking responsibility for both water and air alike.

Here is the full webinar with division in chapters for your convenience:

Filtersafe’s Smartweave Screen: Water Filtration at a Whole New Level

The heart of any filtration system is the screen. It is the barrier that keeps downstream systems protected, ballast water free from invasive species, and RO membranes safe from upstream contaminants.

Filtersafe’s patented filtration technology all started with a vision to engineer a dedicated seawater durable filter that could handle filtration of microscopic organisms without letting the microscopic organisms through or clogging. After years of R&D our engineers created our unique smartweave screen, utilizing a patented manufacturing and sintering process that places our screen leaps and bounds above the alternatives.

By using a combination of weave wire filtration screens, protective screens, and a reinforcement layer, the innovative, highly effective screen filters out sediment and microorganisms, providing invaluable filtration support no matter where it’s installed.

Why It’s Important

As the heart of a filter, the screen provides two key benefits that make or break the functionality of the filter – it’s ability to filter out particles down to the designated micron and its ability to work without clogging.

wedge wire candle filter with debrisIf a filter can’t be trusted to filter down to the required micron level, many problems can occur. In an industry such as ballast water filtration, allowing organisms in the ballast tank can cause a ship to be in non-compliance with the International Maritime Organization’s D-2 regulations, and result in heavy fines for shipowners. In agriculture, it can result in sediment getting through to the drip irrigation lines and clogging the pipes and nozzles, resulting in expensive maintenance. Every filter request comes with a request to filter down to a specific micron level because anything bigger than this size will cause problems downstream. It’s imperative that end users can trust that their filters are filtering down to the level requested.

The second issue, clogging, is deeper than just the screen stopping because of a clog. Clogging can also refer to any unexpected reduction in the filter’s flow rate, which can cause cascading problems. Firstly, many filters clean based on the concept of differential pressure – that is the pressure inside of the filter is higher than that outside and this difference in pressure triggers the screen to be cleaned. If the screen cleaning mechanism can’t properly remove the debris building up on it, the buildup of debris can reduce the clear opening of the filter mesh and significantly reduce the flow through the filter. Even before it clogs completely, this phenomenon can reduce flow through the filter by up to 80 or 90%, effectively rendering the filter clogged even though it still can pass the process fluid.

On a cargo ship this reduction in water can slow or even halt the loading or unloading of cargo, as the ship can become dangerously unbalanced as products are moved on and off and there isn’t a respective change in balancing ballast water. The additional time in port not only throws of the ship’s schedule down the line, but can result in expensive additional docking fees while in port. In many industrial applications a clogged filter can simply shut down the process its involved in – in a food production facility this means stopping production, but if the filter is involved in a HVAC/cooling tower application, the particles that aren’t filtered out can cause corrosion within the system, or even more dangerous cause the system to overheat and shutdown as the vital cooling water isn’t being provided.

Now that we understand how important a properly functioning screen is to various industries, let’s learn more about how Filtersafe’s smartweave screen works.

How It Works

The basis for Filtersafe’s smartweave screens is our exclusive weave-wire mesh layer. This is the layer that determines the micron level down to which the filter filters, and can range anywhere from 10-500 microns, depending on the application. In order to enhance the strength of the screens (and we’ll see below flimsy screens are a real problem), the mesh layer is covered on either side by a protective layer. In addition, on the outside of the screen is an additional perforated reinforcement layer, for enhanced durability.

Filtersafe's 4 layer sintered screen

In order to keep the 4 layers compact and without rubbing (which can lead to wear and tear of the individual layers and compromises the filtration integrity and can also encourage corrosion within the filter screen) we have a unique sintering process, which allows our 4 layer screen to be less than 3 mm thick. The combination of the unique use of weave wire along with the additional protective layers also gives us an unrivaled effective screen area. This means that smartweave screens are able to trap a huge amount of particles while still maintaining a high flow rate (all within a small footprint). Lastly, Filtersafe is able to offer its proprietary screen technology in several different stainless-steel varieties including – 316L, 904L, and SMO254, depending on application requirements.

What is Sintering

Sintering entails heating elements of the 4 layers so that the metals of each layer bond together, without the use of any bonding agent or other external materials, and without actually melting the metal. Sintering produces a secure, reliable bond between the layers, and is especially suited to wire mesh, as it allows each wire to be securely attached in place at the same time. This is especially important as the numerous strands of wire can easily become loose and start fraying if not properly secured together – threatening the integrity of the filtration element cut point.

A Closer Look At Other Screens

The smartweave screen technology especially stands out when compared to the other screen technology options available. Let’s see how smartweave compares to the competition.

Floating weave wire vs smartweave sintered

Floating weave wire screens are similar to our smartweave screens in that they both contain weave wire and therefore have exceptionally high open area and higher flow rates than other screen options, while trapping 8 times more organic matter than wedge wire filters – however the similarities end there. Floating weave wire screens are a popular choice as they are much cheaper to manufacture than our sintered alternative, and therefore cheaper to buy. However, the cost savings in the short term quickly result in expensive problems for buyers.

The screens are called ‘floating’ because the screen layers aren’t sintered together and a cross-section looks like they are floating atop one another. Each layer of the Floating weave wire screens needs to be more robust because it can’t rely on the strength it neighboring layers which leads the overall width of the screen to be 12 mm thick or more with the actual fine filtration layer (working mesh) placed further away from the surface of the screen and the gap between the inner protection mesh and the working mesh can be 2.5mm or more allowing high slippage flows when being cleaned. Alternatively, smartweave screens are only 3mm thick with the working mesh being only 0.5mm away from the inner protection mesh. This increased thickness between the layers can make it harder for nozzles to properly clean the screen (an issue discussed in greater depth in our article about our patented nozzlex technology). Aside from the problems their thickness can cause with cleaning, as the screen layers ‘float’ they can move with changes in pressure within the filter, rubbing against each other. This can cause two problems – corrosion from the steel rubbing and reduced integrity of the weave wire layer which puts the filtration degree in jeopardy. Just one small hole in a screen changes the filtration degree of the entire screen.

Candle filters vs weave wire

Candle filters get their name from the long, tubular shape of the filter. These types of filters are normally wedge wire and rely on metal barriers to filter water and are cleaned through backflushing. While theoretically candle filters are supposed to be able to filter to a finer degree, the backflushing process can allow fine particles to come through. Unlike precision nozzles which suck off debris at the point of nozzle contact, backflushing reverses the flow of water to clean and the force of the reversed flow can weaken the filter’s welds over time,  reducing the durability of the filter. In addition, when fine filtration is required, the open area and porosity of the filter decrease dramatically, resulting in a much lower flow rate.

As discussed above, because smartweave screens are sintered, the layers of the screen don’t rub together, resulting in enhanced durability.  Weave wire screens can also be used on-line or in-line, while candle filters can only be in-line. Weave wire screens also have up to 6 times the open area of wedge wire, resulting in a higher flow rate that can be incredibly valuable if time is of the essence (such as when you are trying to fill up a ballast tank while unloading cargo, or are filtering water at a desalination plant for hundreds of thousands of people). Lastly, while more superficial, weave wire screens tend to leave water looking cleaner, even with larger filtration degrees.

Screen vs sand filters

Sand filters are one of the oldest technologies that are still in use. Sand filters are a common choice when the user wants to remove suspending particles and don’t require a high flow rate. They can be economical choices, but overall, have many cons when compared to automatic screen filters. The table below gives a clear overview on the benefits automatic screen filters have over sand filters.

[table id=3 /]  

Let smartweave Filter For You

smartweave works to its full potential when paired with our nozzlex proximity nozzles, and results in our EVERCLEAR automatic filtration cycle technology. The EVERCLEAR autonomous self-cleaning filtration cycle works with low operating pressure, minimal water for flushing, and is NOT a backwashing sequence, for 100% screen cleaning every cycle.

Excelerate Exemplar Filter Installation: Video Case Study

Discover why Excelerate Energy chose the Filtersafe filter (as part of a De Nora BALPURE BWMS) for their challenging FSRU installation needs. Download the case study.

About the BWMS End User

Excelerate Energy owns and operates one of the largest fleets of Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRUs) in the industry and has over 15 years of development, construction, and operational experience. The company’s FSRUs are permanently moored to a docking facility at a location close to a market access point and tailored to fit specific environmental requirements.

For its latest charter, the FSRU Exemplar, Excelerate Energy needed a high-capacity ballast water management system (BWMS) capable of ballasting in the most challenging harbor conditions. To ensure efficient operations, the vessel needed a solution that could provide a flow rate of 5,000 m3/h and fit

into the limited space available in the engine room, to properly support the Exemplar’s 150,900 m3 storage capacity.

See our video case study:

Why they Chose Filtersafe

The BallastSafe Series features a modular design that allows for any possible configuration and is particularly helpful in retrofit installations. BallastSafe filters can be installed vertically or horizontally to provide the flexibility needed in tight spaces, and the vertical filter configuration operates in exactly the same manner as a horizontally positioned unit and to the same performance standard, whilst substantially reducing its area footprint. Filter orientation can be decided in as little as eight weeks before delivery.

Filtersafe’s automatic screen filters utilize unique, patented, and cutting-edge technologies to ensure the high-performance demands of the market are met. They are a dependable filter choice, are approved by all major class societies, and are approved to work with most IMO and US Coast Guard leading BWMS systems.

To learn more about the Excelerate Exemplar installation and the full details of the Filtersafe filter, please download our case study below.

Ballasting Flow Rates: The True Cost of Delays & How to Avoid Them

In today’s maritime industry, ship owners and operators are required to make new, costly investments to ensure that vessels comply with the latest environmental regulations. This includes the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), which requires most vessel owners to install and operate an effective ballast water management system (BWMS). Typical BWMSs have a primary treatment component, in most cases a filter, then a secondary treatment component to neutralize the organism found in the ballast water. With profit margins under pressure, and numerous products to choose from, many shipowners see BWMS and filter selection as a weighty decision with long-term CAPEX and OPEX implications.

To make a smart decision, it is essential that shipowners understand both the regulatory and technical benefits of specifying a BWMS that includes a suitable filter – one that promotes proper filtration to avoid ballasting delays and non-compliance with the BWMC.

 

Regulation and non-compliance

In order to comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ballast Water Management Convention and the additional US Coast Guard (USCG) ballast water regulation, it is essential to select and operate a high-performing BWMS to ensure long-term and reliable treatment of invasive aquatic species. In practical terms, most ships ballast in port or river estuary waters, where sediment is significantly higher than out at sea. This can significantly impact flow rates if a low-quality filter is installed, which can then extend ballasting times.

 

Flow rates impact finances

Ballasting rates for a vessel are designed alongside the rates of cargo loading and discharge. For vessels to safely load and unload cargo, the ballast pumps must be able to either load ballast water or discharge ballast water to maintain the stability of the vessel. The slowing of the flow during ballasting can have dangerous consequences for vessels during cargo discharge if the stability of the vessel becomes compromised, such as listing.

A decreased flow rate occurs for two primary reasons: firstly, during heavy loading, when filling the tanks to maximum capacity as quickly as possible, the filter will often go into continuous backflush and a significant portion of the water will be diverted through the backflush line. Secondly, filter loading and increased differential pressure across the mesh places a larger discharge head on the ballast pump, causing the pump to flow less water to the tank.

In reality, the time it takes to move ballast can range from 12 hours to nearly 90 if the filter is not designed for heavy loading. In comparison, a filter appropriately designed for a vessel’s loads and the waters where it will be ballasting may be able to move more than three times as much water than a filter that slows or clogs.

The exact amount of money that can be lost will depend on the market, the type of vessel, whether the vessel is in port, how busy the crew is, and what the costs may be for additional time alongside. However, as an example, a VLCC tanker earning a typical $36,000/day, every hour of delay can cost $1,500 plus any port charges. These costs can rapidly add up and should be kept in mind when considering CAPEX and OPEX for a BWMS installation.

 

The challenge of sediment

An additional factor that can decrease flow rates is the level of sediment being collected while ballasting. Two particular locations, the Mississippi River Delta and the Yangtze River, show exceptionally high Total Suspended Solids levels and present a particular challenge to many BWMS technologies.

Sediment is one of the critical factors in filter clogging but allowing sediments to accumulate has further implications to the vessel. The buildup in the ballast tanks between drydocking periods can create an unpumpable, permanent ballast that, if not removed, reduces the vessel’s cargo capacity over time.

For vessels contracted in the bulk and oil trades, this may affect the charter agreement and cause vessels to carry less than the obligatory cargo amounts as per the voyage plan, with potentially significant implications for a ship’s earning ability. Vessels are designed to carry a specific amount of cargo based on weight and displacement, so vessels ferrying around even a few inches of sediment over the entire bottom of ballast tanks can quickly see tonnes of additional weight added to their dead weight. This additional dead weight may offset cargo loads.

The choice of a BWMS and its filter is critical for shipowners and operators to avoid non-compliance and expensive ballasting repercussions. It must be economically sound, both from a CAPEX and long-term OPEX standpoint. The filter within a system has a big effect on its ability to perform effectively, efficiently and within the regulatory parameters. As such, it is an investment with potential implications for many company departments, including technical, operations and finance. This makes BWMS and filter selection a business critical issue.

For more information on this topic, please download our whitepaper on the cost of compliance here: https://filtersafe.net/the-true-cost-of-compliance-in-the-marine-bwms-industry/

Filtersafe provides high performing BWMS filters for ConocoPhillips Fleet

Filtersafe multifilter installed on Polar fleet

Learn why ConocoPhillips chose the De Nora BALPURE® BWMS with Filtersafe filters for their entire Polar Vessel fleet.

ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s largest crude oil producer and the largest owner of exploration leases, operates a series of vessels traveling between Alaska and San Francisco. This west coast route has particularly challenging conditions due to widely ranging water quality, including high sediment waters in San Francisco Bay.

ConocoPhillips Polar route with Filtersafe filtersConocoPhillips recognized the need for high-performing ballast water management system (BWMS) filters to ensure regulatory compliance and operational efficiency. In 2015, the company invested in independent testing to assess and choose the right BWMS filter for the fleet’s operational route.

It was through this testing that they came to the conclusion to install the De Nora BALPURE® BWMS with Filtersafe filters across the fleet.

The BallastSafe BS300-T filter . The filter is designed to perform under high sediment loads in poor water quality areas and has a flow rate of 750 m3/hr. Due to the enormous size of the ships in the fleet, it was decided that in addition to 2 BallastSafe BS300-T filters, that 2 additional BallastSafe BS1204H filters should be added when the BWMS is installed in each ship.

 

Filtersafe solution

Most filters build a “cake” i.e. an uncleanable part of the filter created over time as a result of a decrease in water pressure in the filter system. For the filter to return to optimum performance levels, the filter must be manually cleaned. In contrast to most filters, Filtersafe’s solutions are the only technology available to the global shipping industry today which is self-restoring.

This means the filters have no uncleanable areas and are able to remove even the toughest build-up, with the filter returning to its original clean state after every heavy use in less than three minutes. For example, in the Shanghai Test our filter fully recovered from an unimaginable TSS load of 2,450 ppm in 182 seconds. 

Filtersafe has an exclusive, upgradeable cleaning mechanism that can be modified even after installation to improve cleaning efficiency. This means the filter can be configured according to the vessel’s trading waters and then changed as those trade routes are altered over the life of the ship. This is significant as it removes the limitations that ballast water management systems (BWMS) have traditionally placed on ships, allowing vessels to move between low and high sediment routes, such as the tankers navigating around high sediment areas of San Francisco, without being prohibited by filter performance.

 

Results

The filter operated under various conditions for several months, monitoring and recording hundreds of hours of valuable operation data. The results of the tests demonstrated flow rates varying between 400-750 m3/hr. These rates were recorded during testing and varied according to inlet pressure levels and sediment loads, which reached as high as 400 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) (TSS 350- 400mg/L). The filter performed very well during high sediment loads, especially at known turbid locations such as the Shell Terminal in San Francisco Bay and the ports of Anacortes and Valerio in Washington, recovering quickly from the high dirt load conditions. In addition, the filter operated without the need for manual cleaning throughout the duration of the test.

Following the successful installation and the test results on board the pilot Polar vessel transporting fuels regularly between Alaska and other major energy producing ports along the North American West Coast, ConocoPhillips decided to install Filtersafe filters on the entire Polar fleet.

Following the initial test, all five crude oil tankers in the Polar fleet will feature filtersafe filters as an integral part of their BWMS, with 2 ships already past installation and commissioning and the rest with planned installation datesin 2022: Polar Endeavour, Polar Enterprise, Polar Resolution, Polar Adventure and Polar Discovery, as outlined above. Each vessel was assessed according to its ballasting needs to ensure the right filters and flow rates were chosen. Filtersafe also worked with a leading class society, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), to complete a successful remote pressure test survey to certify the filters ahead of installation to ensure the highest standards for ConocoPhillips.

To read more about the installation, please download the case study here:

What the Shanghai Test Results Tell Ship Owners About a Ballast Water Filter

Shanghai River with Muddy Water

Savvy ship operators know that the right filter is key to not only complying with IMO and USCG regulations but also to ensure that their ship can sail and ballast anywhere, in addition to costing or saving a ship money by how long it takes to filter and fill a ship’s ballast water tanks.

Shipowners and operators regularly ask Mr. Louis Peperzak (Technical Manager Ballast Water Services at Control Union) and his colleagues: “How am I supposed to trust that a ballast water filter will work in severe circumstances?” they continue: “since IMO regulations account for 50 mg/L of TSS but in Shanghai Harbor, TSS concentrations can reach up to 1,000 mg/L?”

They turned to Control Union specifically as they are a highly respected 3rd party certifier of various maritime QA/QC evaluations, including for ballast water management systems. The Control Union as a whole is a collection of international companies that offer certification in various industries, including marine and ballast water.

What is the ‘Shanghai Test’?

This is how Control Union came to create their ‘Shanghai Filter Test’, which seeks to mimic the muddy, turbid waters of the popular Shanghai Port. If a ballast filter could manage to filter the 1,000 TSS mg/L of suspended solids that can be found in the waters of Shanghai without clogging, then they could be confidant that their ship can sail to and ballast in any port without fear that the filter would clog from water with high total suspended solids (TSS).

The test puts water with mud the similar consistency and particle size distribution as the mud found in the Port of Shanghai through the filter at increasing amounts until the filter has less than 5% outflow and effectively clogs. Since the Port of Shanghai can have a maximum TSS of 1,000 mg/L that is the benchmark Control Union has set for whether a filter passes the test or not. If a filter can work at 1,000 mg/L without clogging, it is considered to have passed the test.

A clogged ballast water filter is an expensive and time-consuming problem for shipowners. A clogged filter means:

  1. The ballasting process must stop while the filter is cleaned, halting loading or unloading of cargo from a ship;
  2. Seafarers must invest manpower and spend time cleaning the filter instead of attending to their other important, onboard duties;
  3. More time spent in port, having to pay port fees, and time lost on the delivery route.

If a shipowner can know that a ballast water filter comes tested & certified by Control Union as having passed the test and not clogging at 1,000 mg/L of TSS, they can have more confidence in their entire BWMS. This means a certified ballast filter is also of interest to BWMS manufacturers and naval architects who help ship operators pick and install their BWMS.

Filtersafe’s Shanghai Test Results

Filtersafe sent 5 configurations of its ballast water filter to the Control Union location in the Netherlands for the test (a combination of 25 micron and 40 micron screens paired with standard, turbo and superturbo automatic self-cleaning options in a BS101 filter body).

Filtersafe is proud to announce that not only did all 5 of the configurations pass the 1,000 mg/L challenge, all filters were challenged with increasingly turbid water, up to 2,450 mg/L, and none of them clogged.

We invite you to take a look at the results yourself. You can download the Shanghai Test Report to receive an explanation in detail of how the test was conducted and the results of each of the 5 tests.

Please fill out the form below to immediately download your copy of Filtersafe’s Shanghai Test Report.

[hubspot type=form portal=8749745 id=2cd57488-fd82-49a8-9193-2f8878f407c9]

316L vs. 904L Stainless Steel: What’s the Difference?

PMI gun testing 904L steel

The global maritime industry has been shifting towards greater environmental protection efforts in recent decades. The International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (IMO MEPC) works to address issues that affect and threaten our oceans, including air and water pollution, disaster preparedness, and ship recycling.

However, this organization also studies an environmental issue hardly known to the public: ballast water management.

Ballast water tanks keep a ship balanced as she transports cargo, but it must be fully filtered and treated before being released at her port of call. The IMO guidelines require that ships only discharge ballast water, that is:

  • < 10 viable organisms/m3 that are ≥ to 50 micrometers in minimum dimension
  • < 10 viable organisms between 10 micrometers and 50 micrometers in minimum dimension per ml
  • < 1 colony-forming unit (CFU) per 100 milliliters of Toxicogenic Vibrio Cholerae
  • < 250 CFU per 100 ml of Escherichia coli
  • < 100 CFU per 100 ml of Intestinal Enterococci

[table id=316LVS904L /]

These guidelines have solidified the importance of ballast water management systems (BWMS), making them a vital part of every ship. It is also more important than ever to maintain (and in some cases, upgrade) these systems – mainly because, as Filtersafe Head of Marine Mark Riggio recently said, “[the] global maritime industry [is] shifting its focus to operational compliance.”

The Best Alloy for Ballast Water Management Systems

Seawater filtration systems have a unique challenge to overcome. They must effectively filter debris and microorganisms while also withstanding the high chloride levels in the water, which constantly threaten to corrode the filter and its filtration screen. To achieve this goal, manufacturers often design BWMS with a filter that has a filtration screen made from a durable stainless steel alloy.

For many years, the industry-standard alloy of choice for filter screens has been 316L stainless steel. But due to the rising need for operational compliance, some of its shortcomings in seawater environments are coming to light. This has led some manufacturers to opt for the higher-grade 904L stainless steel when producing filtrations screens for seawater applications. Both these alloys can be applied in seawater filtration, but what are the differences between these two types of steel? And ultimately, as many shipowners are left to wonder, which is the right alloy for their BWMS, and their bottom line?

What is 316L Steel?

316L stainless steel is an austenitic alloy commonly known as “marine grade stainless steel” because it can be used for nearly 90% of marine applications – including filtration. In addition to metals like iron and nickel, 316L contains 16-18% chromium and 2-3% of molybdenum. These elements are important because they increase the alloy’s corrosion resistance; the chromium interacts with oxygen in the seawater to create a protective layer of chromium oxide, and molybdenum improves the metal’s ability to resist pitting corrosion. Additionally, 316L has lower levels of carbon (hence the “L” in its name), which gives it greater protection against corrosion.

What is 904L steel?

While 316L has long been the primary alloy ballast water filtration manufacturers use for their filter screens, it is not the only alloy available on the market. In fact, Filtersafe has been examining the value of 316L for many years now. As global leaders in the seawater filtration industry, our engineers sought to improve filtration standards by improving our materials. Our studies concluded that 316L stainless steel was not durable enough to meet our requirements – and so we opted instead to manufacture filter screens from 904L stainless steel In fact, Filtersafe – the global leader in seawater filtration – has been examining the value of 316L for many years now.

Like 316L, 904L stainless steel is a low-carbon austenitic stainless steel. However, its chemical composition includes greater numbers of chromium (19-23%) and molybdenum (4-5%), which gives the alloy greater corrosion resistance than 316L. Some people are familiar with 904L stainless steel as a metal commonly used to produce Rolex watches, which speaks to its high quality and durability. However, the same benefits that make it a must-use for Rolex also make it hugely beneficial for seawater applications.

316L vs. 904L: Durability

Seawater is highly unpredictable. It can have dramatic variances in temperature, chloride level, and the presence of microorganisms or debris. Therefore, a BWMS filter must be durable enough to withstand these changes.

Both 316L and 904L stainless steel contain chromium, which reacts with oxygen in the air to form a thin, protective layer of chromium oxide on the surface of the alloy. However, it is important to note that 904L contains more chromium than 316L. This means it is likely to provide greater protection over a longer period of time.

types of corrosion that afflict stainless steel in seawater applications

904L vs. 316L: Corrosion Resistance

Perhaps the most important feature of any alloy used in marine applications is its ability to handle constant exposure to corrosive substances. Seawater filters are prone to several different types of corrosion attacks, including from chloride, microbiologically induced corrosion, and crevice corrosion. The filter is particularly susceptible to these three corrosion types during the 1-3 week period between ballasting, when the filter is immersed in stagnant water, which can allow the development of a biofilm inside the filter and on the screen, and lead to corrosion. Therefore, a ship owner needs a filter with as much corrosion resistance as possible.

Shipowners and manufacturers can measure corrosion resistance by looking at an alloy’s PREN value. This formula looks at the amount of chromium (Cr), molybdenum (Mo), and nitrogen (N) in an alloy to determine just how well it will hold up against corrosion. In this case, 904L stainless steel is the clear victor over 316L; with an average PREN value of 36.7, it is much stronger than 316L (which only has a PREN of 26.1). Therefore, 904L is more likely to withstand the corrosive power of seawater.

904 vs. 316: Steel Hardness

To further understand the differences between 904L and 316L stainless steel, we must examine the hardness of both metals. The best way to do this is to look at the Rockwell Scale, which measures the indentation hardness of a material. Metals that score highly on the Rockwell scale are harder, which implies that they will be strong and withstand any bumps or bruises.

Both 904L and 316L stainless steel have a Rockwell hardness value below 95, which is typical for most stainless steel. This means that they will be able to withstand most forces, which is important for BWMS. However, it is far more important that seawater filter screens withstand the internal dangers like chloride and other corrosion attacks. 904L offers greater protection overall, which sets it above 316L.

904 vs. 316: Cost

904L stainless steel and 316L stainless steel are both readily available for purchase. Many industries and companies use 904L stainless steel, and the alloy has some brand recognition as it is famously used by watch manufacturers like Rolex and OMEGA. 316L stainless steel is commonly used for exhaust manifolds, heat exchangers, jet engine parts, and much more. As a result, BWMS manufacturers can introduce either alloy into their supply chains without suffering a delay in supply or a product bottleneck.

But which alloys offer the most “bang for your buck”?

If you look solely at the numbers, 316L may seem like the more attractive choice. Because of its widespread use across so many industries, this metal is both easy to purchase and available for a lower price. 904L tends to cost about 1.3 times more than 316L, which can make some manufacturers balk at the idea of producing all their filter screens from this material.

However, it is important to remember that filter screens made from 904L stainless steel will last longer and require fewer repairs than filters made from less durable materials. The enhanced corrosion resistance capabilities of 904L stainless steel make it less likely to wear down and break from corrosion, and therefore it will require fewer repairs over its lifespan. This is ideal for shipowners who do not want to incur additional costs to keep their ship in compliance with industry environmental and operating standards.

What is the Difference Between 316 and 904L Stainless Steel?

When ship owners are deciding between filters for their BWMS, they must consider a variety of factors before making their choice: cost, availability, value, etc. On the surface, the differences between 316L and 904L stainless steel may seem negligible, but in actuality, they have huge impacts on the long-term value of the filter.

To the Filtersafe team, the choice is clear: 904L stainless steel is the best choice for BWMS filters. 904L stainless steel offers greater durability, which makes it more effective and less costly over time (despite a higher initial cost). This alloy will help boost standards across the seawater filtration industry – and, in turn, improve environmental factors in oceans across the globe.

To learn more, download our white paper on Overcoming Corrosion of Stainless Steel in Seawater Applications for more extensive research on the common alloys used in seawater.

The Top Alloys For Use In Seawater Filtration Applications

a comparison of the top seawater worthy stainless steel alloys

Filtration of seawater is a necessity across a diverse range of industries – such as intake for a desalination plant, ballast filtration for an oil tanker, or to maintain pressure and the production rate. When running a complex operation there are plenty of unexpected expenses to deal with on a regular basis, and the last thing anyone wants is a preventable failure of their filtration equipment. This is especially pertinent when dealing with seawater because it is filled with corrosive elements that can lead to material failure like corrosion or strength degradation. Therefore it’s important to have a quality, durable filtration system.

desalination pipeAs part of the search for the best system, an often underappreciated but critical component to its success is dependent on which alloy the screen filter, the heart of the system, is made of. The filter screen is the physical barrier that prevents particles (organic and inorganic alike) that are larger that its pore size from passing through with the water. Corrosion to the screen can damage its ability to be cleaned, clog its open area and inhibit water flow, or degrade the screen’s structural integrity, letting particles larger than its pore size to get through and compromise the integrity of the system. Various seawater filtration industries struggle with the same decision as to which is the best

Seawater filters have unique and specific requirements: they need to be non-corrosive, as well as effective at removing debris of various sizes, which can harm down-stream processes. This is extra important in industries that rely on very fine filtration (100-5 microns), such as in desalination and ballast water filtration. In these cases, the screens must also be highly effective at removing phytoplankton and zooplankton from the water. Any seawater processing application requires a durable pre-filtration protection system so that time and money isn’t wasted over the years to repair poorly protected systems. With this in mind, let us look at the most common alloys used in seawater filtration and determine which alloy best suits your system.

316L

316L stainless steel, also known as “marine grade stainless steel,” is the second-most common stainless steel used in manufacturing today (after 304 stainless steel). This alloy is made up of iron, chromium (about 16%), nickel (10%) and molybdenum (2%), as well as trace amounts of quantities of silicon, phosphorus, and sulfur. Although it is a popular choice, the latest advice from the International Stainless Steel Forum is that AISI 316 and its derivatives “are no longer recommended for permanent contact with seawater.” We’ll see some of the reasons behind this decision in the Cons section.

Pros

316L stainless steel is a popular choice for seawater filtration. This is in part due to the alloy’s widespread use throughout many industries, making it widely available, as well as the benefits described below.

Some Corrosion-Resistance

Like all of the alloys discussed here, 316L stainless steel contains chromium. This element is an important part of the chemical makeup; it creates a thin film over the alloy when exposed to oxygen, which helps prevent the steel from becoming corroded over time.

The chromium in the alloy does provide a degree of protection that prolongs the steel’s – and by extension, the filtration system’s – lifespan. However, it is important to note that 316L does not provide complete protection from corrosion. While the alloy can offer reasonable protection in the short term, its particularly susceptible to pitting corrosion caused by inconsistent salinity levels in the seawater.

Tolerant to Higher Temperatures

Temperature fluctuations are most acutely felt in the shipping industry, as seawater can vary wildly in temperature between locations, seasons or even times of the day.  316L can tolerate water temperatures up to Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), which means it is able to successfully stand up to most seawater.

Low Cost

One of the biggest benefits of 316L stainless steel is its relatively low cost and wide availability. Manufacturers can purchase 316L scrap relatively inexpensively, which makes it a highly accessible material for filtration system engineering.

Cons

Despite 316L’s popularity, there are some industry experts who believe that this stainless-steel alloy is inappropriate for use specifically in ballast water treatment systems. These professionals cite issues with the welding process as a major drawback – and the consequences of these issues certainly warrant a second look in other seawater applications as well.

High Ferrite Content

One of the biggest drawbacks in using 316L stainless steel for seawater filtration can occur during the welding process. 316L must be welded under very strict conditions, or else it might develop a high ferrite content in the weld seam.  Ferrite can diminish an alloy’s ability to resist corrosion. Even a small amount (around 2%) of ferrite content in a weld seam can result in a less effective finished product.

Since 316L stainless steel is prone to developing excess ferrite during production, it can make some filtration experts leery of using this alloy in their systems. In fact, some argue that the potential for high ferrite content in 316L stainless steel can lead to greater incidence of pitting corrosion or crevice corrosion. This kind of damage can require significant repair or even a completely new filtration system – effectively counteracting the reduced costs of using the 316L alloy.

Duplex 2205

Duplex 2205 is a stainless steel characterized by its strength. With a makeup of 22% chromium, 3% molybdenum, and about 5% nickel, it is about on par with 904L in terms of corrosion resistance. However, duplex 2205 is (as the name suggests) a duplex stainless steel; this means that it contains both austenite and ferrite phases in its metallurgical structure, giving the alloy a greater overall durability.

Pros

Duplex 2205 is the most popular of the duplex stainless steels, and it is often used in pipework systems for offshore oil and gas. This alloy’s strength and chemical composition, as well as its durability against
seawater in offshore uses, makes it a logical choice on paper.

seawater filtration for oil and gas applications

Good Corrosion Resistance

Duplex 2205 has a PREN average of 35.9 – just shy of 904L stainless steels average of 36.7. This indicates that this alloy would be able to fair just as well as 904L when dealing with pitting corrosion, crevice corrosion, or any other type of destructive wear and tear within the filtration system. Theoretically, duplex 2205 would be a reasonable alloy for a seawater filter.

Cons

While duplex 2205 has had plenty of success within the oil and gas industry when used as a solid structure such as piping, it’s not used often in complex manufacturing procedures such as a weaved screen mesh used in seawater filtration. This is likely due to two main issues: There are challenges when working with it and its lower temperature threshold for corrosion.

Hard to Work With

One of Duplex 2205’s assets, it’s strength, is actually a double-edged sword. Since the alloy is so strong, it makes it difficult to work with, and requires special heavy machinery that is not commonplace. In addition, it makes it very challenging to mold the steel into the very tiny and delicate structures, such as ballast water filters or desalination filters that require filtration down to 10 microns.

Corrodes Faster than 904L

While Duplex 2205 has better corrosion resistance than 316L, it still corrodes at a lower temperature than 904L (50C vs 55C for 904L).

904L

Another popular alloy used in seawater filtration is 904L stainless steel. This alloy contains many of the same elements as 316L steel, but it is comprised of higher levels of chromium (about 19%), nickel (23%), and molybdenum (4%).

904L stainless steel is most famously used in luxury watches (Rolex, for example, swears by this alloy), but it is also a popular metal for seawater filtration. This is because the high amounts of nickel in this alloy
makes it particularly corrosion resistant, protecting your seawater filter from damage.

Pros

Choosing the right alloy is essential for a durable and effective seawater filtration system. When alloys have similar compositions, like 316L and 904L, the decision may seem insignificant; however, 904L stainless steel has some major benefits that can make a big difference for a seawater filter.

Highly Corrosion-Resistant

As we mentioned above, 904L is highly resistant to corrosion due to the high levels of nickel in its composition. This means that seawater filtration systems made with 904L tend to have a longer lifespan than their competitors.

In fact, 904L stainless steel has an average pitting resistance equivalent number (PREN) of 36.7 – more than 10 points higher than 316L’s PREN average (26.1). This is an important parameter to consider when
designing seawater filters, as it will help determine how effective the filter’s corrosion resistance and durability will be over its life.

Widespread Availability

Another benefit 904L has to its credit is its availability in the market. This alloy is readily available from most suppliers, which means that engineers and manufacturers can procure the metal and produce filtration systems much more easily than they might with other metals.

Cons

While 904L stainless steel offers both practical and logistical benefits, it is not a perfect alloy. Some engineers or manufacturers may opt for another metal due to the one major flaw that accompanies using this metal: the cost to use it.

Higher Cost

The costs of most alloys vary based on the amount of chromium and molybdenum in the metal. As we’ve mentioned previously, 904L stainless steel has higher levels of both these elements compared to 316L – which means that it tends to be about 1.3 times more expensive.

This price difference might drive some budget-conscious manufacturers to a lower-quality alloy. However, it is important to mention that the greater strength and durability of 904L stainless steel means that filters made from this alloy are less likely to need repairs during their lifespan. The cost savings you will earn from this lack of repairs more than offsets the cost of the alloy itself.

254 SMO

Like the two alloys we’ve already mentioned, 254 SMO is an austenitic stainless steel. However, this alloy was originally developed for use in chloride-heavy environments – such as seawater cooling pipes, heat exchangers, pulp and paper plants and more. The metal contains a similar amount of chromium as 904L, but it has a greater amount of molybdenum (6% vs. 4% in 904L).

With this composition in mind (not to mention the alloy’s intended use), it is no surprise that 254 SMO is an alloy that generates lots of interest among seawater filtration engineers. There are unquestionable benefits that come with using this alloy – but there are also a few drawbacks that can complicate its use.

Pros

The greatest benefit of using 254 SMO for seawater filtration is its corrosion resistance. The chemical composition of this alloy makes it highly resistant to both microbiologically induced corrosion and chemical corrosion – making it incredibly durable against seawater even after prolonged exposure.

Excellent Corrosion Resistance

254 SMO has a PREN average of 43.8, which means it has the greatest protection against corrosion of all the alloys studied here. It also has a low carbon content (around .02%), which means that there is little risk of ferrite development during production. These two facts mean that 254 SMO is one of the best alloys for protecting your seawater filtration system from the corrosive effects of seawater.

Cons

The excellent protective qualities of 254 SMO might make it seem like the gold standard in seawater filtration materials. However, at least in their ballast water treatment systems, few developers use it – why? 254 SMO is often passed over due to two flaws in its practicality.

High Cost

As we mentioned earlier, alloy costs vary depending on the amount of chromium and molybdenum in the steel. 254 SMO contains higher levels of these elements than both 316L and 904L stainless steel – which means that it tends to cost much more than its competitor alloys.

254 SMO can cost as much as three times more than 316L, and many manufacturers are unwilling to spend more to produce their filtration systems. This cost is above the threshold deemed “acceptable” by most industry professionals (unlike 904L stainless steel, which has a slightly higher cost but offsets the cost of maintenance).

Limited Availability

One of the hinderances that limits 254 SMO from being suggested for more seawater filters is that this alloy is not produced regularly due to its higher costs.

Which Alloy is Best?

radar diagrams for common stainless steel alloys

Due to the nature of seawater filtration and its association with heavy industry, engineers of all applications endeavor to build filtration systems standing up to the ravages of seawater — all without costing you too much money. At the same time, the cost of using a lower-quality alloy will corrode more easily and lead to expensive problems – specifically more frequent maintenance and reduced filtration capabilities as corrosion overtakes the screen. These outcomes will, in the long run, increase operating costs, as equipment owners will have to pay for more frequent servicing, and where applicable such as in regulated industries like ballast water management systems (BWMS), potential fines for non-compliance of malfunctioning systems.

The solution? Invest in a filtration system that’s made from a durable, yet cost-efficient material. And when it comes to choosing the best alloys for seawater filtration without consideration of cost – SMO 254 is definitely the favored alloy. When dealing with a high end application where even the smallest downtime can be very costly such as in the oil & gas or desalination sector, the initial investment in using a Filter with an SMO 254 screen pays off in the long run. However, when a cost-effective solution is required, there is one option that stands head and shoulders above the competition: 904L stainless steel.

904L stainless steel is the ideal marriage of strength, corrosion resistance, and accessibility – all at a reasonable cost to manufacturers. Seawater filters made from this alloy will stand up to corrosion and keep your filtration system running effectively for many years, saving you thousands in fees and maintenance costs.

For a deeper investigation into the alloys discussed above for use in seawater applications please download our peer-reviewed white paper on the topic – Overcoming Corrosion of Stainless Steel Screens in Seawater Applications.