JULY 21, 2015—Espoo, Finland-headquartered Evac will supply its total waste management system to the world's largest civilian hospital ship, the Atlantic Mercy. The new 37,000 gt flagship of the Mercy Ships fleet is now being built by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) at its Tianjin Xingang Shipyard. Once delivered in 2017, the ship will provide medical care in the poorest parts of Africa.
Konstantin Tchetchine, Evac's Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales for Asia, says the total waste management system will include 393 vacuum toilets, two vacuum units (type Evac OnlineMax 175), two sewage treatment plants (type Evac MBR 135K), one incinerator, a sludge handling system, a food waste vacuum collecting system, a converter for medical waste, and a thermal sterilizer for wastewater generated by the ship's hospital area.
"All these technologies serve to reduce waste, maximize hygiene, and free up space on the ship for use in accomplishing its primary mission," says Mr. Tchetchine. "Vacuum toilets require only 1.2 liters of water per flush—six to seven times less than gravity toilets. That means water savings of 52 cubic meters per day for this ship which can carry 950 persons."
Making water savings is especially significant in Africa.
"When we flush a toilet we are wasting pure, drinkable water," says Mr. Tchetchine. "And in Africa, pure water is a very precious commodity."
Since vacuum technology is not beholden to gravity, pipes can transport material in any direction, giving naval architects great flexibility in design.
Collected wastewater will be treated by two Evac MBR (Membrane Bioreactor) biological sewage treatment plants. After biological treatment, clean water is separated from biomass by membrane filtration.
Membranes work as mechanical barriers to any impurities and stop almost all bacteria and viruses. Thanks to Evac's membrane technology, additional disinfection and dechlorination is not needed, creating additional savings.
By avoiding continuous chemical consumption, running costs are reduced, allowing the operator more resources to devote to its main mission.
Test results prove the quality of treated water after Evac MBR significantly exceeds minimum requirements defined by IMO MARPOL MEPC.227(64). Due to the high quality of treated water, vessels equipped with Evac MBR can be operated in many Environmentally Sensitive Sea Areas (ESSAs) where special discharge restrictions apply.
The total waste management package's incinerator and equipment for dry waste handling will mean frequency of trips to shore for waste disposal can be decreased, and environmental impact of waste disposal reduced. Evac's dry waste system also reduces volume of dry waste. All of this means that the ship does not require a large storage room for waste, freeing up space for medical equipment.
The package's food waste vacuum collecting system is particularly beneficial in climates like Africa where temperatures can reach 45 degrees Celsius. The Evac system requires a holding tank four times smaller than conventional systems.
The Evac food waste system also saves 3.3 cubic meters of water per day and virtually eliminates issues usually connected with food disposal such as quick fermentation, smell, and contamination.
The Evac system also features a converter for medical waste, where waste is ground at high temperatures to disinfect it.
A thermal sterilizer for hospital waste water rounds out the package to further reduce contamination risks from the hospital areas of the ship.
"Evac is the market leader in cleantech solutions for waste management," says Mr. Tchetchine. "We're very pleased Mercy Ships has chosen our products to help fulfill their mission in Africa."
Evac acquired Deerberg-Systems GmbH in February 2015. Deerberg, based in Oldenburg, Germany, a market leader in marine environmental protection systems for the treatment of dry and wet waste aboard ships. The acquisition has made Evac an even stronger partner for clients such as Mercy Ships.