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The concept

The concept of a freshwater generator is simple; sea water is evaporated using a heat source,
separating pure water from salt, sediment and other elements. Freshwater generators often use
the diesel engine jacket as a heat source, although steam can also be used as a heat source.
Because freshwater generators often use existing heat to run, the cost of operation is low.

There are two main elements in a freshwater generator, one heat exchanger evaporates the sea
water, and another condenses the fresh water vapor into drinking water. In the condenser
element, the vapor is condensed through cooling, often simply using cold seawater to cool the
outside of the unit.

The freshwater generator should include a feature to monitor the salinity of the processed
water. If the salinity exceeds a specified level, usually between one and ten parts per million
(ppm), the freshwater generator will automatically return the water to the feed line and put it
through the cycle again.

Performance ratio of FWG:

FW produced

amount of SW fed in

SW contains following salts:

Sodium chloride 80%

Magnesium chloride 10%

Magnesium sulphate 6%

Calcium sulphate 4%

Three types of scales are found in FWG:

Calcium carbonate (soft scale)

Magnesium hydroxide (hard scale)

Calcium sulphate (hard scale)

The first two scales are temperature dependent and the third, on the density.

When the evaporator temperature is below 80C, calcium carbonate scale predominates and if
the temperature is above 80C, then magnesium hydroxide scale predominates. The soft scale
can be removed by wire brush or by chemical cleaning, but the hard scale is very difficult to
Methods of controlling scale formation
Use of low pressure evaporator by operating at temperatures below 80C.

Use of magnetic treatment

Use of flexing elements

Use of continuous chemical treatment

Chemical treatment
Organic poly electrolyte with anti foam

Dosage 1 to 8 ppm of evaporator feed should be fed continuously used for drinking water

Poly phosphate compounds with anti foam.

Dosage 2 to 4 ppm of feed rate temperature should not exceed 100C as it forms a thick sludge.

Ferric chloride

This is a stable, non-explosive and hygroscopic. Fed through plastic pipes in a metered quantity
throughout the operation. It forms acid and prevents the formation of both calcium carbonate and
magnesium hydroxide scales.

The Cooling System

Most cooling systems are made as central cooling systems, which means that there is only one
or two bigger plate heat exchangers equipped with titanium plates.

Titanium is the only material that can withstand the aggressive seawater without corrosion
damages on the plates in the heat exchanger. This means that the central cooler can operate
without problems using seawater as the cooling media for the internal freshwater cooling

The advantage of a central cooler is that the use of the corrosive seawater is limited to one or
two plate heat exchangers, and thereby the use of exotic material for the plate heat exchanger
and the seawater pipeline is limited to a minimum, which will reduce the corrosion damage in
the cooling system.

The rest of the plate heat exchangers is normally equipped with stainless steel plates there is no
corrosion risk as the heat exchangers work with freshwater.

Water treatment
Fresh water - supplied from shore or barge will normally contain a very low concentration of
free chlorine or no free chlorine content at all. Therefore fresh water taken from shore or barge
should, if necessary, be chlorinated on loading to ensure a residual free chlorine content of 0.2
parts per million (ppm)

Hoses - used for fresh water should be exclusively for that purpose and marked accordingly.
They should be flushed through before use and capped at both ends when not in use.
Disinfection of hoses should be carried out at least every 6 months and additionally whenever
contamination is suspected. The hoses should be thoroughly flushed through and completely
filled with a 50ppm chlorine solution (super-chlorinated) and left to stand for a period of 1 hour
before being emptied, capped and restored.

FW storage tanks
Fresh water storage tanks - should be emptied, opened, ventilated, inspected and hosed out at
6 month intervals and should be thoroughly cleaned at intervals not exceeding 12 months. The
cleaning process should include disinfection (super chlorination) with a 50 ppm chlorine
solution. Storage tanks when refilled with clean fresh water from shore or barge should be
chlorinated to 0.2 ppm

Fresh water - produced by low pressure evaporator or reverse osmosis plant should only be
produced when the vessel is at least 20 miles from land and/or clear of any risk from estuarial
pollution. Corrosion and scale inhibitors which are added to treat main or auxiliary engine jacket
water used for heating low pressure flash evaporators should be approved for such applications.
(Non-chromate inhibitors)

Fresh water treatment systems

Fresh water treatment is available using the following systems, some of which are accepted as
the sole means of sterilization, whereas others require a combination of systems to be effective.

Automatic chlorine dosing units - are accepted as a sole means of disinfection. They should be
fitted between the fresh water production unit and the fresh water storage tanks to ensure the
water produced is sterilized prior to storage and help ensure residual chlorine levels in the

Silver ion treatment

Silver Ion (electro-silver ionization) systems for the automatic disinfecting of fresh water
produced on board are accepted as a sole means of disinfecting fresh water storage tanks and
distribution systems. Provided that:
(i) The Silver Ion unit is fitted in the fresh water system between the freshwater production unit and
the freshwater storage tanks.

(ii) A minimum of 0.1 ppm silver concentration is added to the water at maximum flow conditions.

(iii) The fresh water storage and distribution system should be designed such that the silver contact
time with the water is a minimum of four hours before use. This will ensure a maximum silver
concentration in the system of 0.08 ppm.

(iv) When water is produced for domestic purposes the water must pass through the Silver Ion unit,
and the unit must not be capable of being bypassed.

(v) Concentration levels are checked annually by a competent laboratory.

Ultraviolet sterilization
Cannot be accepted as a sole means of sterilization.

Its draw back lies in the fact that the ultraviolet radiation will only sterilize fresh water which
passes through the unit and leaves no residual sterilizing effect within the distribution and
delivery system.

These systems will continue to be accepted, but only as a supplementary system in both new
and existing ships. Ships which currently rely solely on an ultraviolet unit are additionally
required to carry out chlorination or Silver ionization of freshwater tanks. Chlorination levels
should be maintained at 0.2ppm and Silver concentration between 0.05ppm and 0.1 ppm.

Where a combination of ultraviolet and chlorination systems has been adopted, records of
testing of fresh water should be maintained on board.

Regular testing should not exceed 1 month or whenever fresh water is loaded form shore or

Reverse Osmosis RO Systems

Reverse osmosis is a membrane separation process in which feed water flows along the
membrane surface under pressure.

Purified water permeates the membrane and is collected, while the concentrated water,
containing dissolved and undissolved material that does not flow through the membrane, is
discharged to the drain.

Delivery systems
should be independent from all other systems on board where possible. Fresh water pumps
should be dedicated to domestic fresh water services only and not be capable of being
connected to any other services.

Calorifiers and hydrophores should be emptied and cleaned periodically.

Bath/washroom fittings such as shower heads and their flexible pipes where fitted should be
thoroughly disinfected (super-chlorinated) in a 50 ppm chlorine solution once every 3 months.

Reverse osmosis system

The key requirements of Reverse Osmosis process are a membrane and water under a pressure.
Other requirements include prefiltration to remove suspended impurities and carbon to remove
chlorine (damages the membrane).

Reverse osmosis systems remove salts, microorganisms and many high molecular weight
organics. System capacity depends on the water temperature, total dissolved solids in feed
water, operating pressure and the overall recovery of the system.

Advantages of Reverse Osmosis Over Conventional Processes

Compared with other conventional water treatment processes, reverse osmosis has proven to
be the most efficient means of removing salts, chemical contaminants and heavy metals, such as
lead, from drinking water. For waters with total dissolved solids of 200 or more, reverse osmosis
is less expensive than ion exchange. Even at total dissolved solids of less than 200, it is preferred
over ion exchange for removal of silica and organics. Compared with distillation, reverse osmosis
use only a fraction of the total energy and does not have high temperature problems or scaling
and corrosion.

Today reverse osmosis systems have proven to be the most economical and efficient means of
improving the quality of water.

Pre-treatment is important when working with RO and Nano filtration (NF) membranes due to
the nature of their spiral wound design. The material is engineered in such a fashion to allow
only one way flow through the system. As such the spiral wound design doesn't allow for back
pulsing with water or air agitation to scour its surface and remove solids. Since accumulated
material cannot be removed from the membrane surface systems they are highly susceptible to
fouling (loss of production capacity). Therefore, pretreatment is a necessity for any RO or NF
system. Pretreatment has four major components:

General a booster pump is used to provide an inlet pressure of 2-6 bar. The filter system
protects the membranes from suspended particles in the feed water. The application of a scale
inhibitor extends the membrane lifetime to maximum. After the pre-treatment, the high
pressure pump feeds the Reverse Osmosis modules . Permeate, i.e. desalinated water, passes
the membranes, while the remaining seawater takes up the rejected salts and leaves the
modules as concentrate back to the sea. The post treatment, i.e. chlorination and mineralization
, makes it potable and non-corrosive.

The reverse osmosis membranes remove salts and minerals, and also all kind of impurities
hazardous to human health, such as viruses, bacteria, legionella it is a safe method to produce
a perfect fresh water.

RO plant pre treatment

SW passed through a solution of sodium hexa meta phosphate (5 mg / ltr) top assist the wash
through of salt deposit on the surface of the elements.

SW is sterilized by chlorine or silver ion to remove bacteria which would otherwise become
resident in the filter.

Chlorine content has to be reduced by passing through compressed carbon filter

Solids are removed by sand filters

When cellulose acetate type membrane is used, pH adjustment of feed water is to be done.
Then the produced water has to be treated with soda ash for pH readjustment.

Degassing if required has to be done.

Screening of solids

Solids within the water must be removed and the water treated to prevent fouling of the
membranes by fine particle or biological growth, and reduce the risk of damage to high-pressure
pump components.

Screening of biological

Prefiltration pH adjustment

If the pH of upstream salinwater is above 5.8 in the acidic-alkaline measurement scale, sulfuric
acid or other acidic solution is used to adjust the pH of water at 5.5 to 5.8.

Cartridge filtration

Treatment with sodium hexa meta phosphate

Freshwater obtained from shore mains supply

This should be transferred by a hose exclusively used for that purpose. Hoses where carried on
board ships should be suitably marked and should be stowed in a position clear of the deck
where they are not subject to contamination and should always be capped at both ends after
being drained off following their use. Fresh water hoses should be flushed through before each
watering commences and discharged to waste.

Routine treatment of freshwater

Routine treatment of freshwaterShore mains water normally contains only a very low
concentration of free chlorine and the ship environment decreases this further. In foreign
countries there may be no free chlorine content at all.

All freshwater taken from shore or water barge should therefore be chlorinated on loading to a
sufficient concentration to ensure a residual free chlorine content of 0.2 ppm.

Freshwater tank structure when new should be thoroughly wire brushed, scrubbed and primed
before coating with cement wash or a proprietary coating system and should be thoroughly
aired before filling. When coating systems other than cement wash are used such as modern
epoxy finishes specially developed for freshwater tanks it is essential that the coatings are
applied and allowed to cure strictly in accordance with the manufacturers instructions
otherwise the water can subsequently become unfit for use.

Water treatment, filters, mineralizers, softeners, etc.

All sea water drawn by an evaporator or reverse osmosis plant should be passed through
suitable sand filters before being introduced to the water making apparatus and all water
produced by such plants in new ships must be disinfected by an auto chlorination unit or
equivalent before it is pumped to the storage tanks. An auto-chlorinator for this purpose may if
desired, and if of sufficient capacity, have a connection to provide the same facility for the deck
filling line. If it considered necessary to neutralize the pH value of the product water or to make
the water more palatable it is preferable that such a neutralizer or mineralizer be inserted
between the water-maker and the auto-chlorinator and therefore before the water is passed
into the storage tank.

Drops of sea water entrained are removed and fall due to gravity into the brine space of stage
one and as feed water for stage 2.

Vapours flow through pipe (15) to the evaporator of stage 2 where it is utilized as heating
medium to evaporate the feed water (surplus) from stage 1.

Freshwater storage tanksIt is recommended that these should be opened up, emptied,
ventilated and inspected at intervals not exceeding 12 months and thoroughly cleaned, recoated
as necessary, aired, and refilled with clean freshwater chlorinated to a concentrated of 0.2 ppm.
The cleaning process should include disinfection with a solution of 50 ppm chlorine. In addition
tanks should be thoroughly pumped out and, where necessary, hosed prior to refilling at
approximately 6 month intervals.

Maintenance continued
It is further recommended that tanks should be super-chlorinated at a concentration of 50 ppm
for a period of not less than 4 hours and then completely flushed out and refilled at 0.2 ppm
concentration at every refit or dry docking period.

Persons inspecting or working in freshwater tanks should wear clean clothing and footwear
which has not been used for any other work area, and should not be suffering from any skin
infection or communicable disorder.