Marine Engineering

Designing a ballast-free ship

Michael Parsons, University of Michigan

Full title: Ballast Water Treatment and Management: A Paradigm Shift in Ballasting: The Possibility of a Ballast-Free Ship

Most aquatic invasive species arrive from foreign ports, harbored in the ballast tanks of ocean-going vessels. To limit the spread of invasive species, marine engineer Michael Parsons developed a new ship design that would eliminate the need to transport ballast water. The ballast-free ship concept replaces ballast tanks with a series of slow-flow ballast tubes, or trunks. When a ship carries no cargo, the structural tubes are opened to the sea, and flooding lowers the ship to its required draft. The constant flow ensures that the ballast trunks are always filled with local water. Results of the research have international implications and could lead to a new ship design that provides improved environmental protection and long-term economic savings. A U.S. patent has been granted for the Ballast-Free Ship System.

Project: R/NIS-8

Improving ballast tank design

Michael Parsons, University of Michigan

Full title: Computational Fluid Dynamics Study of Ballast Exchange Effectiveness and Improved Ballast Tank Designs

In this project, Parsons demonstrated that certain areas of ballast tanks experience a low flow of new ballast water during the high-seas ballast exchange process, limiting effectiveness in flushing biological life. Results show that removal of old ballast water can be improved by key structural modifications, among them proper placement of the tank filling connections and vents.

Project: R/NIS-9

Ship-induced wave effects in rivers and estuaries

Okey Nwogu, University of Michigan

Project: R/NIS-10

Reduction of slow large amplitude motions of towed/moored/anchored systems

Michael Bernitsas, University of Michigan

Project: R/T-40

Ballast water treatment and management: Critical fluid systems design issues associated with automatic ballast water filtration

Michael Parsons, University of Michigan

Project: R/NIS-6

Modeling of noise from the propulsion system of a fishing boat/ship and development of noise reduction techniques

Nickolas Vlahopoulos, University of Michigan

Project: R/T-39

Proposed study of Grand Marais Harbor: A natural harbor of refuge at Grand Marais, Michigan

Guy Meadows, University of Michigan

Researchers undertook a study of Grand Marais Harbor in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to gauge the extent of shoaling and erosion in the federally designated harbor of refuge that once accommodated commercial vessels. The study provided local officials and residents with estimates of the scope and extent of effort required to restore the Lake Superior harbor to a functional, stable, and environmentally balanced state. Recommendations based on the research included recommended structural alterations, long-term predictions of shoreline change, impact of significant storm events on the harbor, and estimated long-term maintenance costs.

Project: R/GM-1