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Ballast Water Solutions: When Innovation Breeds Innovation

Ballast Water Solutions: When Innovation Breeds Innovation

Ballast water has long been a cause for concern for maritime professionals across the globe. Specifically, ballast water (BW) refers to seawater held in the ballast tanks and cargo holds of ships, used to provide stability and manoeuvrability during a voyage when a ship is not carrying cargo. Ballast water is usually released at the port, and this release can introduce non-native organisms into the sea – including bacteria, microbes and other sediments – which can negatively impact the coastal marine environment. IMO BW regulations state that all ships must manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, or else risk being fined.

Untreated ballast water poses a significant economic threat to the shipping industry and at the same time can cause extensive ecological damage to local aquatic ecosystems. In an effort to combat this issue and offer solutions that are environmentally friendly as well as effective and efficient, two Cypriot companies, Ag Catalytic Solutions and EMBIO Diagnostics, – both Kinisis Ventures portfolio companies – joined forces to introduce ‘Rapid BW Testing’ using the devise B.EL.D (BioElectric Diagnostics). This is a novel, portable and rapid tool that gives an indication of the level of viable organisms within the BW volume. It’s a user-friendly test that can be easily handled by any seafarer and delivers results instantly in digital form, thus allowing ships to proactively monitor their BW quality and avoid high penalties when arriving at a port.

Of course, innovation doesn’t stop there: Ag Catalytic Solutions has taken the Rapid BW Testing Device a step further, with the aim of developing an eco-friendly technology for the treatment of ballast water and other polluted volumes of water. BW treatment systems are currently lacking, as they are costly and make use of harmful chemicals such as chlorine which can damage the marine environment. The solution in development by Ag Catalytic Solutions is eco-friendly, based on the catalytic treatment of water using silver-supported catalysts and its efficiency can be monitored in real time through the Rapid BW Testing device.

The shipping industry has a dire need of alternatives to solve the challenge of ballast water testing and treatment. The high cost of fines due to polluted ballast water have taken a toll on the industry and a solution that is both eco-friendly and affordable could be a gamechanger. Rapid testing using the innovative B.EL.D device can give an indication of the bacterial load in a ship’s ballast tank, in accordance with IMO Guidelines (D-2 standard of IMO BWM 2004 Convention). Combined with the ground-breaking treatment method, this can drastically reduce a ship’s expenses, while at the same time protect the biodiversity of seawater on a global scale.


Placing Cyprus on the Innovation Map

By working together to address the pressing issue of ballast water, EMBIO Diagnostics and Ag Catalytic Solutions, one scale up and one startup with big ambitions, have brought to life a critical innovation of worldwide scientific significance. This is a project set to have significant impact on both the operation of ships globally and on worldwide marine environments. Ship owners will be able to save time and money by testing and treating their ballast water, while any invasive species in the ballast water tank will be effectively eliminated and never pose a threat to new aquatic environments.


Who is EMBIO Diagnostics

A biotechnology company licensed and operating in Cyprus, EMBIO Diagnostics designs and develops full custom-based hardware and software solutions that can address rapid detection requirements in food safety, environmental testing, and health on a global scale. EMBIO’s activities have led to internationally utilized diagnostic and disease monitoring devices, as well as food safety detection, with outstanding reliability, speed and cost efficiency. EMBIO Diagnostics is responsible for the creation of the B.EL.D, which quickly and reliably tests for pesticides, bacterial and other harmful chemicals in water. Everything with one goal: ”Detect Everywhere”.


Who is Ag Catalytic Solutions

 An early start-up company, Ag Catalytic Solutions specializes in the design   and development of innovative solutions for ballast water treatment. The company has completed considerable research in the field of BW treatment and the shipping industry in general, with the aim to develop eco-friendly solutions for the treatment of ballast water and other polluted volumes of water. Their main target is to help the shipping industry drastically reduce their expenses for ballast water treatment, while at the same time protect the biodiversity of seawater on a global level, in accordance with the company’s motto: ‘Clean technology, Clean Solutions.” 


For more information contact:

[email protected]

+357 22515175























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