BallastFlow: Real-time monitoring of ballast water with flow cytometry

The global dispersal of invasive aquatic species via ships’ ballast water represents  a major threat to the biodiversity and ecosystem integrity in the world’s oceans, causing severe ecological and economic damage, and compromising public Health.

In view of the IMO Convention on Ballast Water Management and prospective implementation of national and international regulations, Knutsen OAS Shipping,  one of the leading off-shore shipping companies in Norway, developed a system for the cost-effective, environmentally friendly and user-optimized cleaning of ballast water: the Knutsen Ballast Water Treatment System (KBAL®). Performance control of KBAL® and other ballast water treatment systems is, however, still greatly limited by the lack of time-effective methods for the detection and monitoring of ballast water-contained organisms.

As user-driven innovation project, BallastFlow therefore aims at developing a standardized method for the real-time monitoring of ballast water based on Flow Cytometry. By bringing together engineers and scientists from four official partner institutions (Knutsen OAS Shipping, HSH, Uni Research, NIVA) and two affiliates (UiB, CORPI), this project is dedicated to the following objectives:   

Development of a standardized real-time analysis method for ballast water which meets the requirements of the IMO Convention  Use of Flow Cytometry methodology to optimize the KBAL treatment system  Establishment of Flow Cytometry technology within Norway’s ballast water research community ● Initiation of a communication network between research community, public authorities, and industry.

BallastFlow is funded by Knutsen OAS Shipping and the Norwegian Research Council (Innovation Program for Marine Activities and Offshore Operations, MAROFF), with support from VRI RogalandUH-nett Vest, TeknoVest and Solstad Offshore.

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