Ballast Water Treatment Supplier Adapts its Tech to Fight COVID-19

Coronavirus illustration courtesy CDC

Published Apr 21, 2020 1:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

Around the world, manufacturers of all stripes are looking for ways to put their capabilities to use for the fight against COVID-19. Among other examples, carmaker GM is building ventilators, industrial conglomerate ZF Group is making facemasks, and countless liquor distillers have switched to making alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This broad-based effort extends to maritime sector suppliers, like BIO-UV Group, the maker of the BIO-SEA ballast water treatment system. 

The ultra-violet light technology that the BIO-SEA system uses to kill marine invasive species can be adapted to disinfect surfaces, according to BIO-UV, helping health workers and first responders avoid picking up the coronavirus. A prototype scanner based around BIO-UV Group’s existing UV-C reactor technology is now being tested in an independent laboratory, and the company's new surface disinfection system could be ready for market introduction by the end of May.

“We mobilized our R&D team to develop a system of disinfection for surfaces intended, as a priority, for all nursing staff. However, the technology has potential application in other sectors," said BIO-UV Group’s founder and CEO Benoít Gillmann. “Since 6 April, progress has been made in the completion of a prototype, the performance of which is currently being tested in compliance with the strictest of international standards . . . Once this testing has been finalized, a second laboratory will work over the next few weeks on testing the efficacy of the system in eliminating Covid-19.” 

The small handheld device emits a ray of UV-C light which is passed over the surface, and it takes just seconds to disinfect the scanned area. The scanner can be used to kill the coronavirus from hospital beds, tables, computer keyboards, furniture and all other surfaces.

“The objective of this development is to ensure people are working in safe, clean environments and to reassure those coming out of confinement," Gillman said. “At a later stage, the system will be marketed to other industrial sectors, including the maritime sector to help safeguard our seafarers from being infected."

In parallel, BIO-UV Group subsidiary TRIOGEN is working on the development of a disinfection system for wet surfaces using ozone.