Total Waste Management: Evac wins contract to supply to the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, the Atlantic Mercy

The global cleantech company Evac has been chosen to supply its total waste management system to the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, the Atlantic Mercy.

Owned and operated by the non-profit Mercy Ships, the ship will provide medical care in the poorest parts of Africa. The vessel is now being constructed by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation at the Tianjin Xingang Shipyard.

The contract to supply the vessel was signed in May 2015 for delivery in 2016.

Konstantin Tchetchine, Evac’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales for Asia, says the total waste management system will include 393 vacuum toilets, two vacuum units (type Evac OnlineMax 175), two sewage treatment plants (type Evac MBR 135K), one incinerator, a sludge handling system, a food waste vacuum collecting system, a converter for medical waste, and a thermal sterilizer for wastewater generated by the ship's hospital area.

'Vacuum toilets require only 1.2 litres of water per flush – six to seven times less than gravity toilets' − Konstantin Tchetchine

'Vacuum toilets require only 1.2 litres of water per flush six to seven times less than gravity toilets. That means water savings of 52 cubic meters per day for this ship which can carry 950 persons,' says Tchetchine. Water saving is especially significant in Africa.

Since vacuum technology is not beholden to gravity, pipes may move in any direction, giving ships’ architects great flexibility in design.

Collected wastewater will be treated by two Evac MBR (Membrane Bioreactor) biological sewage treatment plants. After biological treatment, clean water is separated from biomass by membrane filtration. Membranes work as mechanical barriers to any impurities and stop almost all bacteria and viruses. Due to Evac’s membrane technology, additional disinfection and dechlorination is not needed, creating additional savings.

By avoiding continuous chemical consumption, running costs are reduced, allowing the operator more resources to devote to its main mission.

Test results prove the quality of treated water after Evac MBR significantly exceeds minimum requirements defined by IMO MARPOL MEPC.227(64). Due to the high quality of treated water, vessels equipped with EVAC MBR may be operated even in many Environmentally Sensitive Sea Areas (ESSAs) and Special Areas (SAs) defined nationally or internationally, where special discharge restrictions apply.

The total waste management package’s incinerator and equipment for dry waste handling will mean frequency of trips to shore for waste disposal may be decreased, and environmental impact of waste disposal reduced. Evac’s dry waste system also reduces volume of dry waste. Thanks to this technology, a large storage room for waste is not needed on board. This space may then be devoted to medical equipment.

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