What is a car-wash for ships?

It is the very same concept of a car-washer that everyone is familiar with, turned upside down and put into the water to clean the hull of every type of vessel. The analogy goes even further; it has fast rotating brushes, although hi-tech special ones, and powerful water jets to soften the more leathery barnacles’ shells, yes, the hull of a ship can be far dirtier than the typical car body. It slides from the bow to the stern of the vessel, cleaning in a fast and reliable way, without leaving a scratch. We have designed different models, from the one that is engaged on the side of the quay and that can virtually clean a vessel during the loading and unloading operations, to the one that stands on a mobile platform. Like a real a ship, it floats partially submerged, it has its propulsion system, and it can move and reach for a vessel to clean. It is a giant machine because the cargo and container vessels are giant machines as well! Everything has to be scaled up, from the brushes that have a diameter of four meters to the cleaning unit that dwarfs any typical car wash, that’s why we call it the WhaleWasher!

Why is it innovative?

Like car wash did in the past for cars, WhaleWashing brings automation in the hull cleaning for vessels. Today the ships are cleaned in the dry-docks, a slow, manual and expensive operation in which ships are pulled out of the water and cleaned patiently. The downtimes are considerable, and usually, the shipowners do it every five years during the due ship maintenance. The alternatives are the less efficient in-water procedures, divers and robots. Although less expensive than a dry-dock, these solutions are not optimal and require considerable downtimes as well. WhaleWashing technology automates the cleaning, ensuring high quality and high speed, reducing downtimes and costs. The cleaning unit moves along the boat length while an array of sensors scan the hull and control directly the depth and speed of cleaning.

Why is it environmental friendly?

WhaleWashing technology has been designed not only with top of the notch hi-tech solutions to clean the hulls efficiently and in an energy-saving way but with the environment as a priority as well. Two double barriers seal on both ends the cleaning unit chamber, and powerful pumps work full time to recycle and filter all the water waste with the help of special auto-cleaning filters. The water cannot go out, preserving in this way the environment from the dispersal of organic waste materials. Bio-fouling and barnacles are stored in two individual tanks, partially dried and afterwards unloaded to dehydration tanks on the quay. Moreover, the sliding cleaning chamber limits the energy required for recycling and filtering the water, saving energy while providing the flexibility to clean vessels of any lengths. Different options to recycle the waste material are currently under investigation, from a cracking process to make energy pellets to a particular treatment to produce soil. WhaleWashing guarantees clean operations in ports of call, lakes and rivers and is compliant with the most recent regulations.