USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Entire Ship Ballast Autonomous Wireless Monitoring System

Award Information

Department of Transportation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Invocon, Inc.
19221 IH-45 South; Ste. 530 Conroe, TX -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Entire Ship Ballast Autonomous Wireless Monitoring System
Agency: DOT
Contract: DTRS57-03-C-10008
Award Amount: $99,997.00


The exchange of ship ballast water has introduced non-native organisms to ports around the world. These bioinvaders are non-indigenous species that have the potential to upset local ecological systems and economics. Various treatment methods are in limited use or experimentation: heat treatment, ultraviolet, chemical, and filtration. These are successful in eliminating a portion of the organisms, but have a significant cost or inefficiency. The remaining treatment option, ballast water exchange, is performed by flushing the ballasts with deep-ocean water during transport. The enforcement process requires personnel to board the ships, open ballast tanks, and manually measure the salinity. Therefore, the DOT and USCG are seeking methods to obtain ship ballast details regarding the exchange process, time, and location. Invocon proposes the Entire Ship Ballast Autonomous Wireless Monitor (ESBAWM) System, a network of wireless nodes that periodically measure ballast water level using an innovative pseudo time-domain reflectometry method. These nodes report to a central unit that records ballast levels with corresponding locations and times. As the ship enters a harbor, authorities can remotely receive ballast exchange information before the ship docks. The system requires no crew intervention or costly installation, is tamper-proof, monitors the complete ship, and automates the enforcement process.

Principal Investigator:

Mike Walcer
Program Director

Business Contact:

Small Business Information at Submission:

Invocon Inc
19221 IH-45 South, suite 530 Conroe, TX 77385

Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No