Properly treating food waste is essential for complying with regulations and protecting the marine environment. Food waste is one of the most highly regulated waste streams, with the aim of preventing the discharge of untreated food waste into the oceans. Pulpers are the most common and traditional means for treating food waste on board vessels. Large machines mechanically pulverize the food waste, skim it for contaminants and grease, and store it in large tanks until it can be properly discharged. Bio-digesters represent emerging technology in the maritime industry and offer an alternative to pulper systems. A relative newcomer to the maritime industry, bio-digesters use microorganisms to ‘digest’ the food waste.

There are two common complaints regarding food waste treatment onboard: 1) treatment equipment is loud and produces a strongly offensive odor, and 2) equipment and the treated food waste takes up a significant amount of space on board. Looking for a solution to address these complaints, we approached ORCA food digesters, a leader in land-based food digestion systems for resorts, hotels, entertainment complexes, educational institutions, and stadiums. Total Marine Solutions worked with the engineers at ORCA to design a marine specific ORCA unit that addressed these two key pain points. The result, a Low Profile OG-50, which can be installed directly in galleys or food prep areas and does not take away food prep space, does not create any odor, and works almost silently. Easy to start up and use, the ORCA system can treat food waste at the source, significantly improving workplace safety without the need to bring food waste below decks. The only byproduct of ORCA’s innovative aerobic digestion process is water. Plastics and other contaminants over 4mm are screened before the effluent leaves the ORCA preventing contaminants from being released into the marine environment.

ORCA works using microorganisms, which facilitate aerobic digestion within the system. Food waste is loaded into the ORCA at regular intervals with ORCA microorganisms added periodically. Users then walk away until it is time to ‘feed the ORCA’ again. Startup is quick and easy, and the digested material does not smell or require large tanks for holding.
For technical information on the ORCA or a demonstration of how ORCA enhances safety and sustainability aboard vessels, please contact [email protected]