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Andrea Skloss's picture

Power it up....

Engine sideThis is one of four engines (12 cylinder 4 stroke). They only use two at a time.

Engine endAn end view of the engine

Today 10 of us took a tour down into the engine room and showed us how saltwater is made into freshwater. The ship holds a little over a million gallons of fuel. In Dutch Harbor we need to top off the tanks. It took 6-7 hours to add 260,000 gallons of fuel.

Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink....

Not so on the Healy, there is drinkable (potable) water on board. How do they do this? The process of collecting seawater and removing the salt is called desalinization. Those of you who have or have had a saltwater aquarium might have noticed the water level lowers and that salt crystals form on the lid of the aquarium. As water evaporates from seawater the salts are left behind. With that being said, the ship would need to capture the water vapor...right?.... because it is fresh. Actually there are many more steps than just heating the water. The ship produces 6000 gallons of water per day (8 gallons per second).

Saltwater intake Saltwater is brought through these large PVC pipes the diameter of a adult human.

Seawater filterThe gray tank is a filter that removes organic matter out of the water. (You do not want to have shrimp in your water.)

The steps include: 1) The water is pumped into a flash chamber as it is preheated with steam. 2) Vaporization occurs when the flash chambers are placed under a vacuum. This vacuum allows the liquid to boil at a lower temperature when it is under pressure. 3) Brine removal - A mesh separator removes the supersaturated saltwater (brine) and pumps it overboard. 4) Distillation water is distilled when flash chambers are cooled causing water to condensate for collection and treated with bromine (inhibits bacteria growth). 5) Storage (two 14000 gallon tanks!). Let me give you another example for step 2...take an empty water bottle and twist it until it is as compact as you can. Gently screw off the lid AWAY from anyone or breakable objects and notice the sound, vapor, and distance of the released cap. Why was there water vapor? Post your answers on Ask The Team.


I had no side effects to the patch! Yes!
Today we were to begin our testing in the Bering Strait, but due to intense fog our 3pm original arrival time is now going to be 10:30pm.