Managing biofouling is a global industry that is continuously endeavouring to find better, more sustainable solutions. In previous newsletters we have reported on work underway by the antifoul coating industry to develop safer and more effective products, innovations from the Marine Biosecurity Toolbox research program here in New Zealand, and other lines of fresh thinking.
Here are some examples of new technologies emerging internationally that may just show us how the future of biofouling management could look:
Bubble barriers or curtains that can protect underwater structures and hulls from biofouling and therefore from marine pests. Check out the Econets website. Check out Econets Australia and click here for a New Zealand contact.
Hullskater: a remote control hull cleaning system deployed in port or even at anchorage and crawls over a ship’s hull, spot-cleaning where needed to maintain an “always clean” hull. Don’t go out and buy one yet - your boat will need to have the specified ultra-low friction coating. The manufacturer says that an average bulk carrier could save $2.8 million in fuel costs and emit 12.5 percent fewer CO2 emissions over a five-year period. Visit the Jotun website
Described as something like a Roomba for your boat, Armach Robotics has created an autonomous hull cleaner that enables more regular and efficient ship cleaning. One ship can be host to a number of cleaning bots, and it does not require a specified coating.
Selektope is an organic, non-metallic molecule that scares organisms away instead of poisoning them. It’s developed by Swedish biotech company i-tech and experiments demonstrate that it could show the way for bio-repellents in the future.
Clean Below? Good to Go shares information from time to time with boat owners about new products that are becoming available. These are not recommendations and many factors must be taken into account when considering biofouling situations. Please research carefully and consult with professionals from the industry to ensure that solutions are fit for your boat. If you have a product for us to consider in a future issue, please email email@example.com with brief details.