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Novel solutions sought to prevent or continuously remove marine biofouling

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Partner keyword: 
Environmental Engineering / Technology
Marine Environment
Other Industrial Products (not elsewhere classified)
Other transportation
Sea and coastal passenger water transport
Sea and coastal freight water transport


A multinational shipping enterprise with a registered base in Scotland (UK) is seeking novel approaches to keep a ship's hull continuously clean of marine organisms, that is, to prevent and/or continuously remove biofouling. The Scottish company is looking for partnerships via a joint venture to pilot technology on a ship.



A leading multinational shipping enterprise with a registered base in Scotland (UK) is looking for technology solutions that can be applied to their cargo and passenger ships that travel in all of the world's oceans. The company is actively involved with open innovation and is currently involved with several international projects.

It is estimated that the expense relating to fuel in the shipping industry, is around 50% of the total cost of operations. Studies have shown that marine growth on a heavily bio fouled hull can increase the power requirements by more than 40%, as compared to a newly coated smooth hull.

Biofouling is a natural process that occurs with any structure placed in contact with water where there is the presence of marine micro-organisms. This problem has plagued shipping since the days of the Phoenicians. It begins immediately after the object is placed in the sea, by the adhesion of organic substances and materials dissolved in water, developing in 4 stages with the growth of marine macro-organisms such as algae, barnacles and mussels. Growth of marine organisms is most prolific in warm shallow waters and when at anchor.

Highly effective, but environmentally toxic, tin-based coating systems were phased out in the 1980s. Subsequent copper-based biocide coatings proved less environmentally toxic, but are also less effective at controlling biofouling over long periods of time. The company is seeking novel approaches to controlling biofouling that eliminates the contradiction between effectiveness and toxicity inherent in commercial coatings.

The company is willing to consider technology from other end-application sectors that are capable of addressing the problem set out here. The client would prefer collaboration via joint venture. Some budget may be made available for development and this could include being actively involved in the development of a solution, technical overview of the end application and provision of testing facilities.

Technical Specification or Expertise Sought

Cooperation sought: 
The company is interested in solutions that go beyond the marine biocide and release paint/coatings currently available or under development today. The company is seeking alternative approaches that are longer-lasting while being more environmentally benign. Of special interest are durable solutions that may incorporate light, aeration, electrical, mechanical, ultrasound, or other means that can serve as a replacement to or in conjunction with traditional coatings.

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
A joint venture is preferred, leading to joint development which would likely include a demonstration project where piloting on a bulk carrier can be carried out as needed. If the proposed solution is commercially available, technical support can be offered defining the appropriate application and maintenance on ships. The company is looking for concise, non-confidential proposals. The proposal should describe the technical approach and should ideally include information on the technological readiness of the proposal, any proof of concept data, reference to any peer reviewed publications, and potential route to commercialization.