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Environmentally friendly coatings for ship building and ships in operation (ECODOCK)

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Greener paints for the high seas

Environmental hazards associated with paint application and wear are a hot topic known to most of us in relation to house paints. However, they are also particularly important in relation to the coatings used to protect a ship from corrosion over the course of its life-cycle.

Climate Change and Environment

The environmental effects of marine coatings are largely dependent on decisions taken during pre-production and production of a ship, but these decisions are typically based on cost issues. Maintenance costs such as those related to reapplying coatings have skyrocketed recently due to increased regulation and legislation. The ‘Environmentally friendly coatings for ship building and ships in operation’ (Ecodock) project was undertaken to develop new, longer-lasting and environmentally friendly coatings thus decreasing both the cost of repair and the fouling of underwater areas. The Ecodock team assimilated comprehensive information on paint characteristics and underwater coatings with a focus on greener cost-effective solutions. In addition, they developed methods for quality assessment of marine paints, extending existing techniques that focus on ship building to include performance during operation and as related to ship repair. The researchers further addressed environmental concerns included developing a concept for improved ventilation during paint application as well as an energy consumption measurement methodology. Finally, the team developed a modular software tool for tracking coating activities that should make inspections previously relying on a paper trail a thing of the past. The Ecodock project has the potential to facilitate the gradual transition to sustainable ship coating methods by providing a solution to shipyard managers that saves money while protecting workers and the marine environment. The solution is good for the managers, good for the workers and good for the planet – hard to argue with that.

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