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Prevention and detection of fouling on ship hulls


"Biofouling is the adhesion of biological materials to hard surfaces, such as ship hulls, in a marine environment and it can commence within seconds of the immersion of a ship’s hull in the sea. After 6 months without protection against marine fouling deposits, biofouling growth increases the drag on a hull so much as to cause a ship to use up to 40% more fuel and correspondingly to produce 40% more CO2 emissions. The marine industry spends $6 billion (USD) worldwide in the prevention or removal of marine fouling using a variety of cleaning tools in dock, yet fouling still costs the world shipping industry, involving 98,000 vessels of size exceeding 100 GT, $8 billion on extra fuel and produces 70 million tons of additional CO2. There are also serious health and safety issues associated with the widespread use of biocidal antifouling coatings which harm marine life and enter the food chain. Furthermore new and experimental non-biocidal antifouling coatings are only partly effective at sea and completely ineffective in port.

Clearly existing methods of fouling prevention and removal are in urgent need of improvement. The CLEANSHIP project proposes a novel, harmless and cost effective solution for fouling prevention without the need for taking a ship out of service.

The solution is to deploy long range ultrasonic plate waves travelling throughout an entire ship hull below the water line in two ways (i) The use of leaky (SV mode) continuous waves to prevent or slow down the accumulation of fouling by driving biomolecules away from the hull (ii) Continuous monitoring of the attenuation changes of pulsed waves caused by the growth of fouling in its the early stages, to allow earlier and cheaper removal.

The return on the investment by the SMEs and EU in the first 4 years of commercialization will be 166:1 in the form of profits, savings on fouling prevention and treatment, fuel costs and carbon offset costs. With global take up of the new technology the savings could exceed 14.9 billion Euros per annum."

Call for proposal

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Kingston lane
UB8 3PH Uxbridge
United Kingdom

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London Outer London — West and North West Harrow and Hillingdon
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Teresa Waller (Ms.)
EU contribution
No data

Participants (8)