Skip to main content

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

Final Report Summary - ECODOCK (Environmentally friendly coatings for ship building and ships in operation)

The overall objectives of ECODOCK were:
- to improve the performance of marine coatings during the lifetime of a ship;
- to reduce environmental impact of marine coatings during the ship life cycle;
- to provide independent assessment of marine coating systems with regard to the above mentioned categories;
- to establish a European communication platform in order to stimulate the information exchange of the parties involved;
- to speed up the application of advanced environmentally friendly materials and production processes in ship new building, repair and operation.

Marine coating is not just a very complex technology area due to a large variety of production parameters, but also because different industrial parties are involved with competing objectives. Ship owner, shipyard, marine paint supplier, classification societies and public authorities have different intentions during the life cycle of a ship. The competing targets can be broadly split into the following categories:
- economy;
- technical performance;
- environmental influence;
- health and safety conditions.

The overall environmental equation significantly depends on decisions that have been taken in the preproduction and production phase of a ship. Today, these decisions are mainly based on economic factors.

The work was structured in seven interrelated work packages (WPs), as follows:

WP 1: Development of advanced paint systems
In this WP, various characteristics of advanced marine paint systems were investigated. The objective was to support the development and evaluation of paint systems in order to meet the requirements of the yard, the ship owner and international regulations and standards. The formulation of new paint systems is the domain of paint companies and a close cooperation will be ensured by the user group which has been established during the first project year. ECODOCK doesn't have the capability to develop a new paint but provides supporting research and basic knowledge on issues that have been identified as most relevant for the yards. This includes research on new polymer binders, anti-corrosion effecting of paint pigments, film formation and solvent entrapment and properties of paints based on nano-composites.

WP 2: Application technologies for advanced paint systems
The performance of marine coatings at vessels in service depends on the quality and conditions achieved in the new building process. Long-term experience, including a consideration of the individual production environment at the yard, plays an important role for the introduction of new paint systems. Furthermore, the introduction of new paint systems like high volume solid or waterborne systems requires modifications of the production processes. The objectives of this WP were benchmarking of coating systems and the specification and evaluation of surface preparation and paint application technologies for advanced paint systems in order to achieve best product performance in different production environments. Newbuilding state, onboard maintenance and repair work were considered. This WP also included field trials at test panels and preparation of test plates for further investigation in WP 3, WP 4 and WP 5.

WP 3: Performance assessment of advanced paint systems
This WP developed and established standardised test methods and criteria for quality assessment of marine paints. The work focused on anti-corrosion testing in ballast tanks and cargo holds, anti-fouling properties of the ship hull and the optical appearance of the superstructure. Available test methods are mostly focused on ship newbuilding. The WP investigated the coating performance also for ship in operation and ship repair.

WP 4: Assessment of health and safety conditions for marine paints
Almost all coating materials in the shipyards contain hazardous components. WP 4 analysed the effects and improvements of advanced coating materials and application technologies on the working conditions. The WP defined and developed a respective measurement methodology, performs measurements during the production process, and then defined requirements to improve operational safety. A key issue to improve not only the working conditions but also the production process is the optimisation of ventilation systems to which this work package was addressed to as well.

WP 5: Assessment of environmental influence of advanced paint systems
This work package provided information on the short-term environmental impact of shipyard processes regarding distribution of antifouling biocides in the environment. These examinations were complemented by the development of a method for the determination of biocide leach rates from antifouling paints. This method helps to quantify the environmental impact of antifouling paints on water and sediment during production and operation.

WP 6: Specification of computer supported coating management system for vessel life cycle
Coating activities and the coating products have come under increasing scrutiny over recent years for ship owner and ship yards. However, most of the related activities are paper-based and only partly supported by computer systems. The objective of this WP was the development of a modular software tool supporting coating activities during the ship life cycle. The tool extends the functionality of existing software (production and resource planning, ship management systems etc.) and could cover:
- life cycle management;
- inspection management;
- maintenance management;
- selection strategies.

WP 7: European coating management platform
This WP disseminated the research result and stimulated the information exchange between parties involved in the marine coating process.

The main results achieved in within the project can be summarised as follows:
- Comprehensive background information on paint characteristics including: polymer binders; anti-corrosion efficiency of pigments; film formation; self-cleaning properties on the basis of titanium-dioxide; impact of nano-composites.
- benchmarking of ballast tank and hard underwater coatings;
- application of silicon-based foul-release coating systems;
- state of the art analysis for paint removal in ship repair;
- concept for robotic application of paint in ship repair;
- development and verification of test methods for anti-fouling and anti-corrosion performance measurements as well as internal stress;
- development of method to measure energy consumption;
- concept for the improvement of ventilation systems to reduce the impact during paint applications;
- software tool to support health and safety assessment of paint systems;
- optimisation of release rate measurements;
- software demonstrator to support documentation according to IMO PSPC directive;
- ECODOCK internet site.

Related documents