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Ultrasonic System for Antifouling Protection of Ships

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ULTRABOAT (Ultrasonic System for Antifouling Protection of Ships)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-02-28

90% of global trade is transported by ship and almost 90% of the EU’s external trade is carried by sea. In addition 40% of the internal trade is done by ship connecting two of the 1,200 merchant ports along the EU coastline.
The formation of fouling on ships increases the surface roughness of the hull, which leads to increased fuel consumption. After six months, a ship without an appropriate antifouling system can suffer a 40% increase in fuel consumption to maintain normal speed.
At DELCO TS, we envisaged UltraBoat as a durable and reliable solution to avoid the formation of fouling (bio-fouling) on ships (attachment of marine animal and plants to the surface of underwater parts of the vessel).
Antifouling also requires specific maintenance because current solutions are not durable enough. Nowadays the ship owners need to periodically re-apply antifouling coatings. Apart from the fact that these coatings are in constant surveillance due to the release of harmful substances, the process requires dry docking the ship (at least every 5 years) for a period of usually 10-12 days. Although antifouling treatment is only a part of this maintenance, it has a big impact on the total operating costs of transport ships. Annual costs resulting from fouling represent more than 350,000€ for a single vessel of medium size (90-120,000 of Gross registered tonnage, GRT).
DELCO TS, as engineers and manufacturers of equipment for the treatment and finishing of metal surfaces since 2007. At DELCO we have specific hands on experience in ultrasonic technology right from the conception, design to the assembly of cleaning systems. With more than 100 satisfied clients and an extensive network of collaborators. In the maritime transport sector, we have dealt with shipping companies such as Vroon in the Netherlands which operates 160 ships ranging from off-shore support vessels to dry cargo vessels of 229 m length, and the Carnival group, which is the largest cruise ship operator in the world.

Overall UltraBoat Objectives
UltraBoat aims to avoid fouling formation on the hull of commercial ships through the use of advanced technology that will entail the installation of remote-controlled ultrasonic modules, allowing ship owners to reduce operating costs in more than 700,000€ per year for a large cargo vessel.
In order to provide the maritime transport sector with our technology, we need to scale up starting from our prototype install the system in a large size cargo vessel to assess its performance, and adjust the frequency of ultrasound and the remote control unit in the operating environment. In addition, a key aspect for this novel technology to be introduced successfully in the maritime transport sector is the certification by specialized bodies that UltraBoat fully complies with the standards specified for the sector (MARPOL, MED and SOLAS) as will be detailed later. The main characteristics that UltraBoat will provide:
• 100% avoidance of fouling on the ship’s hull (meaning no increase in fuel consumption).
• Durable solution with very low maintenance. By eliminating the application of coatings dry docking might be reduced by up to 2 days (representing average savings in operation costs of 2 M€ in every 5 years).
• Non-polluting (no leaching of toxic substances to sea waters) complying with AFS regulation, safe for marine life.
"UltraBoat activities during Phase I
This report is a summary of the main activities planned for SME instrument Phase I that have been performed from October 2014 to February 2015:
1. Technical plan to scale up of the UltraBoat prototype for large vessels including technical product development and marketing activities and upgrading production capabilities to achieve the sales forecast.
These activities to be performed in a subsequent Phase II have been organized in Work Packages as follows:
- WP1. UltraBoat Technical Design: To obtain a detailed specification and configuration model that we will validate, using simulation tools, in all its features
- WP2. Industrial process optimisation. We will optimize the manufacturing process adopting a Lean Manufacturing Strategy (to optimize product cost and increase the competitiveness of DELCO T.S.) and performing a cost and Life Cycle Analysis of the process to reduce environmental impact. This WP will also be extended to the installing activities performed by our partner GENNARO.
- WP3. UltraBoat Components Integration in the final product: we will integrate all the components selected and tested in WP1 (Configuration#1) to produce a first batch of around 15 UltraBoat modules for testing and certification. They will depend on the results obtained in WP2.
- WP4. Testing and Certification: We will validate and certificate the first batch of products with the upgraded configuration with the support of a certification lab and a certification consultant.
- WP5. Exploitation and Commercialization plans. We plan to engage key-players of the ship building and maritime transport maintenance market segments to establish first agreement with shipyards and maintenance companies taking into consideration the results obtained in WP4.
- WP6. Project Management. WP6 is a transversal work package that groups all the activities related to the project coordination and management
2. Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis.
Although Ultrasound technologies are used in ships as an anti-fouling measure for ballast water treatment (6 European, and 3 International (PCT) patents were found), there are currently no patents that cover specifically the UltraBoat concept so there is space for Intellectual Property protection in Europe.
Regarding regulation, the Energy Efficiency instruments (EEDI, SEEMP) and the Ballast Water treatment convention can have a very positive impact in the market demand of UltraBoat. The system helps to maintain the fuel efficiency of the ship and can be installed along ballast water treatment systems since it will be a small additional investment that pays itself in less than a year . Establish a powerful partnership among our current network including the whole supply chain required for implementation of UltraBoat.
3. Financial Review and Business Plan.
We have implemented an updated business plan for UltraBoat that includes a complete overview of the company background, market analysis, competitors analysis, strategies for operations, go to market strategy and management as well as market projection and a financial and viability plan. We plan a turnover of around 10 M€ by 2021 that is around 1% or the European market for this solution.
4. Consortium set up
We have closed a partnership with GENNARO srl Officina Navale, a company based in Genoa specialised in electrical and mechanical maintenance and refurbishment of commercial vessels. GENNARO will join the consortium for Phase II.
In addition we discussed the requirements for certification with RINA (classification society) and Albarubens as well as with several shipyards in Italy and Spain for implementation of UltraBoat.
5. Risk assessment
We have reviewed the risks related to both commercial and technical progress of UltraBoat for the subsequent implementation of the Phase 2.
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90% of the global trade is transported by ship and almost 90% of the EU’s external trade is carried by sea. In addition 40% of the internal trade is done by ship connecting two of the 1,200 merchant ports along the EU coastline. Practically half of the world tonnage (49.7 %) is owned by shipping companies from just 4 countries: Greece, Japan, Germany and China. he European maritime sector delivers 90% of all goods to and from Europe. Fouling is common to all operating ships no matter their shape, size or how long they have been operating. It is true that the amount of fouling will depend on the typical speed and voyage profile since vessels that spend more time in port or travel at lower speed have more fouling. The resistance to fouling depends on the quality of the treatment applied but nowadays there is not a definitive and durable solution that can eliminate fouling from ships and more specifically from the hull (in section 1.4 we include a description of antifouling systems in use).
Therefore we are proposing a solution to a European and even global problem which is common to all ships. Only in Europe there are ca. 14,000 operating commercial vessels suffering from fouling. If all of them were to use UltraBoat, the total amount that could be potentially saved is up to 4,900 M€ by lowering operating costs due to a better use of fuel and reducing a considerable part of the maintenance (dry dock) procedures.We plan UltraBoat to enter the segment of maritime transport ships in the first place (14,000 ships in Europe) by the beginning of 2018. The selling price of the technology is estimated at 46,800€ for each module (installed). UltraBoat reduces total operating costs vs traditional antifouling paints by a 67% paying itself in 1 year, so we expect to reach sales of 10 M€ by 2021.
We have implemented an updated business plan for UltraBoat that includes a complete overview of the company background, competitors analysis, strategies for operations, go to market strategy and management as well as market projection and a financial and viability plan.
The financial plan also shows that break-even point can be achieved in the second year of commercial operations under a pessimistic scenario.
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