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eco-friendly Ship Hull film system with fouling Release and fuel saving properties

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - eSHaRk (eco-friendly Ship Hull film system with fouling Release and fuel saving properties)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-05-31

eSHaRk (Eco-friendly Ship Hull film system with fouling Release and fuel saving properties) aims to bring to the market a new and innovative fouling protection technology for ships. This technology consists in a product- a self-adhesive and non-toxic fouling release foil- and an application method- a robotized laminator, capable of laminating the fouling release foil in an automated way on ship hulls.
The adoption of a film-based structure opens up new possibilities to optimize the morphology of the products’ surface, leading to enhanced fouling protection and superior drag reduction properties. This can contribute to significantly increase the fuel efficiency of vessels and hence reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Furthermore, the application of the film-based product on ship hulls can be automated, and thus be made more efficient, easier, safer and cleaner than with current paint-based products.
Fouling has the effect of increasing the resistance to movement, which can seriously hamper a ship’s operational efficiency and contribute to increasing fuel consumption by up to 40% and possibly as much as 50%, resulting in significant additional GHG emissions. As fuel consumption represents around half the operational costs of the marine transport industry, fouling can also have significant economic costs for ship owners, and be detrimental to the industry’s competiveness with other transport modes.
The fouling release foil has already been developed and produced on an industrial scale. It has been applied manually on small vessels, which has made it possible to test and confirm its fouling release properties. A semi-automatic prototype laminator has been designed and built, which has shown that automated application of the foil on vertical substrates is possible under controlled conditions. A key requirement for bringing the technology to the market, however, is to design a robotic solution enabling the laminator to move automatically along ship hulls in shipyard conditions.
The objectives of the eSHaRk innovation action will be to finalize the development and testing of the film-based fouling release system and to make it fit for successful market entry. Specific project objectives will be to:
• Optimize the foil’s surface morphology, with a view to maximize its drag reduction properties and increase its positive impact on the vessel fuel consumption – and GHG emissions – beyond what can be achieved with current state-of-the-art fouling protection
• Fully automate the foil application process for large commercial vessels in shipyard conditions, with a view to ensure that this process can be fast, efficient, safe, clean, and competitive with current application methods for paint based fouling protection products.
• Apply the foil on a newly built vessel and test it in real seawater environment to confirm its robustness and durability.
• Prepare the successful introduction of the technology on the market, in particular through developing a compelling value proposition to encourage rapid uptake and maximize the economic benefits from the project.
At the end of the Project period following objectives were achieved:
* The surface morphology of the foil was optimized and produced under industrial conditions. Drag measurements of the foil on torpedo's, executed at high Reynolds numbers (HSVA),showed significant drag reduction. Calculations showed huge fuel savings and GHG emissions reduction
* A prototype robotized laminator device was designed, built and validated, showing full automated self-adhesive foil application on a vertical metal substrate like a ship hull.
* The optimum surface morphology foil was applied on a cruise ship showing excellent fouling release properties and no detachment of the foil by diver inspection after 8 months sailing.

The foil with the optimum surface morphology (designed by HSVA) was produced on an industrial production line (Avery Dennison) and tested at HSVA on a torpedo in their HYKAT facilities. Test results show a significant drag reduction; calculations show huge fuel savings and GHG emissions reduction. Those calculations were based on conservative drag reduction data.
The designed and built robotized laminator device by VertiDrive was validated on a huge vertical metal wall. The robotized laminator (weight approx 450 kg) is able to apply self-adhesive foil strips next to each other in a full automated way.
Test patches were applied on a cruise vessel and on small vessels up to 40 m length. Diving inspection after 8 months showed excellent fouling release properties and no detachment. Similar performance results on raft panels exposed in Kats (North Sea) and Malta (Mediterranean Sea).
Avery Dennison is commercially active with self-adhesive fouling release foil in the yacht market and PPG started commercial activities with the self-adhesive fouling release foil in the Marine market.

During the project period , the eSHaRk project was discussed in following articles and during the following seminars/symposia ( eSHaRk project dissemination overview):
* HSVA Newswave, issue 01/2016 by HSVA
* ""Besser Lackieren"" , National congress on 10th and 11th October 2017 at Bad Nauheim, Germany by ND Coatings
* Schiff, Maschine und Meerestechnik"", SMM, world largest international maritime trade fair in Hamburg, Germany, on 6th of September 2018 on the occasion of the AIRCOAT Stakeholder Workshop by HSVA
* 4th Hull Performance and Insight Conference in Gubbio, Italy, on 6th-8thMay 2019 by HSVA
* NPD & Innovation in the Chemical Industry Summit 2019 on 14th of May, in Berlin, Germany by PPG
* Avery Dennison and PPG press release for official introduction PPG SigmaGlide Foil and MacGlide, May 2019
* Fluvial magazine, test report on fouling release film for leisure boats - No 276, October 2017
* Various social media communications"
Both, the optimum surface morphology for cruise vessel hulls and the robot with accurate positioning on a vertical substrate (hull), can be considered as exiting and unique results beyond the state of the art.
The combination of both, leading to the automated application of a fouling release foil system with optimum surface morphology has a proven significant impact on drag reduction leading to huge fuel consumption reduction. As fuel consumption represents around half the operational costs of the marine transport industry, fouling can also have significant economic costs for ship owners and be detrimental to the industry’s competitiveness with other transport modes.

At the end of the project one can conclude that smooth foil, and even more the textured (OSM) foil, have a significant impact on drag reduction towards sprayed Silicone based paints and even more towards anti fouling paints. The corresponding fuel savings result in cost reduction of approx 500,000 USD p.a. for a cruise vessel next to significant GHG emissions reduction.
Application of the (textured) foil is not limited to ship hull protection, but can be used in a wide range of areas. The unique construction of the robot device can be used for other purposes as well. It means that the commercial impact for a small company like VertiDrive, but also for large companies like Avery Dennison and PPG, can be much bigger than based on hull protection only.