Skip to main content

Providing Antifouling Additives for Marine Paints Inspired by Nature and Engineered for Industries

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BMX-11 (Providing Antifouling Additives for Marine Paints Inspired by Nature and Engineered for Industries)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-06-30

"Any object submerged in water such as vessels, oil drilling or off- shore wind platforms and aquaculture equipment is subject to biofouling, the settlement of marine organisms. To prevent fouling and maintain the integrity of their assets, companies who own submerged assets use antifouling paints to slow biofouling formation in the attempt of fully preventing it. Even though antifouling paints are expensive, their use is estimated to prevent 25% of fuel consumption of the world fleet, representing savings of €51 billion per year in energy costs. Additionally, antifouling paints are used to save €3.7 billion in maintenance costs yearly. However 90% of existing antifouling paints contain toxic additives and current solutions are still not 100% effective even when integrating several biocides in their composition. The most used antifouling additive, copper, must be used with other co-biocides to ensure protection from biofouling. The main issue is therefore that currently used antifouling additives in marine paints are toxic to users and the environment, not 100% effective and costly.
BioMimetx R&D team is currently developing an antifouling additive for marine paints to prevent the formation of marine biofouling. BioMimetx is developing BMX-11, a ""green"" antifouling additive to be used as active ingredient in marine paints. BMX-11 is produced by BioMimetx proprietary bacterium in very specific and optimized conditions, and this mixture of natural molecules (proteins, peptides and metabolites) can be used as natural antimicrobials, algaecides and larvaecides. The outcome of this Phase 2 project will provide a fully developed, optimized and ""green"" paint-integrated BMX-11 antifouling additive for marine paints. BMX-11 is 100% biodegradable, cost effective and efficient, closing the existent technological gap.
According to the 'Blue Growth Strategy' (COM (2012) 494) a rapid technological progress in working offshore will increase the need to use antifouling solutions in the near future. However, it is essential to develop solutions that can be effective against fouling but environmental-friendly to prevent the increased accumulation of toxic chemicals in the water. Oceans cover 71% of the planet and deliver essential human necessities such as food and energy in a way that is more sustainable. Meeting environmental targets is also a source of innovation and growth and this is why new solutions such as BMX-11 are needed, it can replace the toxic copper and secondary pesticides that are being used in 90% of antifouling paints. Another important issue is the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Antifouling paints are thus necessary to assure easy and less fuel consuming maneuverability for seaborne transport. Paints using BMX-11 will be able to do this in an environmental-friendly way.
Globally, the use of antifouling solutions with BMX-11 will avoid impacts on the Sea and the environment in general, while being efficient against marine fouling. With BMX-11 in marine paints, we can provide an effective, cheaper and environmental-friendly solution to biofouling."
At the end of the first year of project, significant progress has been achieved in the development of BMX-11.
After conclusion of the initial scaling-up processes, BMX-11 production is currently fully optimized at industrial level and validation was obtained through a bio-fermentation process reaching a volume of 15.000L.
The formulation of BMX-11 as a paint additive was optimized and its integration procedure in a base marine technical pains is established. A base paint containing BMX-11 has been efficiently implemented and shows good results as an antifouling paint, even though improvements are required to reach a fully operational commercial paint, which will be achieved by the end of this project. BMX-11 used as sole biocide in paint and at a concentration of 5% showed efficacy up to 6 months against slime and algae, and up to 8 months against tubeworms in Sea tests. These results were obtained in static tests, but validation tests in real vessels used regularly, have already started and will be used as final validation at the end of the project.
Regarding regulatory aspects, tests are ongoing to support the USA regulatory process, where BMX-11 is already considered a Biochemical Pesticide, granting a faster process and with lower costs. In the EU, BioMimetx has determined the best procedure to introduce BMX-11 submission to the BPR, and will proceed with the initial regulatory tests in the next year of project.
BMX-11 is unique among current commercial biocides and even among substances under development. On its own, it combines activity against slime, algae and marine invertebrates adhesion, avoiding the need to use 2 or more biocides together in a paint to achieve a good antifouling protection.
These features are based on its intrinsic properties, due to its bacterial origin. BMX-11 is in fact the result of billions of years of bacterial evolution and the final result as a survival weapon in highly competitive environment, allowing the producing bacteria to thrive among the competition by disrupting it and be successful in gathering nutrients, even under active pressure from other organisms.
BioMimetx isolated this bacteria from the environment through a defined screening methodology and optimized its production of the biocide mixture named BMX-11. BMX-11 is thus a combination of organic molecules that is highly effective on the growth control of diverse organisms.
Leveraging on these capacities, BioMimetx is developing an application for BMX-11 as an antifouling additive for marine paints, a market segment that needs desperately new solutions, more sustainable and less impacting on the environment.
The results achieved so far after a first year of project are extremely promising and show a solid product, able to be produced at large scale and with reproducibility, able to maintain its antifouling activity in marine paints and that degrades fast after release from the paint into the water, removing any environmental danger to the Sea.
The use of BMX-11 has major environmental benefits by replacing the use of current toxic antifouling biocides, but it also guarantees safer working conditions for the users applying the paints. Ultimately, its absence of impact on the Sea will also affect the food producing activities at Sea, avoiding cross-contamination of species used for human consumption, with benefits for Public Health in general and in all marine ecosystems balanced survival.
BMX-11 antifouling effect over time in Sea water