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eSHaRk Report Summary

Project ID: 691495

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - eSHaRk (eco-friendly Ship Hull film system with fouling Release and fuel saving properties)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

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 technologies.
• 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.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"A study has been performed at HSVA to obtain the most optimum surface morphology in light of drag reduction. The study was based on a combination of a review on fundamental researches on riblets in the open literature and the RANS computations performed for the ship hulls at different Reynolds numbers at design conditions. Results were described in Deliverable D1.1 ""Pattern of optimal surface morphology"".
A manufacturer of engraved (metal) rolls has been found to engrave the found optimum riblet structure in a roll with very high accuracy in order to produce a fouling release foil system with the desired surface morphology.
For the design of the robot it is necessary to understand the conditions in a shipyard and the 3-dimensional shape of a vessel. Therefore test patches were applied with the fouling release foil (manually) in horizontal and vertical direction of the hull at Meyer Werft. A report was made with the results and conditions: Deliverable D 2.1 ""Statement of requirements for automated lamination of the fouling release foil"".
For the robot design, prototyping and validation, a step-by-step approach was chosen by VertiDrive. The essential parts of the robot, required for its specific purpose, were designed, built and tested one by one. Starting with the magnets (type, size, number), the wheels (type of material, size) and later on the navigation of the robot. Sophisticated software had to be developed and some real rocket science hardware had to be bought in order to realize a highly accurate navigation system for applying foils precisely next to each other and to determine the exact position of the robot on the ship hull. The robot has been built and is now in a validation stage. The laminator, designed, built and validated before the project, will be transported to VertiDrive for testing and adjustments prior of mounting on the robot.
From management point of view it was a challenge to create a team out of four totally different companies and one Institute, each having their own specific knowledge and experience and their own jargon. Regular face-to-face meetings and conference calls were the base for the team as is."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

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 results beyond the state of the art.
The combination of both, leading to the automated application of an optimum surface morphology of a fouling release foil system, is expected to have a significant impact on drag reduction and with that on 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 competiveness with other transport modes.

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