Development of environmentally safe “Marinegreene” coatings

15/07/2019

Summary

This technology is about ecologically-friendly sol-gel coatings to prevent biofouling, which are free of metal biocide compounds toxic to marine life, and increase the performance of marine vessels by reducing fuel consumption.

Technology Description

The project idea is based on the development of new non-fluorous and non-biocide coatings which would be environmentally-friendly and synthesised using green-chemistry principles. The coatings are aimed to prevent the settlement and/or reduce adhesion of various biofoulants at the metal surfaces. At the same time the coating should provide corrosion protection against aggressive marine environment. Therefore, the technical features include the development of novel, ecologically-friendly sol-gel coatings to prevent biofouling, which are free of metal biocide compounds toxic to marine life, and increase the performance of marine vessels by reducing fuel consumption. The coatings will be laboratory and field-tested in marine environment to demonstrate the long-term antifouling activity and performance.

Main advantages

The idea of this project would be to proof the concept of amphiphilic surface exhibiting heterogeneous properties of low surface energy effect of hydrophobicity and resistance of protein adhesion characteristic of hydrophilicity. We postulate that amphiphilic surface would be advantageous to combine two approaches: detachment of biofoulants and prevention of attachment of biofoulants. Hitherto the combination of fluorine-based and PEG-modified compounds are commercially used for this purpose. In the proposed project we plan to develop fluorine-free coatings. Surface coating chemistry will be modified using organically-modified silicon alkoxides and polymers containing various derivatives.

Stage of development

The technology is in the TRL 6 – technology demonstrated in relevant environment.

Challenge and needs

The globalization of food chains and suppliers has increased the complexity and potential risks of the seafood product business. Since manufacturers are responsible for health risks and fraud arising from their products, they need to ensure traceability of raw materials throughout the supply chain. Seafood quality assurance addresses the issues of managing safety, quality and logistics throughout the supply chain. It involves auditing, testing and inspection of the product at each stage to verify that it satisfies food safety and regulatory requirements.

Testing labs are addressing issues of managing safety, quality and logistics throughout the supply chain. However, while the dedicated testing labs act as a quality gate between producers, manufacturers and buyers, there is a lack of dedicated solutions on the market specialized for the use by the consumers of sea-food products and smaller companies. The unavailability of accommodated seafood analysis solutions for smaller companies and end consumers is reducing the possibilities to detect the health risks and fraud which were not yet prevented by the regulators and food safety authorities.

Intellectual property

The technology is still under development and it’s not yet protected by intellectual property rights.

Potential markets and targets

Marine biofouling occurs on ships, boats, yachts, as well as on submerged or floating stationary marine structures (notably aquaculture structures). The consequences of biofouling are enormous: in the case of ships, it increases surface roughness of the hull which, in turn, causes increased frictional resistance and fuel consumption up to 40%, and decreased top speed. In the case of stationary marine structures, biofouling decreases structural integrity and increases tendency to corrosion and structure weight.

Strategies to combat biofouling include use of antifouling paints and coating, but also underwater and dry-docking for regular mechanical cleaning. Even modest improvements in the fouling condition can save enormous amounts of money which can be used for further development and environmental protection issues.

The market is currently in advanced stage and still searches for new coatings due to novel strategies and product development concerning environmental legislation and improved cost-benefit regime of the demand.

Potential partners

Potential partners include partners interested in the synthesis of environmentally friendly products, incorporation of such products in existing product line, scaling-up or characterization, and testing of such products in laboratory or relevant (marine) environments.

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