New technology for an old problem
Blocksil is at the forefront of coating technology and chemistry and has introduced a new anti-fouling paint.
Anti-fouling boat paints have historically used additives that were harmful to the environment as well as the marine growth that make up the fouling on underwater hull. The state of the art Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating is friendly towards the environment as it doesn’t kill the marine organisms, it just deters them from adhering. The main marine fouling on a ship hull comes from barnacles. Long term testing has shown that barnacles do not stick to our anti-fouling paint. Other marine growth such as seaweed also does not adhere. And by marine growth we are talking about both seawater and fresh water.
The formal name given to marine fouling is biofouling. This is simply the accumulation of micro-organisms, plants, algae or animals on to wet surfaces.
Anti-fouling is the ability of specifically designed materials and coatings to remove or prevent biofouling. Since biofouling can occur almost anywhere water is present, biofouling poses risks to a wide variety of industries. For example, paper manufacturing, underwater equipment and construction, fish farms, wave power devices, shipping and desalination plants. Shipping suffers the most economically since fouling on a ship’s hull significantly increases drag which reduces the overall hydrodynamic performance of the vessel. This in turn increases fuel consumption.
Over time, the accumulation of biofouling on hulls can increase drag by up to 60%. The additional drag can decrease speeds up to 10%, which can require up to a 40% increase in fuel to compensate. If one takes the assumption that fuel typically comprises up to half of marine transport costs, biofouling is estimated to cost the worldwide shipping industry around $1 billion per year.
And of course increased fuel use contributes to adverse environmental effects and is predicted to increase emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 72% by 2020 (M. Salta et al, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 2008).
It has been estimated that almost $6 billion is spent annually to prevent and control marine biofouling across all industries.
Blocksil’s new anti-fouling coating can be applied by spray, brush or roller and gives a smooth surface, provided the substrate being coated is smooth. It is currently going through the EU approvals process though the active biocide has already been approved. At this time we are coating small boats and components on larger boats to build up a performance record.
Our experience to date has shown no drop off in performance in over 18 months of continuous submersion. The Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating is not a soft or ablative paint but is classed as a permanent coating which means it is not sacrificial. Sacrificial paints need to be reapplied every season. And because any barnacles, algae or seaweed can’t stick to the Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating, the coating is effectively self-cleaning for boats or ships as they move through the marine environment. The benefits of our high performance anti-fouling paint for fibreglass boats or Aluminium boats would be of great interest for racing yachts, where no drop off in speed through marine fouling is surely a winner. Unlike some other anti-fouling products, the Blocksil solution does not need burnishing or polishing to improve performance.
Anti-fouling paint is a treatment that can be applied over a variety of substrates but is not a substitute for waterproofing.
The Blocksil Anti-Fouling Coating does not contain Cuprous Oxide, it is not an anti-fouling Copper paint and is not toxic. Our coating can be used with equipment associated with fish farms. What our anti-fouling paint will do is not allow algae or seaweed to properly bond to the coating surface, meaning they can be wiped off by hand.
Barnacles, which are the main cause of slowing boats and ships, simply do not like adhering to our anti-fouling paint. The barnacle larvae will swim away to live somewhere else.