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AkzoNobel develops bunker-saving fouling solution based on UV-LED technology

'Revolutionary' technology to be applied to underwater surfaces to eliminate fouling growth.



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Updated on 13 Feb 2018 13:28 GMT

AkzoNobel says it has been working on the development of what it describes as a "revolutionary fouling prevention technology" that uses ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LED).

The solution - which uses underlying technology developed by Royal Philips - will be applied to underwater surfaces to eliminate fouling growth.

By combining AkzoNobel's surface protection and adhesion know-how with Royal Philips' experience and intellectual property in UV-LED lighting and electronics, the two companies aim to produce an economically viable solution for underwater fouling prevention.

The innovation is designed to integrate UV light-emitting diodes in a protective coating scheme which will allow for the UV light to be emitted from the coating surface, providing the total prevention of biofouling accumulation on the surface of the protected area, and optimizing bunker costs.

AkzoNobel says the fully biocide-free solution will provide "groundbreaking performance" and offer complete fouling prevention to the hulls of ships and boats.

"The total control of biofouling represents a substantial economic and environmental benefit, and when realized, the impact of this new technology on vessel owners and operators will be hugely significant," AkzoNobel noted.

"In our Sustainable Fouling Control initiative, we actively explore and develop alternatives to biocidal-based solutions," commented Oscar Wezenbeek, Director of AkzoNobel Marine and Protective Coatings.

"This development is a great proof point of our continuous focus on delivering eco-friendly solutions to our customers."

AkzoNobel has been a leading player in the development of sustainable marine coatings, having introduced the industry's first biocide-free antifouling coating, Intersleek, in 1996.

According to AkzoNobel, Intersleek has since helped ship owners to save over $3 billion of fuel and 32 million tonnes of CO2.

Despite the complexities of this project, AkzoNobel says it is confident they will be overcome and ultimately expects the technology to completely revolutionize the fouling control industry.

Initially, the focus will be on applications for ships, yachts and offshore assets, but the project could potentially be extended to include other surfaces challenged by bio-fouling issues.

"This unique project is fully aligned with AkzoNobel's continuous focus on innovation," explained Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel's Chief Technology Officer. "In our quest to not only protect and color, but also functionalize surfaces, we actively look for complementary technologies and partners to innovate with. In this case, the combined capabilities and technology of Royal Philips and AkzoNobel will enable us to accelerate the realization of this transformative innovation, which we intend to initially market ourselves and consider licensing out to third parties for large-scale adoption."






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