'Fuel-saving' paint nominated for eco-awards

New hydrogel technology aims to help shipowners cut fuel costs by up to eight percent.

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Updated on 01 Apr 2009 08:10 GMT

Hempel’s new super-silicone antifouling Hempasil X3 has been nominated for three environmental awards for its ability to help shipowners lower their vessels’ carbon footprint by cutting fuel bills by up to eight percent.

The three awards are:

*The Seatrade Award for safe, efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.

*The Green Ship Technology Award for efforts in the maritime industry to improve and maintain the marine environment.

*The Ingeniørens Product Award 2009, recognising outstanding product development and innovation by Danish companies.

The Hempasil X3 system uses Hempel’s pioneering hydrogel silicone technology to prevent fouling organisms from attaching to the hull. This reduces the ship’s drag, thereby improving fuel efficiency by between four to eight per cent in the first year depending on the type of ship, according to Hempel.

The system comes as a package that includes the paint system, the fuel saving guarantee and a third-party onboard fuel monitoring system – SeaTrend® from FORCE Technology – an advanced software tool that measures and documents fuel savings.

Hempasil X3's super water-absorbent hydrogel forms a polymeric network over the hull fooling organisms to perceive the hull as a liquid and not a solid surface – and as a result, they do not try to catch hold. The hydrogel layer is effectively backed up by silicone, known for its self-cleaning properties.

HEMPASIL X3 can be specified for 90-month service intervals, and Hemple says that unlike other fouling release products it works at speeds as low as 8 knots and is still effective at 50 per cent activity levels. This means longer intervals between dry docking (thus saving more money), and at the same time makes fouling release coatings relevant for a greater range of ships.

The fuel saving effects of Hempasil X3 have been documented through towing tank studies and applications on more than 20 vessels, Hempasil said.

According to the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), the world's shipping fleet produces more than 1 billion tonnes of CO2 annually – roughly the same as the total emissions from cars in the USA. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that if the fleet continues to expand at its present rate, CO2 emissions will increase to 1.5 billion tonnes each year by 2020.

"Some of the world’s largest crude oil carriers already use Hempasil X3 to reduce fuel consumption by up to eight per cent. If these reductions were applied across the entire world fleet, its carbon footprint would drop by 80 million tonnes per year – a reduction equal to the entire CO2 emission of the Philippines," said Torben Rasmussen of Hemple.

Hemple says that the environmental credentials of Hempasil X3 are further boosted by its biocide composition and minimal VOC level, ensuring solvent levels are kept to an absolute minimum.