A report from Subsea Industries says its Ecospeed range of hard coat marine coatings is now optimised to reduce hull friction by up to 40%, resulting in a comparable percentage saving in fuel consumption. The report, based on more than 500 ship references, says the environmentally safe hard coatings now solve the cardinal problem of squaring optimum hull performance with effective and environmentally-safe ship hull protection.

Manuel Hof, Production Executive and NACE Coatings Inspector at Subsea Industries, says: “We have cracked a number of really important problems with one simple, highly cost-effective approach to hull antifouling. Not only have we optimised hull surface roughness, thus drag, resulting in fuel savings in the 20-40% range, we have solved the corrosion and cavitation erosion problems that often beset other marine coating systems. We have also halted completely the ship-to-sea emissions of volatile organic compounds and other harmful toxins common in conventional hull coatings, such as copper and dibutyltin dilaurate.”

By optimising surface roughness to its absolutely attainable optimum limits without future deterioration or degradation, Subsea Industries considers the age-old problem of hull surface friction solved – something that even silicon-based systems cannot fully achieve.

“The Ecospeed range of coatings has a dimpled effect on application which is scientifically proven to improve hydrodynamic efficiency. However, while other coating systems degrade overtime, resulting in increased fouling, regular hull cleaning improves the coating’s performance, creating a smoother finish, resulting in significant continuous improvements to operational performance.

“In contrast with traditional antifouling compounds that rapidly degrade in time, our coatings last, hence the performance of the ship does not degrade either.”
“While Ecospeed hulls need to be cleaned regularly, the cost of in-situ underwater cleaning dwarfs the high expenditure incurred with regular drydockings and recoats and this can be recouped from the fuel savings gained,” said Hof.

The NACE Inspector goes on to explain that Subsea Industries’ continued investment in research and development has resulted in a coating that completely mitigates the hull transfer of invasive species and the leeching of toxic chemicals into the marine environment.

In 2008, stringent tests were carried out to provide scientific data and to authenticate the non-toxicity of the Ecospeed hull performance technology. This research concluded that the coating is 100% free of toxic substances and that there is no negative effect on the water quality or the marine environment at any point of its application or use. Moreover, the massive amounts of VOC and zinc anode emission associated with conventional hull coating systems are reduced to almost zero.