Koninklijke Vereniging - Société Royale



Tanker trials prove Selektopes’s resistance success

Coating systems that contain I-Tech’s patented fouling prevention system Selektope are claimed to offer superior anti-barnacle performance under all conditions (static or in motion).

One of Selektope’s prime advantages is its static performance. It also offers shipowners an alternative to the traditional biocides used in coating systems.

Selektope repels barnacles from attaching to the surface of the hull via its unique pharmacological mode of action that works to prevent barnacle larvae by inducing hyperactivity. The system’s fouling prevention mechanism works by temporarily stimulating the cyprid larvae octopamine receptor and activating swimming behaviour.

The effects of this neurological scrambling are temporary, with the larvae returning to normal functional capacity shortly after encountering the Selektope present in the ship’s hull coating.

Another advantage is that it can either boost copper containing formulations, or it is powerful enough to replace copper – giving shipowners the option of copper-free coatings with the same performance as copper coating systems.

For the paint manufacturers, the advantage is that only a minute quantity of Selektope is required to ensure leaching rates and efficacy – just 0.1% w/w.

The background to Selektope’s development was that average global water temperatures were increasing. Ships were idling in subtropical/tropical areas and there was a growing regulatory movement against the transportation of invasive species by ships. These issues, whilst of great concern for shipyards and ship operators alike, created innovation in the coatings sector, as the pressure mounted on antifouling coatings to perform through changing environmental and market conditions.

The issue of biofouling was becoming an increasing problem for some Asian shipyards, as newly launched vessels lay idle in warming waters, suffering the effects of intense fouling during the three to four month fitting out process, I-Tech said.

This accumulation of biofouling on the hull can impact both the newly applied coating and the ship performance of a new ship leaving the yard. This resulted in shipyards pushing for antifouling solutions that ensure static performance during outfitting. In parallel shipowners were demanding solutions that were suitable and ensuring good fouling prevention for vessels with differing activity levels, whether they were in active service, idle for long periods of time, or fluctuating between the two.

This future-proofing approach to antifouling coatings selection exerted major pressure on the coatings suppliers and in turn spawned new approaches to the development and trialling of fouling prevention technology.

Decade of R&D

For example, in Sweden, biotech innovator I-Tech dedicated over a decade of research and development work to these issues from the company’s Gothenburg headquarters. The company’s quest to find, develop and commercialise a fouling prevention technology alternative commenced in the wake the IMO ‘s decision to ban the application of tributyltin (TBT)- based paints on vessels, as of 1st January, 2003.

The ‘green light’ for global market deployment came in 2015 when I-Tech received EC recognition for Selektope, enabling it to be included in anti-fouling products sold throughout the EU as of 1st January, A 2016, in accordance with the terms of the EU Biocidal Products Regulation.

This accreditation was in addition to those already secured for use as an active agent in Japan, China and South korea.

Last year was a turning point for the technology, as the first commercial, Selektope­containing coating products for use on ocean going vessels were launched on the market, in addition to ship trials being conducted over a period of 12 months, which were claimed to have yielded incredible results.

The trials consisted of a copper-free Chugoku Marine Paints (CMP) hull coating containing Selektope being applied to the sides of Laurin Maritime’s 2010-built, 46,067 dwt IMO II chemical and products tanker ‘Calypso’ during her first five-year survey at Sembcorp, Singapore.

Laurin Maritime’s technical director Bertil Andersson said; “It was important that the company selected a coating that can cope with conditions in the ‘red zones’ in which their ships operate, where water temperature can be high and fouling can be problematic if a ship is at anchorage for three to four weeks.”

The ‘Calypso’ operates in several areas, including East and south Asia, the Americas and Australia, making it the perfect ship for the trials.

“The application of a Selektope-containing coating comes after several years of strong performance trial results,” said Mikael Laurin, Laurin Maritime CEO.

The hydrodynamic analysis of performance data during the trials was carried out by independent party - Propulsion Dynamics. Operating rates were measured by fuel oil consumption and power output. After 12 months, the vessel was measured to have increased its resistance to fouling by a total of 3%, compared with a benchmark new vessel that would see an increase in resistance of 5- 10 %.

This benchmark is made up of a many different vessels with different coatings related to the size of Propulsion Dynamics’ database. This benchmark allows for the comparison of one ship to a variety of similar vessels, thus addressing the problem that it is not possible to compare equal ships with each other when analysing and contrasting coatings performance.

The trials on the ‘Calypso’ also showed that the increase in resistance came mainly from the propeller at 3%, with the remaining resistance being measured on the hull.

However, I-Tech chairman, Stefan Sedersten, applied a note of caution when celebrating the successful trial results, saying that: “Although there are very convincing long-term performance results from patches, more time is required to confirm the promising results from ‘Calypso’ [and] there would need to be further trials of Selektope for longer periods so that the long-term effects of the biocide can be measured.”

At present, only CMP has I-Tech products on the market. However, it is not exclusive to the company, as other paint manufacturers are developing products and some are very close to being launched on the market.
Thus far, three CMP products contain Skeletope - SEA GRANDPRIX 880HS PLUS which was the third product launched containing this system, joining CMP’s SEAFLO NEO CF Premium and SEAFLO NEO-S PREMIUM products, both launched in August, 2016.

Apart from the trials on the Laurin MR, the majority of the 150 or so orders thus far recorded have been for product carriers, LPG carriers and VLCCs - although applications have also been made to other ship types.

“As demand for Selektope soars, the number of antifouling products that contain our unique bio-repellent ingredients is expanding. This ensures that shipowners and operators have a selection of products to choose from, and confirms the flexibility and compatibility of our product with a range of different antifouling ingredients,” said Philip Chaabane, I-Tech AB CEO.   




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