What is a fouling release system?
Fouling is the term generally used to describe the settlement and growth of marine plants and animals on submerged structures. These structures typically include ships’ hulls, piers, piling and oil rigs. It also includes the internals of pipework used to carry water as a coolant for industrial power plants.
The Fouling release system is nothing but the underwater hull coatings. Antifouling coatings are currently been used in the fleets, mitigating biofouling without relying on biocides. They are smooth, low surface energy materials that minimize the adhesion strength of biofouling like barnacles.
A silicone coating keeps hulls free of marine growth while boosting the vessel’s performance and fuel economy. The Advanced Duplex System is designed for vessels that require a 60-month antifouling system. The system provides first-rate performance for the first 30 months, followed by 30 months of good performance using a self-polishing antifouling.
How does this work?
The unique surface and the properties used for the coatings make if difficult for biofouling to adhere too tightly. The coating is designed such that while ships are at sea, the biofouling ‘sloughs off’ under hydrodynamic flow. This ensures a clean and smooth hull during ship operations.
This duplex system was developed by the US Navy as an alternative to the toxic antifouling products that had been polluting the ports. This was developed to predict performance penalties of U.S. Navy ships.
The primary purpose of a ship antifouling system is to limit the increase in drag that will be incurred with fouling settlement on the hull. Ineffectiveness in this endeavor will lead to an increase in energy consumption and a platform that is unable to meet its mission.
- The performance of the duplex fouling release system does not involve the release of heavy metals or toxins to eliminate marine growth.
- Its effectiveness does not diminish with time, and it has no need for renewal.
- It will have a life of at least five years for a single coating of Duplex and can be expected to maintain the same level performance as on the first day.
- This creates dramatic savings in maintenance costs which users have found to be remarkable.
- 11% of annual propulsive fuel can be saved.
Over the past three years, Duplex has already proved successful in the US market where it has been used on a wide variety of vessels ranging from bulk carriers to tugs and patrol boats. The predicted legislation against toxic antifouling is consequently expected to increase its importance as an effective alternative hull treatment. New licensing agreements now make it available throughout Europe where it is predicted to provide valuable savings for vessel operators.