Biofouling is the accumulation of marine organisms on underwater surfaces, such as ship hulls. This accumulation accelerates the degradation of ship hulls and increases the friction on the surface of the hull. That has a big impact on the fuel consumption of the ship.
To make sure that AIRCOAT technologies don’t lose one of his benefits, prototype experiments in laboratories and under real conditions are taking place.
AIRCOAT prototypes experiments under real conditions
The biofouling experiments are conducted in Malta at AquaBioTech Group’s offshore testing site in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Helgoland sea (Germany) by Hochschule Bremen (HSB).
The AIRCOAT samples are submerged for six months. With this process we are able to test the durability of the prototypes under real life conditions. Twice a month the team goes underwater to check and photograph the samples.
Image analysis and species identification
After six months in the sea the samples are brought back to the laboratories for image analysis. The software used analyses and defines the species that are attached to the samples.
In parallel, tests are conducted on samples under laboratory conditions with diverse model fouling species, assessing their behaviour towards the different samples and the air layer.
These two kinds of conditions are then compared to see what kind of species remained attached or not.
We have already observed that when there is air, species cannot attach to the layer.
At the end of the analysis, the team tests the cleanability of the samples by cleaning them with a water jet.