The Brunel Innovation Centre (BIC), a research centre operating as a long-term strategic partnership with TWI Ltd, has recently completed a two year pan-European collaborative project, funded by the EC, to develop an effective, non-invasive and novel solution for prevention and detection of fouling on ships.
The marine industry spends billions of pounds globally to address the issues and challenges associated with fouling, using a variety of protection methods such as coatings and cleaning tools. Six months without protection against marine fouling deposits can lead to increased drag on the hull so much so that a ship may use up to 40% more fuel and produce 40% more CO2 emissions.
CleanShip had the following objectives:
- develop a cost-effective approach for fouling prevention without the need to take the ship out of service
- deploy continuous waves to prevent or slow down the accumulation of fouling
- continually monitor the changes in pulsed waves, caused by fouling growth, to allow earlier detection and cheaper removal.
The CleanShip system developed important advantages:
- use of ultrasonic guided waves to ultimately provide total coverage of marine fouling prevention on a ship hull
- detection of fouling build up on a ship hull using attenuation measurements
- use of advanced signal processing for calculating long term attenuation changes due to marine fouling build up and growth towards a preventative maintenance.
Field trial successes
In the initial stages of the project, trials for biofouling prevention on steel plates, both provided by Enkon (Turkey) and WRS Marine (Holland), with transducers from Sofchem (France) characterised by BIC, were carried out in a real port environment in Holland.
Single and multichannel generators, including the Teletest long-range guide wave ultrasonic test system, were experimented with for inducing ultrasonic waves on plates for the duration of the trial, which lasted approximately 45 days. Following feedback from the initial field trials, the CleanShip consortium went on to further validation through field trials for longer duration (over three months) in Holland, where the CleanShip project has come to a successful conclusion. The new technology has been well received by the industry.
For further information please see www.cleanship-project.eu
This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 312706.