Damen Shipyards has teamed up with coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel and electronics specialist Philips to further develop a fouling control solution for hulls that uses UV-C light technology.
The proposed solution integrates UV-C light-emifting diodes (LEDs) into a coating scheme that emits enough light to prevent biofouling accumulation on the protected area. AkzoNobel and Philips have been working on this solution since 2017, with the aim of offering a legitimately biocide-free fix for ship and boat owners, although Philips has been experimenting with UV-C LED technology since 2014.
Previous research into UV-C LEDs has focused primarily on applications such as water treatment and sterilisation, as well as its potential to produce germicidal lamps to disinfect air, surfaces and objects – for which the technology has registered an uptick in interest since the arrival of COVID-19. However, UV-C LEDs are not believed to have been deployed in open water conditions before. Over the past six years, AkzoNobel and Philips have conducted several small-scale sea trials of the UV-C solution aboard commercial vessels, yielding what the partners call “promising progress”.
Ralph Slikkerveer, research and development director for marine, protective and yacht coatings at AkzoNobel, comments: “Bringing Damen Shipyards on board will add expertise in areas such as vessel integration. As a leading international shipbuilder, Damen will bring essential knowledge and experience and significantly increase our chances of success.
“By working together as a strong partnership of three complementary Dutch companies, we’re confident we can combine our capabilities to deliver a sustainable solution that could completely revolutionise the fouling control industry.” Damen adds that the marine sector can expect to see a newbuild incorporating the UV-C LED paint solution in “the near future”