Sustainability drives innovation in decking systems

by | 31st August 2022 | The Naval Architect - News, Naval Architecture

Home News Sustainability drives innovation in decking systems
Bolideck Future Teak Decking

Viking Cruises’ new ship Viking Neptune will set sail on the Mediterranean in November, before embarking on the 2023-2024 Viking World Cruise. With its diverse itineraries taking in everything from subarctic Scandinavia to the tropical waters of Southeast Asia and Latin America, the 227m newbuild will be faced a wide range of temperatures and climates. Therefore it required an outdoor decking solution that could withstand near-freezing conditions as well as long exposure to direct sunlight, heat and humidity.


Building on a relationship dating back to Viking’s foundation in 1997, the owner called on the expertise of Dutch resin applications specialist Bolidt, whose decking systems feature on all of its river, ocean and expedition cruise vessels.


For Viking Neptune, Viking chose the Bolideck Future Teak, which represents a lightweight and more sustainable alternative to genuine teak. With Bolideck Select also featuring onboard the ship, Bolidt installed approximately 7,500m2  of decking in total, covering all outdoor areas.


“We have worked with Viking for a long time, so we know exactly what is expected of us when supplying decking for one of its vessels,” Jacco van Overbeek, director maritime, Bolidt, tells The Naval Architect. “Viking places great emphasis on sustainable operations and favours simple, elegant design. Bolideck Future Teak has the look and feel of real teak but is more resilient and far less harmful to the environment, making it the ideal solution.”


The decking solution’s hardwearing and UV-resistant qualities make it a good match for a wide range of weather conditions, van Overbeek adds.


Bolidt’s longstanding relationship with Viking covers both newbuilds and retrofits and has seen the companies collaborate at shipyards in Italy, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Egypt and the US. With additional projects scheduled in China, Bolidt will have finalised six Viking newbuild projects by the year end.


Innovation Centre


Bolidt’s scope of supply for Viking Neptune also included a built-in deck-heating system designed at the company’s Innovation Centre near Rotterdam to prevent ice formation in the extreme cold. “Innovation is part of Bolidt’s DNA,” says van Overbeek. “If you don’t think about the future, you will not have one.”


“The future is very much about sustainability, which is a continuing focus for Bolidt,” he adds.


Sustainability is not a new concept for the company. Bolideck Future Teak was developed over 15 years ago, amidst environmental concerns that teak forests were being decimated and that wood was not always legally sourced.


“We are now developing lightweight systems more and more,” says van Overbeek. “A large cruise ship can save around 60,000kg just with weight reductions to the base layer, contributing to significant fuel savings.”


Bolidt’s specialists at the Innovation Centre are also busy working on the development of bio-based hardeners to replace their chemical counterparts. Not only will they have a better ecological footprint than comparable fossil products, van Overbeek believes that bio-based hardeners will soon become a prerequisite. “The chemical-based hardener has a very tiny hazard risk to it. It’s minuscule, but in future it will give reasons for shipyards to say, we can’t use you anymore. It’s a problem every resin company has.


“There’s also a possibility that chemical-based hardeners will be banned from the market in a few years’ time, and it’s something that we need to be aware of and something that we need to work on.”


As part of its innovation programme, the company is working with TU (Technical University) Delft to further research into solar power, which van Overbeek sees as a significant evolving concept in decking systems.


“We are working together to find a way for the decks to generate electricity from the sun,” he explains. “What we’re looking at is a liquid material that can harvest solar energy. We require a bit more time before we get there, but it’s something that, once we have it, every cruise line will want. And if we can use that energy to power our deck-heating system, well that would be perfect.”

Related Posts