The future of anti-fouling – now
Ultrasonic anti-fouling technology is making marine growth on hulls and in raw-water cooling systems a thing of the past. This is taking shape against a backdrop of increasingly strict legislation relating to the use of metallic biocides in anti-fouling coatings.
Since 2006 NRG Marine has protected more than 15,000 vessels with its Sonihull ultrasonic anti-fouling systems. According to commercial director Darren Rowlands, the annual maintenance check for most vessels means dry-docking and the shock of seeing the mass of algae from the waterline to the keel.
The traditional solution has always been laborious scraping and power hosing, before coats of anti-foul paint were applied and the boat was relaunched to start another year with a nice clean habitat for algae to again begin its cycle of growth. All the while, fuel consumption increases as the vessel works harder and harder to maintain its standard speed while trying to overcome the drag caused by the marine growth.
He describes the ultrasonic alternative as a ‘fit and forget’ system suitable for GRP, aluminium or steel vessels. The system produces multiple bursts of ultrasonic energy in a range of targeted pulse frequencies. These pulses are transmitted through the material that the transducer is attached to. The ultrasound produces a pattern of alternating positive and negative pressure on the surface of the material and microscopic bubbles are created during the negative cycle and are imploded during the positive cycle.
This microscopic agitation has a cleansing effect which destroys surface algae. Disrupting this first link in the food chain keeps the surface clean and makes it a much less inviting habitat for larger organisms that feed on the algae. The microscopic movement of water also prevents barnacle and mussel larvae from embedding on the surface.
“With no costly anodes to replace, no through-hull fittings or current isolation required for installation, Sonihull has a proven record of reducing a vessel’s operating costs and improving profit margins by up to 30%. Sonihull is maintenance-free and its transducers can be used to prevent marine organisms colonising any solid surface that is exposed to raw seawater,” he said
“Soni8 is the latest addition to the range,” he said.
“With eight independent and programmable outputs, Soni8 can protect every part of the vessel structure from marine fouling. Unlike basic coating systems, Soni8 is low-cost and low-maintenance and has zero poisonous environmental legacy. With one simple panel coupled to eight transducers, Soni8 can protect the entire vessel and all its primary cooling equipment.”
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