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SigmaKalon BU MPC - SigmaGlide, A Revolutionary "Green" Technology

Published on 2005-05-03. Author : SpecialChem

Controlling fouling on ships has traditionally meant using anti- fouling coatings that release biocides into the sea over the service life of the coating. These biocides interact with settling stages of fouling organisms, such as spores of algae or larvae of animal fouling, and prevent settlement.

Sigma Coatings strong supports research and development of products that fulfill customers' requirements and diminishes - or even prevents - the release of biocide components into the sea that could be harmful to the environment.

R&D has worked hard to develop surfaces with very low surface energy that are intrinsically resistant to fouling adhesion, which means biocide release is unnecessary. Our researchers demonstrated a link between certain low surface energy surfaces and the ability of the surface to "release" settled fouling. (The adhesion of the fouling to these surfaces is tenuous).

A biocide-free product The main output of this research programme is the development of a silicone-based fouling release concept that has been commercialised as SigmaGlide. The product involves two coats, applied in turn to an abrasion resistant epoxy anti-corrosive system. The first coat adheres the silicone system to the anti-corrosive system and the second applies the fouling release properties. Because SigmaGlide is not an anti-fouling product, it contains no biocides and as a result is not governed by regulatory requirements.

The system has been extensively tested by a number of operators worldwide. Results show that the system lives up to performance expectations with respect to the ability of the surface to release any fouling settlement. Settlement can occur at speeds from five to 15 knots, for example when the ship moves after a lay-up period and can be eliminated by a low pressure water wash when the ship dry docks.

Substantial cost benefits The market has responded favourably to the biocide-free quality of the product, as well as its ability to maintain a long-term reduction in fouling settlement.

This justifies the initial cost of installing this relatively expensive system as return on investment begins to accrue in one to two years, depending on the types of vessels and their operating patterns. Operators of the first ships coated with this product have shown an immediate improvement in fuel consumption of up to 3%.

The initial focus has been on ships operating at faster speeds on scheduled trade routes, for example container ships, car carriers and gas tankers. However, other vessels, such as cruise ships, whose image can be improved by the use of more environmentally friendly products are also being targeted.

Source: SigmaKalon


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