The tiny LEDs that could stop vessel hull fouling in its tracks

The innovation will integrate UV light-emitting diodes in a protective coating scheme which will allow for the UV light to be emitted from the coating surface (Photo: AksoNobel) The innovation will integrate UV light-emitting diodes in a protective coating scheme which will allow for the UV light to be emitted from the coating surface (Photo: AksoNobel)

Worldwide coatings giant AkzoNobel is to develop a revolutionary fouling prevention technology which uses ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LED).

The pioneering solution – which uses underlying technology developed by Royal Philips – will be applied to underwater surfaces to eliminate fouling growth.

By teaming up AkzoNobel’s cutting-edge surface protection and adhesion know-how with Royal Philips’ unrivalled capabilities and intellectual property in UV-LED lighting and electronics, the two companies are aiming to develop an economically viable solution for underwater fouling prevention.

The innovation will integrate UV light-emitting diodes in a protective coating scheme which will allow for the UV light to be emitted from the coating surface, providing the total prevention of biofouling accumulation on the surface of the protected area.

According to AksoNobel, ‘the fully biocide-free solution will provide groundbreaking performance and offer complete fouling prevention to the hulls of ships and boats. The total control of biofouling represents a substantial economic and environmental benefit, and when realized, the impact of this new technology on vessel owners and operators will be hugely significant’.

Despite the complexities of this project, AkzoNobel is again confident they will be overcome and ultimately expects the technology to completely revolutionize the fouling control industry. Initially, the focus will be on applications for ships, yachts and offshore assets, but the project could potentially be extended to include other surfaces challenged by bio-fouling issues.

By Jake Frith

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