Fighting fouling with fibres

The Thorn-D antifouling foil has proven its worth during the Damen/Micanti pilot project The Thorn-D antifouling foil has proven its worth during the Damen/Micanti pilot project
Industry Database

Damen and Dutch antifouling provider, Micanti, say they’ve made a “real ecological and cost-efficient breakthrough” for shipping companies and shipyards.

The two parties joined forces for a pilot project back in 2013 to analyse the benefits of using Micanti’s Thorn-D thin antifouling foil over traditional antifoulings.

Unlike traditional copper antifouling coatings, the company’s non-toxic antifouling adhesive foil, which lasts for more than five years, is effective in all conditions whether a vessel is moored or sailing. The foil’s fibres create a textured surface which acts like a physical barrier to prevent organisms such as mussels, barnacles and algae, from settling on the hull of a vessel.

“When I met Micanti’s staff for the first time, I was sceptical about using fibres to prevent marine growth. And due to Thorn-D’s textured surface as opposed to a smooth conventional coating, I expected an increase in drag and fuel consumption,” said Willem Spoelstra, manager environment and safety nautical department at the Port of Amsterdam, where the project took place.

For tests, two virtually identical sister vessels were treated with two different coatings. Castor, a Damen Stan Tug 1907, was treated with a well-known conventional antifouling coating, while Pollux, also a Stan Tug 1907, was treated with the new foil, Thorn-D. Both vessels operated at low speed in the Port of Amsterdam, under the same conditions and in the same waters.

“Thorn-D lives up to its promise ― it prevents marine growth without increasing drag,” added Mr Spoelstra.

The foil is also environmentally friendly as it works without emitting toxic chemicals which harm marine life, unlike traditional copper based anti-fouling paint.

“Not only have our pilot project and research results proven Thorn-D’s outstanding performance, our clients from the Middle East, for example, are also positive about our new product. And these clients are constantly battling marine growth,” added Dr Rik Breur, managing director of Micanti.

By Rachael Doyle

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