Asia’s largest paint and coatings company has joined R&D forces with a major Japanese transport company to produce what the venture calls a low-friction ship-bottom paint.
The coating, called LF-Sea, was developed by Japan-based Nippon Paint Marine Coatings and field-tested by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL).
Fuel Savings Touted
LF-Sea uses a component called hydrogel, which is a naturally derived material, according to Mitsui.
“The hydrogel allows water to fill in small indentations on the hull to minimize friction drag,” a company statement says. “LF-Sea can realize about [a] 4% reduction in fuel consumption, compared to an identical vessel using conventional bottom paint.”
Mitsui says the new coating improved fuel efficiency in sea trials with the car carrier Neptune Ace, which is designed to carry 6,400 cars and was built by Minaminippon Shipbuilding in Japan. The trials were completed Oct. 27.
MOL said it had “taken a proactive stance” in developing and adopting the coating as part of its environmental initiatives. Reducing friction drag is an effective way to reduce CO2 emissions during vessel operation, the company notes.
Research to Continue
MOL and Nippon Paint will continue joint research and development on an ultra-high fuel-efficient ship-bottom paint with the aim of further CO2 reduction.
“These companies will strive to further improve LF-Sea paint with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 8% to 12%, compared to conventional anti-fouling paints,” MOL said. “MOL believes the performance assessment on the new building PCTC will serve as a benchmark for the continuing development of an ultra-high efficient hull coating.”
The R&D initiative is one of several subsidized by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s project to develop marine vessel technology that curtails CO2 project.