Study: Algae Provides Antifouling Properties in Paints
A new study conducted by Egypt’s National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries utilized algae to create environmentally friendly, antifouling marine paints.
For the study, researchers utilized extracts from four different Egyptian marine macroalgae: Ulva fasciata, Cymodocea nodosa, Padina pavonia and Colpomenia sinusa.
The water soluble polysaccharides (WSP), proteins and lipids were combined with paint into sixteen compositions, aiming to act as a biocide to create environmentally safe, antifouling marine paints. Each type of these algal extracts was mixed solely by 2% (w/w) for WSP and protein and 1% (w/w) for lipid with the prepared paint formulation.
These paints were applied to unprimed steel panels, hung on a steel frame alongside a control and submerged in the Eastern Harbour of Alexandria, Egypt. Researchers collected sea water samples to analyze during assessment, as well as visually inspected and photographed the panels.
After 171 days of immersion, results showed:
The best results were with panels coated with the formulations containing WSP. Researchers also report that the measured hydrographical parameters were within the normal range indicating that the paint compositions are environmentally safe.
The full study, which was recently published in Progress in Organic Coatings, can be found here.
Other Antifoulant Research
In August, researchers at Australia's sovereign-owned submarine sustainment and maritime services company ASC found that a new type of surface coating could eliminate marine biofouling, or sea organism growth, on the hulls of naval vessels and other submerged surfaces.
Led by experts from Flinders University with partners ASC, the University of South Australia (who is providing expert advice and samples for coating materials) and the Department of Defense, worked together to develop practical applications that could end the scourge of marine biofouling.
In breakthrough experiments, researchers demonstrated how electrically charged surface coatings could better mitigate, even eliminate, these issues. Flinders University's Professor Mats Andersson, Director of Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology and Theme Leader in the Biofilm Research and Innovation Consortium, reported that the latest inspections of the samples showed that the team’s research was performing exceptionally well.
The research was funded by the South Australian Defense Innovation Partnership program, who provided $150,000 for the project. Additionally, the research is supported by the South Australian Government and the Department of Defense.
The Defense Innovation Partnership has activated promising innovations in South Australia’s defense sector since 2018. The program received almost $10 million in additional funding, over the next four years, in the South Australian budget in June.
The experiments were conducted at ASC’s deep submarine maintenance facility in Adelaide, Australia.
For the research, ASC—which maintains and upgrades Australia’s Collins Class submarine fleet—was noted to have provided advice, laboratory and wharf facilities for submerging the samples.
Later that month, Detroit-based sustainability tech startup Repela Tech LLC from Wayne State University was awarded a grant to research and develop an eco-friendly marine coating for ships and vessels.
Awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II grant will be used to further develop the university startup’s patent-pending (WSU Tech ID 20-1601) first-of-a-kind, safe antifouling marine coating.
In Repela’s “STTR Phase II: The Next Generation of Environmentally Friendly Coatings for Marine Antifouling” project, the research team hopes to develop a competitive, non-toxic antifoulant that avoids harmful environmental impacts.
While the antifoulant is in the patent-pending stages, in the project’s next phase, the team plans to fine-tune the formulation to meet marine end-user performance requirements, in addition to regulatory benchmarks.
In addition, researchers intend to demonstrate small-batch production capabilities. Repela reports that the work will lead to a rigorously tested, high-performing eco-friendly antifouling solution that will be ready for the marketplace.