Company Tests Antifouling Graphene Coating
Ship repair and conversion yard Gibdock, located in Gibraltar on Spain’s south coast, recently announced that it has undergone a 30-day project with XGIT-Fuel, an antifouling coating from Graphite Innovation & Technologies Inc. (GIT).
According to a release from JLA Media, the project was conducted on a 229-meter-long bulk carrier, Donald M. James, owned by the Vulica Shipping Company.
About the Project
The ship reportedly entered Gibdock’s No. 1 Dock for extensive work, such as renewal to cargo holds, piping, thrusters, tail shafts and rudders. The yard also reportedly applied GIT’s antifouling coating that includes durable graphene.
The foul release coating reported offers additional impact resistance, is absent of biocides and has a low VOC content.
‘Gibdock remains ahead of the curve as a shiprepair and conversion yard geared up for the sustainable maritime future.’https://t.co/jH3937dMuz— Gibdock Shipyard (@GibdockLtd) November 8, 2023
The coating also reportedly possesses a smooth finish to help minimize drag and reduce a ship's emissions. With the ability to self-clean when traveling at 10 to 12 knots, XGIT-Fuel has the potential improve a ship's efficiency by 7% to 10% and can be used in a variety of yard conditions, from 23 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees F.
“In line with revised International Maritime Organization targets on greenhouse gas emissions for 2030, 2040 and 2050, Gibdock continues to seek out work that enables decarbonization in shipping,” said Richard Beards, managing director, Gibdock.
“In this case, we renewed our relationship with Wilhelmsen Ship Management, which approached us on behalf of the owner to take on our first graphene-based coatings project. Donald M James was redelivered on time, on budget and to what GIT’s inspectors considered exceptional standards.”
John Taylor, operations director at Gibdock, stated that the company's coatings team “took the application of the patented coating formulation in stride.”
The XGIT-Fuel topcoat was reportedly applied to the ship’s vertical sides, with XGIT-Prop applied in three-layers to propeller after grit blasting. “No special hoses or spray tips were required; our team handled this job as a routine part of the project," Taylor added.
“Our role is to support shipping as it responds to the IMO’s decarbonization targets and the EU’s Green Deal directives,” Beards said. “The picture on future fuels is confused, while making the right investments on sustainability also depends on a vessel’s type, age and operating profile, among other factors. Yards need to be flexible and ready to offer customers the full range of options, whether their priority is alternative fuels, energy saving, emissions abatement or carbon capture.”
Gibdock was also reportedly able to demonstrate its efficiency in cooperating with the ship on short notice, following a change in plans from an originally scheduled drydock.
According to the press release, Gibdock is located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The release states that the shipyard's workload has included multiple exhaust gas scrubber and ballast water management system retrofits, LNG-fuelled engine servicing and installation of energy saving devices.
“This project ranks as another successful application thanks to all the partners involved, reinforcing the growing reputation of our hard foul release coatings as one of the simplest ways to improve vessel efficiency and protect the environment,” said Maiko Arras, director of business development Europe, GIT Coatings.
Other GIT Projects
In April, GIT signed a two-year agreement with Stolt Tankers to apply its graphene-based marine coating to ship propellers.
According to the release, GIT’s XGIT-Prop is an eco-friendly product that reduces marine growth and improves propulsion efficiency while ensuring no harmful toxins or biocides are released into the ocean. Stolt will reportedly be the first chemical tanker company to apply the coating to its fleet.
XGIT-Prop is a graphene-based propeller coating that was designed to release the growth of fouling on ship propellers and reduce the frequency of propeller “polishings” or cleanings after two to three coats.
Additionally, it maintains the propulsive efficiency of the propeller and reduces damage due to cavitation, lowering noise emissions.
Previously, Stolt Tankers completed a trial of the GIT graphene propeller coating on the Stolt Acer in April 2022. The company noted a significant reduction in fuel consumption and subsequently applied the coating to five additional ships.
GIT added that it expected the coating to reduce biofouling impact and noise emissions from the company’s ships, helping to lower the impact to life below water while improving fuel efficiency. Stolt also reported that the application supported its decarbonization ambitions and reinforces the company’s commitment to sustainability.
The two-year agreement saw that XGIT-Prop graphene-based marine coating was applied to the propellers of 25 Stolt Tankers ships during 2023.
Later, in July, GIT announced that it would be supplying its graphene-based, biocide-free propeller coating for global shipping management company Eastern Pacific Shipping's entire fleet.
GIT stated that they began working with EPS the previous year, and the shipping company then planned to apply XGIT-PROP to 15 vessels that were drydocking in 2023 and 2024. The deal, the release stated, would establish a strategic alignment “with a focus on sustainability and decarbonization, with the goal being the protection of the world’s oceans through green shipping.”
Initially, EPS had reportedly applied XGIT-Prop to the propeller of an LPG tanker, QUEBEC. Since then, EPS stated that the vessel had seen improved performance and maintained its Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) rating. According to the release, the success of the LPG tanker’s coating led EPS to expand on the adoption of this technology.
GIT stated to have developed several marine coatings for fleets interested in reducing their environmental impact. According to the report, XGIT-Prop is a three-layer graphene-based coating, specifically designed for harsh operational conditions.
The release also said that GIT's coating can reduce the need for propeller polishings, as well as damage from cavitation.