Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Another Weapon in the War against Alien Pollution at Sea

Sound Technology Used to Fight Bio-fouling
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Bio-fouling is one of the main problems faced by every type of vessel at sea, with bio-film forming the base for marine growths such as algae, barnacles, and mussels which in turn can cause further issues for vessels leading to decreased ship performance, increased fuel costs, and corrosion, as well as problems for the wider environment with the potential introduction of invasive alien species to a new ecosystem. Traditional antifouling techniques have become outdated as their toxicity was realised but the dangers presented to the environment by hulls coated with unwelcome foreign invaders mean global authorities are starting to take notice.

This begs the question what is the use of cleaning the ballast water, when the ship arrives with millions of organisms sitting on the sides and bottom? New regulations introduced mean some countries are insisting on proof of hull cleaning prior to arrival in their waters, and scrubbing hulls, by robot system or otherwise, can be a time consuming and expensive business.

Ultrasonic antifouling technology is not a new concept, believed to have been created by the US Navy in the 1950s when, during sonar tests on submarines, it was discovered that hull growth on the areas surrounding the sonar tubes was much less pronounced than that on the rest of the hull. Ultrasonic anti-fouling technologies have proved to be one of the more environmentally friendly methods of preventing marine growth and Hasytec Electronics has developed and refined an Ultrasound system in the hopes of solving the bio-fouling problem.

Hasytec's ultrasound system, called Dynamic Biofilm Protection (DBP) is designed to be installed in ships without interfering with the existing machinery or equipment on board. The sound emanates from the control box and is transmitted through cables to the transducers that are fixed to the equipment or part of the ship where biofilm occurs. This can be in obvious spots such as hull and propellers, but also in less visible areas where organisms can clog pipework and tanks etc.

The control box ensures a steady and constant flow of controlled sequences of different frequencies to make sure that all micro-organisms are destroyed. The ultrasound is transmitted at such high frequencies that the vacuole of the single celled organisms implode, with no impact on any other marine life.

The components of the new system have been class approved and the system itself is set to soon be certified by a classification society.