Sweden has answer to fouling?

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have developed a new type of eco-friendly antifouling that is said to be 100 per cent effective on barnacles. Developed in cooperation with the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI), the paint can be used on all fouling without hurting any organisms or sediments in the sea, reports IBI magazine.

International Yacht Paint AB has also been part of the new principles for efficient antifoulings, called “post settlement inhibition” (PSI). Pesticides are used in the antifouling, but in contrast to other environmentally damaging paints the PSI-ingredients are harder connected to the paint’s binder, which is why just very small amounts are mixed into the sea. By adding a dissolvent to the paint, the active ingredient is distributed directly to the organism.

Extensive tests with voluntary boat owners have shown that the PSI principle is very efficient, with a reduction of the colonisation of barnacles by 90 to 100 per cent.

“In the long run we hope to prevent fouling of barnacles and animals with help of the PSI principle,” says Professor Hans Elwing at the University of Gothenburg. “Our goal is a marine paint formula that is efficient on all fouling with negligible effects on other organisms in the marine environment.”

The breakthrough in the work with this paint came when scientists found the special dissolvent in the PSI system.

“We were lucky with that discovery. At the same time it has taken us 10 years of research to get where we are now,” says Elwing. “We’ve had many failures, but I’ve also seen a lot of enthusiasm among my colleagues and many boat owners.”

The new PSI principle was developed in cooperation with the research programme MARINORD, financed by NordicInnovation. The goal is to have it on the market within two years.