Solutions for protection against fouling and biocorrosion

Symposium in Bremen presents research results of the joint research project "Foulprotect".

Solutions for protection against fouling and biocorrosion are in the focus of the "Foulprotect" project. Source: zolotareva_elina - -

The 14 partners of the joint project “Foulprotect” are committed to the development of durable and environmentally friendly, biocide-free antifouling systems and cleaning concepts. During a symposium at the Fraunhofer IFAM in Bremen, Germany, numerous participants presented their research results to their project partners and other participants.

Special underwater coatings prevent barnacles, mussels and algae from causing fouling and biocorrosion on ships and maritime facilities such as offshore platforms. Conventional paints, however, are usually ecologically questionable. The common motivation of the “Foulprotect” participants is the protection against fouling and the prevention of biocorrosion in maritime technology.

Coordinated by Fraunhofer IFAM

The overall coordinator of the project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), is the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM. Other companies and institutes involved are the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Paderborn, AG Reederei Norden-Frisia, LimnoMar, Momentive Performance Materials, Muehlhahn Deutschland, the company Nordseetaucher, Salzgitter Mannesmann Line Pipe, German Drydocks, Ginco Holding, and the paint manufacturer Mankiewicz.

Dr Thomas Rüggeberg of the BMWi, Department of Maritime Economics, presented the “Maritime Research Strategy 2025” at the beginning of the conference and emphasised the cross-sectional character of the “Foulprotect” project, in which different disciplines came together. “The importance of cross-sectional topics is increasing,” said Rüggeberg. The joint project is a typical example of this.

Focus on entire process chain

“Foulprotect” focuses on the entire process chain, from application-oriented basic research to shipbuilding and the offshore sector, to proof of the practicability of the solutions developed. The project had a duration of three and a half years.


Coordinator of the project: Sascha Buchbach, Fraunhofer IFAM.

Sascha Buchbach, project coordinator at IFAM, pointed out the negative consequences of biofouling such as increased fuel consumption, weight increase, reduced manoeuvrability, damage to the coating structure and increased corrosion.

He also referred to the so-called species displacement: “The introduction of alien species can lead to regional damage in the ecosystems and industries that exist there.”

Project objective

Buchbach also sketched the project objective of developing and validating a new coating concept, including:

– The development of biocide-free coatings

– New cleaning technologies

– The combination of cleaning and organic coating as well as

– Inorganic coatings and mortar systems

In addition to the development of biocide-free coating concepts, especially for ships, the scientists are also focusing on the marine growth of concrete structures standing under water. Special mortar coating concepts are designed to prevent microbially induced corrosion. At the same time, new cleaning methods are being evaluated that are adapted to the coating material and enable the fouling to be removed with little effort and do not damage the paint or the coating structure.

Presentation of first approaches

In Bremen, the raw material manufacturer Momentive, the University of Paderborn and the Fraunhofer IFAM presented first approaches for novel biocide-free and structured coatings. The company Nordseetaucher and the LimnoMar laboratory presented their findings for cleaning techniques and the combination with coatings.

Bernd Daehne from the Institute for Antifouling and Biocorrosion Dr. Brill + Partner presented a test bench for testing antifouling coatings, which was developed during the course of the project. The simulated tests take place on the island of Norderney.

The shipping association expressed their wish for more practical suitability. The approaches were interesting, but they were not a “quantum leap”, a representative said. For example, there are different requirements worldwide for the cleaning of ships. The European biocides regulation only applies EU-wide, while ships are sailing on all seas.

“Stilll a long way to go”

“A solution for large shipping cannot be expected after three years,” Bernd Daehne replied. Rather, the route could initially lead via pleasure boats and coastal shipping and then possibly in the direction of merchant shipping.

“We have generated many new approaches,” Sascha Buchbach concluded, “but we have not found THE antifouling solution.” He was pleased about the controversial discussion but also aware that there is still a long way to go. But: “We want to continue on this topic.”

Dr Dorothea Stübing from IFAM, who presented the results of the EU project “Seafront” at the conference, will head a new working group on the topic of maritime vegetation, anti-fouling and biocorrosion.

“Foulprotect” session at the European Coatings Show Conference 2019

By the way: At the European Coatings Show Conference on 18 and 19 March 2019 in Nuremberg, Germany, individual partners of the “Foulprotect” project will present their results in a coherent session.

By Kirsten Wrede

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