Selektope® to protect new Mercy Ships hospital ship

Selektope® to protect new Mercy Ships hospital ship

Selektope® has been selected to protect the hull of Global Mercy, the newest hospital ship built for Mercy Ships, from barnacle fouling while docked for long periods of time at ports located in biofouling red zones off the coast of sub-Saharan Africa.

Mercy Ships is a charitable organisation whose volunteers provide medical treatment and undertake urgent operations onboard hospital ships docked at local ports in some of the poorest countries in the world. Since 1978, its medical missions have worked in more than 55 nations, providing services worth over USD $ 1.7 billion and helping more than 2.8 million people. The charity currently operates the converted passenger-ship Africa Mercy, but when their new, purpose-built hospital ship Global Mercy enters into active service in 2021, their capacity to help those in need will more than double.  

Following recent healthcare challenges caused by the spread of COVID-19, and its impact on already fragile healthcare systems in Africa, the mission of Mercy Ships to strengthen healthcare systems through the provision of both medical care and healthcare professional training onboard the Global Mercy is even more vital.

The contract to build the Global Mercy was awarded to the Xingang shipyard in Tianjin, China in 2014, with Stena RoRo appointed by Mercy Ships as project manager. When considering the hull coating for the Global Mercy, Stena RoRo selected an antifouling coating containing Selektope® that would protect the hull from hard fouling during extensive static periods. In support of the charity’s vital work, I-Tech AB has donated the required volumes of Selektope® to Mercy Ships.

For any ship spending time at anchor for extended periods, the risk of barnacle colonisation on the hull is very high. The nature of the voluntary aid Mercy Ships provides means that its hospital ships are often stationary in port for up to 10 months. Therefore, barnacle fouling could be a costly nuisance for Mercy Ships, both due to increased fuel costs when the hospital ship is sailing between ports due to increased frictional resistance on the hull, in addition to costs associated with drydocking the ship to mechanically remove hard fouling, if required.

Selektope® is an active agent ingredient added to marine coatings in nano-molar concentrations (approximately 0.1% per wet weight of paint) that is characterised by its first-of-its-kind bio-repellent mode of action which keeps a ship’s hull free from barnacles, with non-fatal effect on the target organism. When released from surface of the hull, the organic, non-metal compound temporarily activates the swimming behaviour of barnacle larvae, making it impossible for them to settle on the hull and transform into the calcareous adult stage of their lifecycle.

Per Westling, Managing Director of Stena RoRo says: “Stena RoRo is extremely proud to be involved in the building of Global Mercy and to manage the production process. We identified Selektope® as the most suitable, innovative technology to ensure that the hull of this new hospital ship does not suffer from the negative effects of barnacle fouling, even when idling for many months.”

Philip Chaabane, CEO of I-Tech AB says: “The mission of Mercy Ships is vitally important for providing surgical attention for those with least access to medical care in Africa and I-Tech is proud to donate the Selektope® required in the hull coating. Our fast-growing technology, with its heritage in the scientific research domain, is a perfect fit for this ship and its operating pattern. We are proud partners to the Mercy Ships organisation and grateful for the work they do to help humanity.”

Tom Stogner, CEO of Mercy Ships says: “We welcome Stena RoRo’s selection of a Selektope®-containing antifouling coating for the Global Mercy and thank I-Tech for the donation of their technology in support of our mission. The use of the latest technological innovations to safeguard the Global Mercy against biofouling when static is of prodigious importance to us.”

At 174-metres long, the 37,000-ton hospital ship Global Mercy is a one-of-a-kind ship equipped with 12 decks, 6 operating theatres, 102 acute care beds and 90 self-care beds.  The ship can accommodate a crew of up to 641 volunteers, and additional space can to host up to 950 people at any one time when the ship is in port.

click here to find out more about Selektope®

BLOG: Idling: bad for business, bad for biofouling

BLOG: Idling: bad for business, bad for biofouling

By Catherine Austin, Marketing Director – I-Tech AB

As public health measures to contain the devastating impact of COVID-19 placed 4 billion people and a myriad of global industries on lockdown, the commercial impact suffered by the shipping industry has been immense.  

A common feature across the entire spectrum of ships that operate in our colossal industry is that there are significantly more ships sat still than this time last year. Ship owners have looked to put ships in hot or warm lay up as an interim solution to weather the dismal market conditions brought about by decreased consumer goods demand and halted passenger cruising and short-sea ferry trips due to travel restrictions.

In April this year, Clarksons Research predicted that 2020 could see global seaborne trade shrink by 5%, the biggest annual decline the sector has seen in 35 years. According to Alphaliner, the beginning of June saw the inactive global containership fleet stand at 2.72m teu, representing 11.6% of the overall fleet capacity. Passenger ships and cruise ships sat eerily still being one of the early casualties of the pandemic.

In the tanker sector, 4 billion people going into lockdown resulted in a serious drop in the demand and price of crude oil. With oil being traded on the futures market, traders were looking to lock in value, and in west Texas, producers were paying traders to take oil off their hands, resulting in negative oil prices. This resulted in a significant upturn in demand for using tankers as floating storage when land-based storage quickly became overwhelmed. According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, as the industry sailed into the last week of May 2020, crude oil stored on tankers surged to a record 275 million barrels across 239 tankers sat at anchor for 20 days or more.

Not since the global crisis of 2008 and 2009 has such a large proportion of the industry sat still. This is bad for business and also bad for biofouling.

Biofouling has been a perennial headache for the shipping industry for centuries. However, it now looks like it’s going to get far worse, particularly for those vessels sat idle in warmer waters. Marine organisms love a static submerged surface and ship hulls below the waterline are prime real estate.

Since biofouling causes increased frictional resistance when water flows across the hull, ships with heavy fouled hulls have to burn more fuel to maintain the same speed through the water. Or if a ship is operating on fixed shaft power, speed penalties will ensue. 

Barnacles and their volcano-shaped hard shells that stick out into the water column are a particularly horrifying contributor to frictional resistance. Once they attach head-first onto a hull using their super strong glue, they are also a very tricky beast to get rid of. If water-based cleaning techniques won’t shift them, more abrasive scrubbing methods are required.

Just recently, a new research study commissioned by I-Tech AB, undertaken by the Safinah Group, revealed the true extent to which barnacle fouling impacts the global fleet, and the results are shocking.

For the research study, UK-based marine coatings consultants the Safinah Group analysed underwater hull fouling condition on a sample of 249 ships which drydocked over a four-year period between 2015-2019. It was discovered that over 40% of vessels surveyed had a barnacle fouling coverage on the hull of over 10%.

Since anything more than 10% coverage is deemed to cause an ‘unacceptable’ impact on vessel performance by experts, the global fleet is really suffering the consequences.

On many of the vessels surveyed, fouling levels were even worse; approximately 15% of vessels had between 10-20% of hard fouling coverage on the hull, 10% of vessels had 20-30% of hard fouling coverage and the remaining 10% of vessels had between 40-80% of hard fouling coverage.

Extrapolating from published data taken from a 2011 study by Michael P. Schultz, this level of hard fouling (assuming a 10% coverage of hard fouling on 40% of the fleet) could be responsible for at least 110 million tonnes of excess carbon emissions, and an additional US $6 billion spent on fuel per year for the global commercial fleet. The true figure is likely to be higher, as this is a conservative calculation based on today’s relatively low fuel prices.

This data analysis was carried out before the COVID-19 pandemic therefore, it can be anticipated that in recent months, the extent of barnacle fouling coverage across the global fleet will have increased significantly, chiefly due to the huge proportion of vessels that have lain idle. We can definitely assume that if this data collection exercise is repeated, we could anticipate a significant spike in the extent of fouling coverage.

This means that when the thousands of vessels that have welcomed barnacles on the hull set sail again, their impact will be immediately noticeable on the fuel bill. For those ships that were protected against extended idling periods by antifouling coatings that have I-Tech’s Selektope® technology inside, they will reap the immediate benefits of a barnacle-free hull.

As such, the examination of the idle period guarantees provided by coatings manufacturers and identifying what components can enable protection during extended idling periods is more important than ever.

For most antifouling coatings, protection guarantees range between 14 and 21 idle days, with the most premium antifouling coatings coming with up to 30 days idle guarantee. However, under tough market conditions such as those encountered during the current COVID-19 pandemic, ships need longer protection guarantees. For many antifouling coatings on the market this is made possible by the inclusion of Selektope®.

Therefore, considering antifouling coatings that contain Selektope® is an easy step to ensuring that ships sail free from barnacle burden.

Click here to download our latest whitepaper that reveals the true extent of the barnacle bio fouling problem on the global shipping fleet and the huge impact of barnacles on ship fuel consumption and emissions.

I-Tech upgrades regulatory position of Selektope® in Japan

I-Tech AB (publ) (ticker: ITECH) has been granted full approval for the antifouling active agent Selektope® under the Japanese Chemical Substance Control Law (CSCL) enforced by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

Since 2013, Selektope® has held a low production volume exemption in Japan. However, following the achievement of full approval under the CSCL, received on June 2, Selektope® will now be included in the CSCL registry as a Specified New Chemical Substance.The evaluation of Selektope® as a new chemical substance under the CSCL has entailed thorough risk assessments for humans and the environment to ensure safe use of the antifouling biocide.

The aim of the CSCL approval of chemicals for use in Japan is to prevent environmental pollution caused by chemical substances that pose a risk of impairing human health and interfere with the inhabitation and growth of flora and fauna. Therefore, by achieving Selektope® approval by law, I-Tech has expanded global sales potential in Japan.

I-Tech’s revolutionary biotechnology, the barnacle-repelling active agent Selektope®, is an organic, non-metal ingredient for marine antifouling coatings that works to prevent barnacle fouling by temporarily activating the swimming behaviour of barnacle larvae, repelling them from the ship hull surface with non-fatal effect. Heavy barnacle fouling is particularly problematic for ships as it increases hydrodynamic drag, which increases fuel consumption and raises emissions of greenhouse gases and hazardous particles.

Philip Chaabane, CEO, I-Tech AB, comments: “We welcome the upgraded approval of Selektope® under the Japanese CSCL which responds to the desire of our customers to further expand their business in Japan using our technology. Japan is an important market for I-Tech and the successes we have achieved so far clearly justify the investments made to achieve an upgraded regulatory position for Selektope® in that country.”

I-Tech research finds that even before COVID-19, over 40% of vessels had unacceptable levels of barnacle fouling

I-Tech research finds that even before COVID-19, over 40% of vessels had unacceptable levels of barnacle fouling

Analysis of hull fouling condition data obtained from vessel drydocking attendance over a four-year period has revealed that more than 40% of vessels were suffering from over 10% hard fouling coverage on the hull.

New research commissioned by the developers of Selektope®, I-Tech AB, has quantified the true extent of the barnacle fouling problem across the global shipping fleet.

I-Tech contracted independent marine coating consultants, Safinah Group to analyse underwater hull fouling condition on a sample of 249 ships which drydocked over a four-year period between 2015-2019. The sample included all major ship types covering a range of trading activity.

It was found that nearly every vessel surveyed had some degree of underwater hull hard fouling. On 44% of vessels surveyed, over 10% of the underwater hull surface was covered with hard fouling. Anything more than 10% coverage is deemed to cause an ‘unacceptable’ impact on vessel performance by experts.

On many of the vessels surveyed, fouling levels were even worse; approximately 15% of vessels had between 10-20% of hard fouling coverage on the hull, 10% of vessels had 20-30% of hard fouling coverage and the remaining 10% of vessels had between 40-80% of hard fouling coverage.

Extrapolating from published data taken from a 2011 study by Michael P. Schultz1 ,this level of hard fouling could be responsible for at least 110 million tonnes of excess carbon emissions, and an additional US $6 billion spent on fuel per year for the global commercial fleet. The true figure is likely to be higher, as this is a conservative calculation based on today’s relatively low fuel prices and only assumes a 10% coverage of hard fouling.

Therefore, the significant extent of hard fouling found across this sample of vessels demonstrates the magnitude of unnecessary demand being placed on engines because of hard fouling, increasing fuel consumption and emissions, and exacerbating speed losses due to increased hydrodynamic drag.

Barnacle fouling can only occur when a vessel is static for a few weeks in coastal waters. Since this data analysis was carried out before the COVID-19 pandemic, I-Tech anticipates that in recent months, the extent of barnacle fouling coverage across the global fleet will have increased significantly, particularly for the huge proportion of vessels that have laid idle.

As most antifouling coatings only offer a guarantee for protection for up to 30 days of idling, many owners will now be at risk of performance issues caused by hard fouling.

Dr Markus Hoffmann, Technical Director of I-Tech AB says: “With up to 5% of underwater hull fouling coverage being seen as good and up to 10% being considered acceptable, the findings that 44% of vessels having more than 10% hull fouling is troubling, even more so when we consider the impact of long idle periods.”

“Ship owners, operators and managers need to be proactive on prevention when considering the antifouling components of their coatings and static-period guarantees offered to ensure they protect their vessel from hard fouling during any unanticipated long idling periods, such as those recently encountered.”

“They will strongly need to consider which antifouling additives enable idle period guarantee that are longer than 30 days, such as Selektope®.”

Philip Chaabane, CEO, I-Tech AB adds:The opening few months of this year have presented some of the most challenging times for the global shipping industry. We have seen an increase in the number of idle vessels as the shipping industry reacts to the commercial impact of COVID-19. This presents an additional and unwelcome challenge for the industry and serves as a reminder that owners and managers need to be more aware of the risk of significant financial penalties that are accumulating below the waterline from biofouling.”

“The insight into the barnacle fouling problem across the global fleet, based on the inspections carried out by the Safinah Group, make for alarming reading. Based on this sampling, it is extremely likely that a large proportion of vessels are in fact operating with high degrees of hard fouling. Given the increase in idle vessels throughout the first six months of 2020, we can reliably assume that the extent of fouling across the shipping industry will have spiked significantly.”

“This entire period needs to serve as a lesson for our industry, coating specifications need to be taking into account the possibility that ships could at any time be forced into extensive idle periods.”

The first part of the two-part study has been published in a whitepaper entitled ‘Quantifying the scale of the barnacle fouling problem on the global shipping fleet’ which can be downloaded here.

The second part of the research study, which examines the extent of the barnacle fouling problem in niche areas, will be released later in 2020.

1 Schultz et al, Biofouling, 2011

I-Tech, Lean Marine and PowerCell host virtual industry discussion on safeguarding global fleet efficiency in the post-pandemic era

Global transportation sectors continue to suffer the effects of the measures enforced by governments worldwide to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As and when the international shipping industry sails into the post-pandemic era, the optimization of vessel efficiency will play a crucial role in ensuring the commercial buoyancy of ship owning companies.

Recovery will not be instantaneous. Therefore, maintaining a financially and environmentally sustainable business will be a bigger challenge than ever before. Reducing polluting gaseous emissions in-line with stringent targets set by the IMO will remain high on the agenda. There is reason to believe that the pandemic will further increase demands from environmentally conscious customers on the industry. As such, the operation of cleaner, greener ships with superior fuel efficiency will be required. This means that ship operators will need to maintain any reduction in excess fuel consumption and emissions not only in the short-term during the current unpredictable times, but also in the long-term, when the markets are better and more predictable.

Beating the barnacle

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put many sectors of the industry in ‘time-out’ mode, the same cannot be said for biofouling. For the thousands of marine species that like to make ship hulls their home, the global pandemic has no limiting effect. In fact, for those organisms who can only attach to ships when they are idle, such as barnacles, the housing market is booming.

A great number of tankers are currently at anchor operating as off-shore storage and container shipping is suffering decreased cargo volumes leading to void sailings and suspension of services. Cruise ships are sat idle waiting for No Sail Orders to be lifted and ferries are docked with no passengers to transport. The majority of these ships are anchored in coastal regions and exposed to high densities of barnacle larvae, facing exceptional risk of suffering from fuel consumption and speed penalties when they set sail again. In a future where no one can predict when the next global shift will impact ship operations, how can ship owners safeguard their vessels against highly impactful barnacle fouling during extreme static conditions?

Going beyond digitalization

Digitalization will continue to play a vital role in enabling enhanced vessel safety, and operational and environmental performance. However, can ship operators achieve greater efficiencies immediately by going beyond digitalization for performance monitoring? Why should automation play a more integral role in shipping fleet? How could vessels be prepared to follow future AI integration?

Looking towards the zero-emission vessel

Halving the emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) from commercial ships by 2050 will be no mean feat, but it’s not impossible. The suitability of hydrogen fuel cells means that they have the potential to make the global shipping fleet emission-free. Considering the long lifetime of ships, zero emission vessels may have to set sail as early as 2030. This means that this is a technology that should be high on the priority list for ship owners intending to meet IMO targets. Therefore, what do ship owners need to consider when analyzing whether hydrogen fuels cells are suitable for deployment on their vessels?

Discussion and debate at your desk

Since interactions between those who work ashore in the maritime industry remain limited to virtual communications and with events postponed until later this year or even early 2021, Swedish clean technology innovators Lean Marine Sweden AB, I-Tech AB and PowerCell Sweden AB joined forces to discuss and debate current market trends and the role that clean technology will play post-pandemic.

The Swedish clean tech trio focussed on antifouling coatings, propulsion optimization, digitalization, and marine fuel cells. An interactive Q&A session was also held at the end of the webinar for audience participation.

The webinar recording is 1 hour 30 minutes in length. 

I-Tech AB (publ) Interim report Q1 2020 published

Mölndal, May 8, 2020 – I-Tech AB (publ) (ticker ITECH) have published the interim report for the first quarter 2020.

Summary of the period

”A strong quarter despite uncertain times”

Net turnover for the period amounted to kSEK 13 525 (6 170), corresponding to an increase in turnover of 119% (62%). Operating profit/loss amounted to kSEK -984 (-4 435).

January to March 2020

·        In March, the leading Norwegian paint manufacturer, Jotun, launched two new marine paints based on I-Tech’s proprietary antifouling active agent Selektope®.

·        During March, Per Svensson was appointed Sales Director for I-Tech. Per comes most recently from Emerson Automation Solutions where he was Director of Global Sales and Aftermarket Marine Solutions.

·        In the beginning of the year, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary production stop at shipyards, primarily in China, which are now back in production. Furthermore, restrictions have been introduced in India where I-Tech’s production and deliveries are based. The production stoppage at the shipyards occurred during a period of normal low demand for I-Tech’s products. So far, I-Tech has not been negatively affected besides an increase in delivery cost.

Important events after the period

·      No important events have occurred after the period

Financial Summary

All amounts in TSEK2020Jan-Mar2019Jan-Mar2019Jan-Dec2018Jan-Dec
Net sales13 5256 17045 57428 947
Operating result-984-4 435-7 019-13 625
EBITDA1 004-2 3781 220-6 392
Net result-532-4 4698 427-13 737
Operating cash flow296-573-4 763-11 945
Equity at end of period110 87698 512111 408102 981
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period38 99345 80238 94046 538

CEO comments

Although the first quarter was characterized by lockdowns in several key markets in Asia, we managed to increase our sales by 119 percent to SEK 13.5 million (6.2) compared with the corresponding quarter last year. The improvement is partly due to activities in key markets gaining momentum again in March, and partly because our customers expect relatively high activity in shipyards around Asia and the Middle East in the coming months. However, uncertainty about how the ongoing pandemic will develop and how it may affect the market for the rest of the year remain high. It is positive that the shipbuilding industry in China, Japan and Korea has returned to a fairly normal level of industrial activity, and that our largest customer, Chugoku Marine Paints, is optimistic and has managed to maintain production in important markets despite the circumstances. At the same time, from an operational perspective, it has been a turbulent time with, for example, the lockdown in India affecting our deliveries from sub-contractors. However, despite this, we managed to satisfy our customers’ demand and, although we experienced increased transportation costs, we managed to keep the gross margin up and on par with the same quarter last year. For the first quarter, the gross margin was 45% (44%) and operating activities again showed a positive EBITDA of SEK 1.0 (-2.3) million. The operating profit for the period was significantly improved and amounted to SEK -1.0 (-4.4) million, which means that we are approaching a positive operating profit in line with our plans.

Besides successfully navigating a challenging quarter, I am also very pleased that Jotun, the world’s leading marine paint manufacturer, announced during the period that the launch of two products containing Selektope®. With this launch, Jotun intends to offer the best possible protection against marine fouling on vessels with longer idle periods, especially during the outfitting period. The launch of the SeaQuantum Pro Ace and SeaForce Active Ace products means that Selektope® is used in two technology platforms at different cost levels, which opens up a wider customer base. The products will primarily be available in Korea and in China, where they are now being marketed. We hope to see rising demand as Jotun secures new business.

Three of the world’s largest paint companies have now officially launched Selektope®-containing products on the market. This contributes positively to our quarterly results. In addition, we have continued to supply an unnamed customer with approximately the same demand as in previous quarters. This means that we now have a good base on which to grow the business. The recruitment of our new sales director, Per Svensson, during the quarter will also help us to further develop our business and I-Tech’s commercial operations.

Although the year has started well financially, despite the challenges and concerns relating to COVID-19, the global pandemic continues to give rise to widespread uncertainty. As such, we are implementing some measures to mitigate potential downturns in the business climate. We have, for example, postponed non-businesscritical
investments and we are well on the way to securing our inventory to reduce the risk of supply interruptions due to further lockdowns.

Through establishing commercial relationships with four of the six largest paint manufacturers in the world, delivering a strong financial quarter and with sustained liquidity, I see good opportunities that we will navigate through the current situation in a good way and that we are well positioned when growth accelerates again.

Philip Chaabane, CEO
M: +46 73 910 37 08

Blog: Coronavirus, Coatings and Carbon

Blog: Coronavirus, Coatings and Carbon

By Catherine Austin, Marketing Director – I-Tech AB

Way back in January this year, a time that seems like it was generations ago, shipping was facing up to a global, existential challenge – reducing its carbon emissions and the global climate emergency. The fateful day of January 1, 2020 had come and gone with less disruption than many had anticipated, with generally widespread availability of low sulphur fuel to meet the IMO’s global sulphur cap requirements, and fewer violations than expected. For a few months, shipping’s attention had firmly switched from the issue of tackling sulphur to carbon.

Fast forward three months and the shipping industry, along with all all global industry, is struggling with the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This too is delaying key regulatory progress that will support the industry’s endeavors to cut carbon. A key meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) – which would have given more clarity and shape to the upcoming legislative framework for limiting shipping’s CO2 emissions – has been delayed. However, in the absence of IMO progression via MEPC, the EU has called for greater ambition in terms of limiting CO2 emissions from ship, demand that the shipping industry cuts its emissions by 40% by 2050 compared to 2018 levels, instead of 50% emissions reduction based on 2008 levels, which is the current baseline set by the IMO. Also, nations at the IMO are continuing to submit proposals that demand the scope of emission cuts are widened. One recent proposal submitted by the Clean Shipping Coalition and Pacific Environment called for 80% emissions cuts by 2030, a much sharper number than the IMO’s current 50% carbon reduction target.

Although negotiations at the IMO and the mechanisms by which carbon cuts will be enforced will not be resolved soon, one thing reigns true: even in the absence of regulatory mechanisms, societal pressures are forcing transport industries to prioritise carbon reduction. Therefore, even in a global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the reduction of carbon emissions still holds immense importance for all transportation industries.

Low carbon transportation pressures are catalysing technological innovation in the international shipping industry. This industry is welcoming a significant evolution in fuel saving, emissions reducing technologies that are ready for deployment or are fast emerging from the trial phase. While new low carbon innovation developments are extremely beneficial for the shipping industry, it is important not to forget that the industry already has a toolbox full of technologies that are instantly available to ship owners and operators that can deliver proven carbon emission reductions.

One major solution does not lie in the fuel tank, or the engine room or even at the vessel design stage, but below the waterline in the paint work. Antifouling coatings continue to be one of the oldest serving but fastest-evolving technologies in this industry, that have delivered commercial benefits for decades and now they are responsible for delivering serious emission cuts as well.

For as long as ships have been at sea, they have attracted a host of marine life to their hulls. This has a huge ramification in not only global marine ecosystems, through the potential inter-ecosystem movement of invasive aquatic species, but also on a vessel’s fuel use. One culprit that is responsible for a significant portion of ship emissions generated from biofouling present on the ship hull is the humble barnacle. While barnacles may have a small footprint, their effect on global shipping is huge. These crustaceans cost the shipping industry billions each year in excess fuel consumption and cleaning costs.

Identifiable to most people through their volcano-shaped house glued onto rocks, the highly mobile planktonic larvae of all barnacle species actively seek submerged surfaces on which to settle and construct their adult home from the moment they extrude their super strong glue. The bad news for the industry is that they can’t differentiate between a ship and a rock.

An often-cited metric is that a vessel travelling at 15 knots with a “small amount of animal fouling or weeds” on the hull will require 34% more power to maintain the same speed due to the added frictional resistance on the hull as it sails through water. More power requirement equals more fuel burnt. More fuel burnt equals more harmful gaseous emissions. If biofouling on the hull is not controlled, then ship fuel use may rise increase by as much as 80% and that means more carbon emissions too. 

In recent years global trade patterns have increasingly shifted to tropical/subtropical waters, fondly known by many as ‘biofouling hotspots’. Ships are spending an increasing amount of time at port or laying idle for periods of time in these high biofouling risk zones and that is when barnacles will strike, and these pesky crustaceans don’t need long to start settling. Adding to that, global warming is increasing the temperatures of the world’s oceans, widening biofouling hotspot zones. Therefore, barnacle fouling is also going to become more of a headache for any shipyards located in warmer waters.

To help ship owners tackle the barnacle biofouling problem and lessen its impact on ship performance, antifouling coatings that make use of advanced active agents such as Selektope®, to prevent the horrendous effect of barnacle fouling on fuel and emissions, will be essential. This unique biotechnology temporarily activates the barnacle larvae’s swimming behaviour using natural reception stimulation. The effect is temporary, but for the time that the barnacle larvae is metabolising Selektope®, it is hypermobile, kicking its swimming legs uncontrollably while being literally repelled away from the hull. Another factor that sets this biotechnology aside from other active agents used in marine coatings is that it delivers high efficacy in nano molar concentrations, achieving the same effect as other substances that deter barnacle fouling but in significantly lower quantities. This reduces emissions to water as well as air. 

Therefore, it’s safe to say for a carbon restricted future of the shipping industry to become a reality, Selektope® and advanced antifouling coatings will always play a role.

I-Tech appoints Per Svensson as Sales Director

I-Tech appoints Per Svensson as Sales Director

I-Tech AB, the bio-technology company responsible for Selektope®, the barnacle repelling active agent for use in marine coatings, has appointed Per Svensson to the role of Sales Director.

In this central senior position, Mr Svensson will take full responsibility for driving top-line revenues by working to progress new customers to the antifouling product commercialization stage. He will also hold responsibility for supporting and expanding existing customer accounts within the global marine coatings industry. Per joins I-Tech AB during a period of significant expansion for the company, for which 2019 was the best year to-date financially with reported net turnover for the year increasing by 57%, compared to 2018.

Mr Svensson has joined I-Tech following great successes achieved in his previous role of Director, Global Sales & Aftermarket, Marine Solutions at Emerson Automation Solutions. He has extensive experience working globally with high-tech marine tank level gauging and automation products through various roles held within Service, Sales, Marketing and Business Unit Management. Prior to Emerson, Per worked with Saab Marine Electronics AB. He has also held several board level positions with technology companies based in Singapore, Finland and the UK. His engineering background and academic qualifications include Diplomas in Business Administration from IHM Business School and Executive Leadership at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Philip Chaabane, CEO, I-Tech AB, says: “With a proven track record from various senior commercial positions within the marine industry, Mr Svensson will play a significant role in developing new and existing commercial relationships all around the world. With 30 years of experience, Per will greatly contribute to building the commercial aspects of I-Tech to the standards of much larger companies, yet maintaining our important entrepreneurial culture. I’m convinced that his commercial acumen and well-established reputation throughout the maritime industry will expand I-Tech’s reach even further in support of our continued growth trajectory”.

Per Svensson, Sales Director, I-Tech AB, says: “With the marine industry looking to support an improved environmental agenda, I’m thrilled to be working with a company that is aiming to help owners manage the issue of hull biofouling in pursuit of greener shipping. I have been looking for an opportunity to join a well-reputed, entrepreneurial company which aims to reduce the environmental impact of the marine industry. I have found that opportunity with this position in I-Tech and I am looking forward to supporting their wider global development.”

In an industry awash with postponed events, marine clean tech companies go virtual

In an industry awash with postponed events, marine clean tech companies go virtual

Anyone working in the shipping industry will know that face-to-face meetings and networking is what we do best. As organisations worldwide increasingly turn to virtual solutions as a way of doing business, the thousands of shore-based people working in shipping still place immense value on being periodically congregated by events companies for the purpose of doing business and debating current challenges faced. But what happens when event companies can’t do that anymore?

Right now, the COVID-19 virus is creating absolute havoc for companies in the event management business. In our industry, the majority of events scheduled for March, April and May have been postponed, or those that did go ahead suffered low attendance rates. For marketing professionals in the industry, this mass postponement of events is turning into somewhat of a nightmare, the result being the bunching up of many re-scheduled events in September. Exhibition fatigue is now feared by many, although whether those postponed events will actually go ahead on their re-scheduled date is anyone’s guess.

While there’s nothing like face-to-face, honest and open dialog at industry conferences for the sharing of information and ideas, the time and financial requirements of big events, paired with the current risk of novel contagions, make virtual alternatives much more attractive.

For companies who sell a technology or a service into the shipping industry, maritime events provide the perfect platform for forging new business, prospering existing business relationships and publicly airing details about progressions, R&D activities and commercial successes that sometimes a press release or well-written magazine article cannot convey with as much punch. As such, the exploitation of virtual solutions for bringing maritime conferences to people’s desk is in great need in the industry. Not only now during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the future.

Swedish clean technology innovators Lean Marine Sweden AB and I-Tech AB have taken matters into their own hands following their recent participation in Informa’s Green Ship Technology (GST) Europe in Copenhagen in mid-March. This conference is normally an annual meeting point for anyone wanting to accelerate green shipping initiatives worldwide. This year, it was hit at its mid-point by the Danish COVID-19 lock down causing 90% of attendees to flee, leaving presenters to deliver their speeches to an empty room (pretty much).  

While shore-based industry personnel across the globe turn to home working with limited, or prohibited social contact, the two Gothenburg-based companies have taken to the virtual world to recreate the GST ‘vessel efficiency’ panel session experience online, bringing the conference presentations to the temporary desk of those interested in vessel efficiency. Even though the hotel bar for beers and wine post-conference won’t be a highlight, sipping coffee or tea is encouraged.

The first virtual conference session was hosted by Lean Marine and I-Tech on the topic of ‘What you can do today to enhance vessel efficiency’ on Thursday March 26 at 08:30 GMT/09.30 CET/16.30SGT.

The interactive session included short presentations from two speakers, Mikael Laurin – CEO at Lean Marine Sweden AB on the topic:  ‘How much fuel saving could your vessel get through operational excellence?’, and Markus Hoffman – Technical director at I-Tech AB on the topic:  ‘barnacle fouling: how big is the problem and is there a quick fix solution?’ in addition to Q&A sessions.

Click here to watch the recorded video of the 1-hour virtual conference session.

New I-Tech customer launches Selektope®-containing products

New I-Tech customer launches Selektope®-containing products

Leading Norwegian paint-manufacturer Jotun has commercialized two new marine paint products containing I-Tech’s antifouling active agent Selektope®.  

Jotun, the world’s largest manufacturer of marine paints, will use Selektope® in two antifouling products targeting customers within commercial shipping where increased protection against barnacle fouling is needed for idle ships during the outfitting period.  I-Tech and Jotun are yet to formalize an agreement that binds orders for the commercialization. Therefore, the company can not issue any statement regarding volumes and financial impact.

Jotun will use I-Tech’s antifouling active agent Selektope® in the products SeaQuantum Pro Ace and SeaForce Active Ace. These are the first products launched by Jotun that contain Selektope®.

Philip Chaabane, CEO, I-Tech, says: “Jotun’s choice to use Selektope® is yet more evidence of our product’s prominent features and efficiency. I’m pleased to recognize that Jotun has introduced Selektope® in two different product families bringing extreme performance for repelling barnacles from the hull and creating new opportunities for a range of different vessels at the new build phase and subsequent operations.”

With this product introduction, Jotun becomes the third official customer to integrate Selektope® as a key ingredient into advanced and fuel saving antifouling paints available to globally trading vessels. Previous communication from I-Tech states that there is yet another major, but non-disclosed, manufacturer of marine paints working through the final development steps prior to product commercialization.  

Selektope® is an organic, metal-free antifouling active agent added to marine coatings to prevent barnacles from settling on the coated surface by temporarily activating their swimming behavior with non-fatal effect. This unique antifouling active agent delivers superior efficiency in extremely low concentrations (approximately 0.1% per wet weight of paint = only a few grams per liter of paint).

The importance of reduced emissions

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has committed to reducing emissions from commercial shipping by 50 percent by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. Reduced hull biofouling will be one of the key factors required to achieve this target since even small amounts of biofouling on the hull can contribute to a significant increase in fuel consumption. Climate change will also lead to increased sea temperatures which in turn will accelerate biofouling risk.  

Antifouling paints will be one of the key technologies required to achieve the IMO 2050 CO2 emission reduction targets. Selektope®, with its high efficacy, precision and reduced environmental impact, will play a vital role in solving this challenge for the shipping industry,” Philip Chaabane concludes.