Blistering barnacles! Ship's paint can save 9% of fuel use, and even earn carbon credits

barnacle cleaning photo
CC BY 2.0 Port of San Diego

Drag can be, well, a real drag.

When barnacles, seaweed and other detritus sticks to a ship's hull, it causes frictions, slows the ship down and can significantly impact fuel consumption as a result. From underwater robots that groom a ship's hull to barnacle repellents made from papaya enzymes, we've seen a few potential solutions to this sticky problem.

Now Business Green reports on Dutch company AkzoNobel's marine coatings which, it claims, could have a massive impact on ship operator's bottom line:

According to the Dutch company, very large crude carriers (VLCCs) can improve fuel efficiency by around nine per cent by using the more advanced, biocide-free Intersleek coating, reducing fuel use by 6,500 tons, cutting carbon emissions by 21,000 tons, and saving up to $3m over a five-year period.

Beyond the direct fuel savings, the company's coatings are now also accredited by The Gold Standard body, meaning ship owners and operators will also be able to earn additional income for carbon credits too.

I suspect that might get the attention of more than one CFO in the shipping industry.

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