South Korean ballast treatment system maker Techcross is planning an expansion into biofouling management and prevention. It has signed MoUs with four customers, including three major domestic shipping companies and one Japanese shipping company. Under the MoUs, each company agreed to research and develop technologies related to ship biofouling prevention and treatment equipment through mutual cooperation.
In February 2020, the IMO Subcommittee on PPR (Pollution Prevention and Response) in London agreed to implement effective guidelines for resolving biofouling and review continuously for practicable measures. Although the guidelines are voluntary, most analysts expect it is only a matter of time before environmental regulations are adopted. Some nations already have regulations concerning biofouling in place and have taken action against some ships.
Currently, there are methods put into practice to prevent biofouling, but they are limited to passive activities, such as using antifouling paint to reduce deposits or cleaning the hull in a dry dock. However, there is a problem that biofouling cannot be treated lightly as the attachments of the hull increase the frictional force and the weight of the ship, thereby increasing the fuel cost and reducing the operational efficiency of the ship.
Accordingly, Techcross, which says it is taking the lead in marine environment regulation based on its experience in the ballast water treatment industry. The anti-biofouling technology scheduled to be introduced in the market by Techcross is aiming to be a total solution in the field of biofouling management by securing both after-treatment and prevention technologies at the same time.
Techcross is developing the treatment solution that helps to eliminate biofouling by eco-friendly method in the land-based or onboard treatment facility after underwater robot cleaning process, as well as the physical or chemical method of prevention solutions to avoid the biofouling attached on the niche area such as propeller and rudder where it is hard for underwater robots to approach. Techcross said that through this anti-biofouling technology, ships will not only be able to improve fuel efficiency by about 5-10% or more but will be able to contribute to the greenhouse gas reduction policy that IMO is pursuing as a major policy. In addition, this technology has the potential to be applied not only to marine and plant businesses, but also to water treatment facilities, manufacturing and processing industries, and agricultural and farming industries, raising the expectations even further.