Graphite Innovation and Technologies (GIT) uses graphene as the base for its strong, slippery and non-toxic hull paint. The coating helps prevent marine fouling – when aquatic organisms such as barnacles stick to the hull – thus improving the flow of water against the vessel, making it more efficient. Now, the coating will be heavily tested on large vessels operated by Oceanex and Baffin Fisheries.
“The vessels operated by Oceanex and Baffin Fisheries are larger vessels that move at a much higher speed than the small inshore fishing vessels previously tested under our contract with Transport Canada,” said Mo AlGermozi, President of Graphite Innovation and Technologies. “It is so much more comparable to the large transport vessels that we target as key customers, as transport fleets are more interested in reducing fuel costs and improving their environmental impact.”
The Oceanex fleet of three ships moves approximately half of the cargo each year in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The vessel called Sanderling enters a regularly scheduled dry dock in late December where much of the hull will be coated with GIT hull paint.
After its return to service at the end of January, quarterly underwater surveys will be carried out to compare the results with the existing paint. “We think it will be obvious to see how well this works compared to the other coating that is on the ship today,” said Matthew Hynes, executive vice president of Oceanex.
He expects the coating to last at least three years.
“At the end of the day, it’s a steel vessel operating in salt water, and it goes through ice and various things. We have to make sure the hull is protected. And number 2, it has to operate efficiently, which means we can’t see any growth or fouling on the bottom. “
In February, a full underwater hull coating will be applied to Baffin Fisheries’ MV Inuksuk before it embarks on the shrimp and turbot fishery in northern waters.
Both companies are ultimately looking for a durable coating that offers energy efficiency.
“If we see the fouling of the hulls of our ships, for example, it means that we are burning more fuel, which has an environmental impact and a business impact. So, at the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everyone here. If we see any success in this product and it’s definitely something that – provided it’s competitive once it’s mainstream – that we would consider for the rest of our fleet”, Hynes said.
A total of nine ships will be coated as part of the federal government’s Ocean SuperCluster innovation program.
It is funding the CAD$2.2 million Smart Protective Coatings project of CAD$4.6 million, led by Graphite Innovation and Technologies. The rest comes from industry.
Various ice-reinforced vessels are also part of the project.
“The more we are able to apply our coating to many vessels, the better our fuel economy data, and each new company that has used our product adds to the credibility of not only our data, but the product as a whole. “said Al Germozi.
He said the company plans to announce an agreement in mid-2022 with an anonymous shipper from Singapore that owns more than 180 vessels.
“Traditionally, the shipping industry has been slower to adopt new technology, and anything we can add to our arsenal as we target the world’s largest shipping companies is a huge asset,” said AlGermozi. “We want to learn the lessons from our work of coating inshore fishing vessels, bring them to these larger vessels and ultimately beyond this project to the largest fleets in the world".