Since the advent of Fjord Tech Solutions, we have taken an evidence-backed approach to demonstrate the tangible benefits of foul release coatings over traditional self-polishing antifouling. Now, a recently released study from Chalmers University underscores our work.
These findings not only support our efforts with AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings, but also indicate a new direction for the maritime industry as a whole. In today’s article, we have covered the key takeaways for forward-leaning boaters.
Current Market Conditions
Today, the market for eco-friendly antifouling paints is overshadowed by traditional alternatives. This is not surprising, as the maritime industry is historically resistant to change.
“Despite the negative impact of heavy metals on the marine environment, the antifouling paint market for ships and recreational boats is completely dominated by copper-based paints.”– Chalmers University
In fact, research shows that upwards of 40% of the Baltic Sea’s copper levels are attributable to antifouling paint, a pressing concern for marine life.
By applying various antifouling paints to a series of test panels then submerging the panels for over two years, researchers from the Swedish Environmental Institute IVL, the University of Gothenburg, and Chalmers came to a unanimous conclusion: eco-friendly paint worked best.
For many boaters, the results came as a complete surprise. For our team at Fjord Tech Solutions, however, the study reaffirmed our independent research. These foul release coatings create an ultra-smooth surface that prevents strong adhesion. As a result, fouling easily detaches through water jets, hand cleanings, and even movement through the water. In the below video, Fjord Tech Solutions is cleaning a panel, coated with silicone foul release coatings, after being submerged for two full seasons (2021 and 2022).
Environmental Benefits of foul release coatings
Eco-friendly antifouling paints not only alleviate the high costs, health concerns, and maintenance demands of self-polishing antifouling, but also support our environment.
“Silicone paints are significantly less harmful to the environment than copper paints.”– Chalmers University
In turn, savvy boaters have a clear choice for the best antifouling paint as well as a better understanding of their role in environmental preservation. Awareness is the final obstacle to achieving widespread change.
Reaching Recreational Boaters
According to Chalmers, the market share for foul release coatings is significantly higher in the shipping industry than in the recreational boating industry. While the low up-front expense of copper paints may seem more affordable than ordering eco-friendly antifouling paint, ongoing maintenance and low fuel economy quickly reduce any savings.
Now that official research affirms the longevity of eco-friendly antifouling paints, there are more reasons now than ever before for recreational boaters to make the switch. Boaters who have followed our work at Fjord Tech Solutions, however, have been well ahead of the curve.
“These findings are exactly what our team discovered through two years of field testing silicone foul release products in the Oslo Fjord, an area with ultra-high salinity and notoriously heavy fouling .”– Erlend Nordbak | Partner and Project Manager at Fjord Tech Solutions
At Fjord Tech Solutions, we believe that the Chalmers report is only the beginning. As new research continues to come out, the switch to silicone foul release products will become increasingly obvious. Boaters who adopt these solutions today will enjoy years of savings while keeping their vessels in the best possible condition.
Learn more about the differences between foul release coatings and traditional antifouling.