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12 September 2014

Commercialisation prospects for green antifouling paint

The I-Tech company has now signed an agreement with Chugoku Marine Paints Ltd (CMP) on the use of I-Tech’s patented Selektope® product in commercial antifouling paints for ship hulls. Selektope® is an active substance that can replace copper in antifouling paints, to prevent barnacles and other organisms from adhering to and colonising hulls (‘biofouling’).

I-Tech’s Managing Director Philip Chaabane: ‘We’re looking forward to intensifying our joint efforts with CMP to develop and commercialise antifouling paints containing Selektope®. CMP is one of the biggest suppliers of these paints worldwide, and joining their supplier base is important to us.’

Paints containing Selektope® will be of great value to the whole marine industry. Fouling of boat and ship hulls dramatically increases friction and hence vessel drag. An untreated hull, after six months at sea, can cause an increase of as much as 40% in fuel consumption.

Effective in low doses

To prevent barnacles and other biofouling organisms from attaching themselves, paints are used that contain up to 60% copper. Over time, this is released into the surrounding water, where it does not decompose; instead, it remains in the marine environment. Selektope® is effective in very low doses for a long time and can replace 500 grams of copper, which means that the preparation contributes to a more sustainable marine environment.

I-Tech a result of Marine Paint

I-Tech was originally formed to commercialise the research results that emerged from Mistra’s Marine Paintexternal link research programme. By the time this programme ended, after eight years, the scientists had developed several promising solutions. The most important of these is the product that was developed further by I-Tech under the trademark Selektope®.

Promoting canine sleep

The active substance in Selektope is medetomidine, a preparation used in veterinary medicine that formerly served mainly as a sedative for dogs and cats. Its effect on barnacles, on the other hand, is the opposite: it causes the larva legs to start kicking, so that the creatures are unable to settle on the smooth hulls of ships and boats. Other advantages of medetomidine are that it is biodegradable and causes no harm to barnacles or other living organisms.

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