AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - AkzoNobel has joined SEAFRONT (Synergistic Fouling Control Technologies), a project within the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission, to develop environmentally friendly fouling-control coatings for boats, ships, tidal power plants and other aquatic installations. The coatings will be designed to improve operational efficiency, substantially reduce CO2 emissions and have no negative impact on the marine ecosystem. The Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI) is the other main contractor of the project.

The coatings to be developed within the project will not leach chemical or other harmful substances that are non-biodegradable in the marine environment. In addition, the coatings will reduce the hydrodynamic resistance of ships and boats, decreasing fuel consumption and thus substantially reducing CO2 emissions. Finally, the new coatings will lead to considerable savings in operational costs by improving the efficiency of tidal power installations and reducing the frequency of maintenance and cleaning in offshore infrastructure and aquaculture applications.

The SEAFRONT project will be implemented within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) under the Ocean of Tomorrow call. Five multinationals, seven SMEs and seven research institutes spread across eight EU Member States will work together to achieve the goals within the four-year timeframe. DPI is the project coordinator and International Paint Ltd., a business unit of AkzoNobel and a world leader in the field of fouling-control coatings, will bring any new coatings based on technology developed within the project to the market. The project budget amounts to €11.2 million including €8 million from the European Commission.

In addition to the development of coatings, SEAFRONT aims to significantly enhance the fundamental understanding of fouling organisms and the mechanisms of settlement and adhesion. Building on the success of Intersleek1100SR slime-release technology, attention will now be focused on gaining a total understanding of marine biofilm or so-called marine slime. Professor Tony Clare of Newcastle University (UK), an internationally renowned marine biologist, will lead this part of the research. The insights gained in these studies will enable SEAFRONT to develop concepts and technologies for enhanced performance, the ultimate goal being a completely non-fouling surface.