Scouring – an alternative to the use of biocides
The hulls of boats and ships quickly become overgrown with aquatic organisms such as barnacles, mussels and algae. This leads to a substantial increase in weight, and reduces the driving speed of a boat markedly. Antifouling coating layers containing biocides have been used up to now in yachting and motorboating to protect against this fouling. It is hoped that non-poisonous coating systems and scouring procedures can be developed for yachts and pleasure craft, which will hinder this growth or remove it in such a manner that the environment suffers the minimum damage possible.
In order to encourage the market introduction of alternatives to anti-fouling substances containing biocides, the research laboratory LimnoMar of Hamburg tested various mobile scouring processes for their suitability in fresh- and saltwater. In addition to the effectiveness of the scouring, priority was placed on convenient operability and possible water contamination.
With the help of the test results, the maximum possible scouring intervals can be ascertained at which an effective scouring is possible without damaging the coating. It was demonstrated that scouring intervals in high-growth waters must be very short, regardless of the scouring method. However, the scouring systems must still be modified and adapted so that they do not damage the soft coatings. In freshwater, the organism growth rate is very much lower; implementation of the scouring systems from once to twice per season on hard coatings has proven effective. There are still problems with the »niche areas« of the hull, which are not always reached. The equipment must therefore be matched to both the shipping area and the ship’s hull.
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