Use of robotics to mitigate the application of hazardous anti-fouling coatings and improve vessel fuel efficiency
increases drag which increases fuel consumption, emissions, and operating
costs. Additionally, biofouling can be a
significant factor in the spread of non-indigenous species that can negatively impact
local ecosystems. Removal of biofouling organisms is typically performed during
dry-dock cleaning and repainting. Anti-fouling coatings can be toxic to
organisms which inhibits attachment on the vessel, but these same paints are
also toxic to ingenious species where the vessel travels to. A viable
alternative is to use less toxic paints that form a harder bond with the
surface of the vessel, followed with regular hull cleaning using underwater
robots in conjunction with artificial intelligence. This approach allows for
regular cleaning events that reduces biofouling build up, reduces hull
resistance, improves fuel efficiency, controls emissions, reduces the frequency
of dry-dock cleaning, minimizing the disruption to vessel scheduling, while
still addressing the negative impacts of biofouling.
The goal of this project is to compile existing evaluations of environmental
impacts of current hull cleaning operations and assess the benefits and limitation
with using robots for hull maintenance.
This will include a summary of different types of robots and their
hull performance provides more efficient vessel propulsion yielding a reduction
in fuel consumption and emissions. As a robotic activity, the need to dry dock
the vessel is reduced, if not eliminated, which reduces the period that the
vessel is not operating. Also more frequent hull cleaning will reduce the
possibility of introducing non indigenous species in distant waters.
search of TRB’s website did not provide any research reports on this topic.
Issues related to biofouling
·Description of biofouling
·Quantification of impacts of biofouling
o Increased resistance
o Increased fuel consumption
o Increased emissions
investigate current hull cleaning practices
· Material and equipment requirements
· Energy inputs
· Generated waste
· Time and cost associated with dry dock cleaning
· Review of available robotic option for hull
· Description of operational steps to implement
· Summary of advantages and issues with each
· Capital and ongoing cost of each option
staff training for each option
Case study for implemented robotic option
product of this effort is a report that provides an overview of biofouling, its
environmental impacts, alternative methods for hull cleaning, and the role that
robotics and AI can play in these operations.
This report can be posted on the internet, and distributed to vessel
operators, port authorities, state and federal agencies, and non-governmental
groups that have concerns with water quality, invasive species or are promoting
fuel efficiency in the marine sector.
Results from this study would be of value to vessel operators who want to reduce fuel consumption or agency and organizations that focus on the reduction of environmental impacts of shipping, this could be a local non-government organization, port authority, or air quality agency.
|Sponsoring Committee:||AW030, Marine Environment
|Research Period:||12 - 24 months|
|RNS Developer:||Richard Billings|
|Source Info:||Changhui Song and Weicheng Cui, Review of Underwater Ship Hull Cleaning Technologies, Journal of Marine Science and Application (October 13, 2020)|
New Robot May Help Keep Ships’ bottoms Clean, The Economist, May 30, 2020
|Index Terms:||Robotics, Cleaning equipment, Cleaning, Hazardous materials, Ships, Antifouling coatings, |
Maintenance and Preservation
Vehicles and Equipment