Ocean carriers are always on the lookout for new ways to cut costs and reduce pollution, whether it's slow steaming, converting from diesel to CNG, or building an even bigger Supermax containership.
Now, they have a new option for cutting fuel costs with SLIPS (Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces), a slippery hull coating that prevents algae, mussels, and barnacles from attaching to submerged surfaces. If vessels are left untreated, this "marine fouling" creates extra drag on ship hulls that reduces fuel efficiency and adds tens of billions of dollars every year in extra fuel costs and additional CO*2 emissions.
Created by SLIPS Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., the high-tech coating is an alternative to the current generation of copper-based anti-fouling paints, which are on the verge of being banned in many regions because of their toxicity.
The creators are now working with researchers at Harvard University to promote the use of SLIPS materials for marine applications. Their work is being funded by a grant from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).