The purpose of Ecospeed is to offer a long-lasting, non-toxic protection for all ship hulls and to provide a system that keeps a hull very smooth and free of fouling for the service life of the vessel with minimal repair and no replacement. Instead of using chemicals to try to kill and repel marine fouling organisms, Ecospeed uses a hard, impermeable, impenetrable coating along with manual removal of fouling at an early stage.
The technology can be broken down into its constituent parts:
A glassflake reinforced resin coating that is impermeable, impenetrable, long-lasting, inert and non-toxic. The coating is applied usually in two coats each of 500 μm dry film thickness (DFT) to a properly prepared hull, either at new build (ideal) or in drydock for an in-service vessel. It works equally well on steel, aluminum or GRP. A minimum of about 3 hours is required in between coats and there is no maximum overcoat time. This coating has extraordinary adhesion and bonding qualities. It is very tough and resistant to abrasion. It is also flexible and remains firmly bonded to the plates even when these flex considerably.
2. Routine underwater cleaning
Once the coating has been applied, it will need to be cleaned routinely to keep fouling to never more than slime and light weed. This is done in the water using specially developed equipment and tools. This lends this technology its extraordinary fuel efficiency. Frequency of cleaning will depend very much on the operating pattern and environment of the ship. In tropical waters, and especially if the ship is idle for periods or spends much time at anchor or quayside, the hull may need to be cleaned regularly. In colder waters or ice conditions, cleaning need be much less frequent, even as little as a few times a year. There is a distinct foul-release property to the coating which becomes more noticeable as the coating becomes smoother and smoother. It has been found that it is possible to break down the hull cleaning to better adapt it to the ship’s schedule. So one side of the hull can be cleaned during one port visit and the other side and/or flat bottom and niche areas can be cleaned on a subsequent visit to the same or another port.
3. Touch-ups in drydock
The coating is expected to last the full service life of the ship without need for replacement or any major repair. However, mechanical damage such as that caused by collision or anchor chain abrasion, or by welding on the hull or other causes can easily be touched up during routine drydocking. Because the coating consists of a single, homogenous layer, any repair or touch-up easily blends in without any difficulty. The integrity of the hull coating is maintained despite such repairs. Because no repaint is needed, several days and up to a week can be saved in drydock times during each visit.
The coating alone provides superior hull protection, but it is the full Ecospeed technology in all its parts that results in the major fuel savings.