Clean Ocean Coatings
Clean Ocean Coatings are providing an innovative solution to reduce microplastic pollution and CO2 emissions in the shipping industry. Currently toxic antifouling coatings are applied to the hull of ships to prevent algae and seashell growth but it also erodes off into the sea contributing to the microplastic problem and damaging ecosystems. It is used on all ships, with 100,000 tonnes (T) applied each year, but 50% ends up in the sea and ultimately also in your sushi!
Strategic Allies Limited (SAL) came across Clean Ocean Coatings at the Innovation Network for Advanced Materials (INAM), Advanced Materials Competition (AdMaCom) in 2022 and were inspired by their innovative technology which can contribute to cleaning up the shipping industry! The company has developed a unique coating called ‘Ecoating’, which combines a nano-structured particle and a polymer matrix. This introduces the flexible benefits of polymers and the durability of ceramics. It can be applied without solvents, is durable and incredibly smooth. The smooth nature allows barnacles to be removed easily and also helps improve fuel consumption.
It was developed through a chance encounter, involving an adventurous technology transfer office and a “wonder” material. The material was developed amongst others by their CTO, Patricia Griem (below right), while working for Phi-Stone AG, in partnership with the University of Kiel, Germany. The university technology transfer office were deciding how to market this coating and as they were close to the coast they decided to test it by applying a patch to the hull of a vessel. Several years later the owner of the vessel came back and asked to buy the material directly. They were amazed that patch still remained even after several years at sea, and from here Clean Ocean Coatings was born, officially forming in 2020. The same patch is still there and has been on the hull of the original ship for 7.5 years. Since then they have performed several successful tests on other vessels.
The Clean Ocean Coating CEO, Dr Christina Linke (left), shared that they are hoping to help the shipping industry not only minimise their antifouling pollution but also save them money and reduce CO2 emissions! As their coating improves fuel consumption and only has 3 layers compared to the conventional 5 layers they predict an annual saving of €600,000 per vessel. Beyond cost saving, they predict adoption of their technology can reduce CO2 by 800,000 T, microplastic waste by 1,250 T and 440 T of solvents by 2030. They describe their product as ‘The Antifouling management of tomorrow!’
Clean Ocean Coatings are working to improve their formulation and hope to have two pilot vessels with completely coated hulls by the end of the year. The team are growing, with offices in Berlin and Hamburg. They have just secured pre-seed investment and are looking to close their seed round in 2024. Clean Ocean Coatings are looking for investment, partners and new team members to ensure their “wonder” coating reaches commercialisation.
We wish Clean Ocean Coatings every success and are looking forward to seeing how they develop. Its not just us who think they are going places as they have won awards including AdMACom, Venture for ClimateTech global innovation challenge, Tech Awards Gala, Fast Mover & Biofouling Innovation Challenge and have been shortlisted in many other events!