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Understanding Hull Coating Performance with Big Data

By Michael Hindmarsh, Channel Manager, AkzoNobel Marine Coatings Business

Understanding Hull Coating Performance with Big Data

Michael Hindmarsh, Channel Manager, AkzoNobel Marine Coatings Business

Why is a marine coating supplier using a big data tool, and what does this have to do with fuel efficiency and carbon emissions?

Ordinarily when we think of big data, we think of projects like Facebook’s quest to unlock the secrets of its users’ behavior, or the streamlining of on-demand services such as Uber. Even though the prevalence of big data in many areas has now become the accepted norm, the technology is still new to shipping, an industry that moves 90 percent of all global goods.

To those in the industry, the pursuit of smart, data driven solutions in all aspects of shipping has become increasingly valuable as pressure grows on the industry to lessen its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and operate within increasingly tight profit margins. Most commentators agree that 2017 will be a challenging year for the industry as new legislation comes into force, such as the new Emissions Control Areas established this year in China and the upcoming 0.5 percent global sulphur cap for marine fuel.

"Advanced eco-efficiency hull coatings can reduce average fuel spend and associated emissions on a vessel"

In response to these challenges, coatings are an essential tool in increasing a ship’s efficiency and reducing emissions. Advanced eco-efficiency hull coatings can reduce average fuel spend and associated emissions on a vessel considerably leading to savings in the millions of dollars and tons of carbon. The basic principle here is reducing the friction between a ship’s hull and the water. However, there’s no single best coating for all situations. Ships face a myriad of different challenges, operating as they do with different routes and varying operating profiles. Some ships may encounter higher fouling challenges – i.e. growth of barnacles and other sea creatures on the hull – depending on their speed, and the temperature of the water in which they operate. Fouling will increase the roughness of a hull, slowing down a ship and taxing its fuel efficiency. Other ships on less fouling-intensive routes will need to optimize for fuel efficiency – but the size, shape and speed of the vessel will all affect its performance. So how can ship owners and operators select the best coatings, and how can they measure the benefits?

The sheer number of factors at play here necessitates the adoption of a big data solution. This is why AkzoNobel’s Marine Coatings Business, the supplier of International coatings chose to develop Intertrac Vision. Intertrac Vision is a pioneering patent pending consultancy tool for ship owners and operators that provides predictions on the fuel and CO2 savings potential of fouling control coatings, prior to application.

The result is the shipping industry’s first fouling control performance predictive tool that enables ship owners to select the most effective coating and substrate preparation for their vessels and fleet, based on a full economic and environmental analysis that enables users to instantly and accurately assess the rate of return from fouling control coatings prior
to application.

Fouling control coatings have a significant role to play in creating modern, efficient and safe fleets for the 21st century. Big data, in the form of technologies will help suppliers and customers alike ensure the benefits of the right coating are maximised.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, AkzoNobel [Euronext: AKZA] is a global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. Operating since 1646, the company creates everyday essentials to make people's lives more liveable and inspiring.

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