On May 28th 2015 the Dutch “Financieele Dagblad” published an article on AkzoNobel’s successful launch of the first ever carbon credit methodology in the maritime industry. Linked to our company’s eco-friendly antifouling coatings Intersleek®, the scheme provides an additional financial incentive to shipowners to upgrade to sustainable solutions.  However, as the maritime industry is going through a challenging period, is there an appetite for shipowners to do so?

More than 1.000 successful Intersleek applications

After years of development and testing Intersleek 1100SR was officially launched in February 2013. It’s the 3rd generation foul-release coating and the first ever antifouling which not only addresses animal and weed-fouling but is also resistant to slime. At the time the article in the “Financieele Dagblad” was published, only 100 vessels had switched to Intersleek 1100SR. Now, just two years later, over 1,000 ships have been coated successfully with this product. This is a testament to the efficacy of Intersleek 1100SR, and it shows that the industry, despite current pressures, has realized that it makes sense to invest in long-term sustainability.

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A sustainable antifouling generating a double-digit saving in fuel consumption

Intersleek 1100SR was initially popular with LNG ship owners with vessels sailing on relatively fixed trading routes. The owners and operators of these highly active vessels were keenly aware of the opportunity to save fuel. In recent years the navy and ferry segments have also seen increased uptake of Intersleek in recognition of the increased speed that the coating delivers, the fact that it allows them to get back into service, and the easy to sail-off any fouling that builds up after stationary periods. Almost without exception, shipowners confirm the superior fuel efficiency of Intersleek. As the “Financieele Dagblad” remarked in 2015, “from November 2013 the Spanish ferry company Baleària monitored the benefits of using Intersleek on the ferry Martin i Soler for a year and noted a reduction in fuel consumption of 12% using Intersleek [1100SR].” Other sectors like product tankers, oil carriers and even container vessels have now also embraced Intersleek. Sometimes Intersleek is combined with the application of a traditional antifouling on selected areas of the hull, like for example the boot-top, which are more sensitive to mechanical damage. Such “duplex” schemes still generate attractive financial return whilst providing the optimal trade-off between the protection of the vessel and the environment at the same time.

Carbon Credits as a financial “cherry on the cake”

Shipowners and operators should primarily consider foul-release systems because of sustainability and the potential savings in fuel consumption. However, the Intersleek range comes with an additional economic incentive to switch to a biocide-free option. Those vessels that upgrade from a biocidal coating to Intersleek are eligible for inclusion in the first ever carbon credits scheme in the maritime industry. The reduction in fuel consumption and subsequent greenhouse gasses (GHG) are awarded credits per ton of CO2 saved. The fuel and emissions saved are independently verified by FREMCO, class-society and the Gold Standard Foundation. Shipowners who are awarded the credits can either use them to offset carbon generation in other parts of their business or sell them off.

So far the scheme has generated more than 125,000 carbon credits for our customers. As authorities start to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions by the shipping industry, like the European Union did recently, we expect an uptake for the market of carbon credits.

A new member of the family

AkzoNobel will continue to prioritize sustainability with investments in products and systems which make our planet more liveable and inspiring. Marine Coatings doubles down on its further improvement of its foul-release range. Last year our top-of-the-range product Intersleek 1100SR was joined by new family member: Intersleek 1000. The patented technology of Intersleek 1000 incorporates a bio-renewable raw material that helps to deliver enhanced vessel performance, so that hulls coated with Intersleek 1000 maintain an ultra-smooth surface, reducing drag and lowering fuel consumption and emissions. This coating recognises the need to provide biocide-free, sustainable coatings for owners with differing preferences and operational requirements, increasing the technology’s availability throughout the industry.

Conclusion

The maritime industry remains in a challenging position with continuing overcapacity in most sectors such as the container market. On top of that new regulations are being adopted to reduce the 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 emitted annually which are responsible for about 2.5% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions. Foul-release antifouling coatings can play a significant part in addressing this issue. The first generation Intersleek was introduced in 1996. More than 1,000 vessels have now been coated with Intersleek 1100SR, the 3rd generation foul-release coating which was introduced in 2013. In the past 21 years, with over 5500 Intersleek applications, our customers have saved US$3 billion in fuel and 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions using foul-release systems. The carbon credit scheme from AkzoNobel not only provides an additional, economic incentive to switch to sustainable antifouling coatings, it also independently demonstrates the superior performance of Intersleek coatings. It begs the question: why would you still chose a traditional biocidal antifouling (BAF) if a sustainable alternative proves to be a better choice?

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@OscarWezenbeek

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