Hull Cleaning, Waste Capture System Getting Readied
In November 2015, the Australian Government awarded GRD Franmarine an accelerating commercialization project grant work A$1 million. Now, after more than five years of research and development, GRD - Franmarine will release the first full scale commercial hull cleaning unit in July 2016.
Development has been focussed on getting the engineering right. The vortex produced by the contactless blades and on-board pumps is sufficient to contour the cleaning pods to the ship’s hull creating a negative water pressure vacuum seal which prevents potentially harmful biofouling escaping into the surrounding environment. Cleaned debris is then pumped to the surface where it enters a real time, multi staged filtration system which separates all solid particles greater than 15 micron, while the remaining filtrate is passed through an ultra violet radiation disinfection unit, before being returned to the ocean.
Having now achieved this world’s first in environmentally benign in-water hull cleaning, GRD - Franmarine are incorporating these latest developments into the final design.
The company will then move to the next stage of development including automation with in-water survey capability and ultrasonic hull plate thickness measuring equipment.
The estimated total release of copper from the cleaning of the entire underwater hull using the Envirocart system is less than that passively released by the active antifouling coating per day, says the company.
The Envirocart enables soft, silicon-based antifouling paints and coatings containing pesticides such as copper oxide to be cleaned using a contactless cleaning method. This fully containerized system is capable of being deployed to remote locations or directly onto a dive support vessel and is rated to offshore specifications.
The primary underwater cleaning tool is a hydraulically powered hull cleaning unit fitted with rotating discs. The discs can be fitted with conventional brushes for glass or epoxy based coatings or a revolutionary new patented blade system which can remove marine biofouling without damaging the antifouling paint (silicone and copper oxide).
Additionally there are a patented range of fully enclosed hand cleaning tools for difficult to access niche areas such as anodes and sea chests, providing an innovative total solution that enables in-water cleaning to be conducted in a manner that causes no biological risk to the environment.