Nearly 70 percent of the world’s industrial shipping and recreational boating fleet use copper-based paints as an antifouling strategy. These bottom paints are designed to slowly release copper into surface waters to kill and slow the growth of microorganisms such as algae and barnacles.
As a result of this leaching, copper and other metals have compounded to often toxic levels in our oceans, lakes and waterways. Studies show that dissolved copper in many harbors and waterways affect the growth, development and reproduction of marine life as well as impact humans who work in those environments or eat the fish and crustaceans caught in contaminated waters.
In an effort to balance the need for effective antifouling strategies with environmentally-friendly practices, the maritime community seeks alternative measures. An answer may be found in Sharklet™. With funding and support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Sharklet Technologies continues to develop and evaluate how the Sharklet pattern may help deter attachment of certain types of barnacle cyprid and algal zoospores, both precursors to the development of mature barnacles and algae that foul vessels.
Research for a Sharklet Marine solution continues under the U.S. Office of Naval Research. A Sharklet antifouling solution may be delivered to market within the next several years for the recreational boating and maritime industries.