At present the most effective way of protecting box coolers against marine fouling are the Impressed Current Anti Fouling systems (ICAF).
We posted earlier that Shipsonic, together with Blokland Non Ferro, is working on an ultrasonic alternative for box-cooler antifouling. The first prototypes of this new system are now being tested.
But until such time that this system has been completely developed and tested, ICAF systems will remain indispensable for the professional sector. Ocean going vessels simply cannot operate without them. Still, the amount of copper ions pumped into the oceans this way is staggering.
ICAF impact calculation
Here is a quick calculation of the environmental impact of ICAF systems worldwide:
– There are around 52.000 merchant marine sea going vessels.
– There are around 4 million fishing vessels in the world, of which 1,3 million are decked vessels.
The average number of ICAF systems per ship is difficult to estimate: a fishing vessel might have 1, while a big platform supply vessel might have 26 ICAF systems.
Still, a rough and conservative estimate would be:
– On average 8 ICAF systems per ship for the merchant marine fleet.
– Say that of 1,3 million decked fishing vessels 1 million have at least 1 ICAF system.
52.000 x 8 = 416.000 ICAF systems in the merchant marine
1.000.000 ICAF systems in the fishing fleet
1.416.000 ICAF systems worldwide.
On average, for a small box-cooler per year 5 kilograms of copper ions are released into the environment (this is again a conservative estimate, bigger box-cooler with bigger ICAF systems release more)
That results in a conservative estimate of 7.080.000 kilograms of copper ions released in the seas yearly!
Alternative for box-cooler protection
The estimation makes clear that finding an alternative for ICAF systems should be high on the agenda of international shipping. That is exactly why Shipsonic and Blokland are investing in working with NIOZ and the HZ Flushing on developing environmentally neutral, ultrasonic anti fouling technology for box cooler protection.