Fouling is a natural phenomenon that affects any object, including a boat in fibreglass, metal or wood, immersed in the sea. It appears initially with the creation of an invisible biofilm – the biofilm forms just a few minutes after a boat is placed in the water – which is then colonised by parasitic organisms (algae, mussels, barnacles etc.). The speed of colonisation depends on the temperature, the amount of nutrients in the water and the light, but it is inevitable. So the hull needs to be protected. The introduction of the latest EU regulations, which first cracked down on the use of biocides and now on glyphosate (they must be withdrawn by the end of 2019) in antifouling, makes the electronic ultrasound antifouling systems increasingly competitive. Traditional antifouling paints risk losing some of their effectiveness, especially in such warm seas as the Mediterranean, without these substances which have proved highly polluting. The SonicBoat
®ultrasound system “A smooth hull offers less resistance to forward motion, increasing the speed of the vessel and reducing fuel consumption. One or 2 mm of algae or organisms on a hull causes speed loss of about 15%,” says Davide Fatigati, CEO of Pantecnica. “Every year tens of thousands of tonnes of antifouling paint are used,” says Fatigati, “and it’s extremely poisonous. The EU prohibited the use of biocides from December 2017 and, at last, of glyphosate from 2019 for protecting the hull of boats from living organisms.” Pantecnica offers a new electronic, ultrasound antifouling system: SonicBoat. “We arrived at SonicBoat on the one hand through our engagement in the safeguarding of the sea. In fact Pantecnica supports the One Ocean Foundation
, which has been involved in making people aware of the spread of plastic in the marine environment since it was formed. Then SonicBoat is based on ultrasound, meaning waves, and we have always been involved in antivibration products and vibration, again, means waves even though they are mechanical; so we have in-depth competence as regards behaviour, wavelength, frequencies…”
How does the SonicBoat system work?
A power generators sends to the transducers vibrating impulses at very high frequency: the sonic vibrations generated are transferred to the exterior of the vessel, creating micro bubbles in the water in contact with the hull (the water molecules pass quickly to the vapour phase because of the high-energy vibrations they receive), and these bubbles implode because of water
pressure and the sudden cooling, creating ultrasound shocks that prevent the formation of microorganisms on the hull. The system also protects propellers and transmission shafts.
How is SonicBoat installed?