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Michael Jones - Oceanmax

Enhancing performance and reducing marine pollution through smarter propeller coatings
 

ABSTRACT
A. Caughley,1 L. Le-Ngoc,1 R. Mckinlay1 and M. W. Jones2*
1. Callaghan Innovation, 5 Sheffield Cr, Burnside, Christchurch 8053
2. Oceanmax International Ltd, 25 Akatea Rd, Glendene, Auckland 0602


Global shipping was responsible for around 932 million tons of CO2 p.a. or 2.6% of all fossil fuel use and industrial processes in 2015. Shipping also has additional pollution contributions from SOx (sulfur oxides) as the restrictions on sulfur content in bunker fuel are less regulated than for road transport. Just one of the largest container ships can have up to the same SOx contribution as one million cars. The International Maritime Organisation has committed to reducing shipping-based pollution by 50% by 2050, so even modest reductions through propeller coatings would help towards achieving this goal.

Propeller coatings have been a very recent entry into marine applications. The propeller coatings are typically a non-toxic silicone rubber which does not kill marine growth but instead prevents settling and colonizing because of its flexibility and unique surface chemistry. Organisms that try to settle on a foul-release coated surface are unable to grip it tightly; and those that do attach when a ship is in port detach once the vessel reaches cruising speed.

Despite being designed solely as an anticorrosive foul-release coating, field reports of reduced fuel burn, cavitation damage and vibration from the coated propellers were equally unexpected and impressive. These claims have been investigated through laboratory studies, CFD modelling and in-water boat testing to provide us with an in-depth understanding of how the coating performs.

The results have unambiguously demonstrated numerous significant improvements from the moment of application of Propspeed® against a newly cleaned propulsion system both in the laboratory, in the CFD models and on two test boats.
Recently we have fabricated and commissioned water testing tunnel in Callaghan Innovation (Christchurch). It is the only one of its type in New Zealand and one of only 20 in the world. This system can perform measurements on the power and performance on scale model replicas of any type of propeller both clean and coated and in various stages of fouling with high levels of accuracy and reproducibility.

In terms of global social responsibility, this project is pivotal, in that it would actively reduce emissions from shipping if applied to even modest numbers of large commercial ships.


BIO:
Michael has been in the paints and coatings industry for the past 3 years. Hailing from the Far North, he received his BSc (Hons, 1st Class) from The University of Auckland in 2001, and followed this up with a PhD in Chemistry at UNSW in Sydney in 2005. He then ventured further afield to work with Sir Jack Baldwin at the University of Oxford designing and synthesising functional mimics of a penicillin forming enzyme. After this post he remained in The University of Oxford for a further 7 years as a college lecturer and researcher before returning to New Zealand in March 2015. His research areas centred around theranostic personalised medicines and low cost transparent conducting oxides for touch-screen applications. Since returning to NZ he commenced working for Oceanmax International, a rapidly growing New Zealand firm who make and export high value marine products to +30 countries worldwide. His role has been to set up a new product development and research program with collaborators from other businesses, tertiary institutes and Callaghan Innovation. Outside of the laboratory, and underside of boats, Michael enjoys all types of marine recreation, especially fishing and diving.



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