Southampton Collaboration with Local Shipping Company to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Marine Biofouling
Recent research conducted by members of NBIC has highlighted the role that biofouling of ships has in increasing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide and other pollutant emissions. Ships transport ~80% of global trade, but contribute 2-3% of global carbon dioxide emissions. The study also found that biofouling of associated infrastructure, with biofilms often harbouring non-native microorganisms, is currently estimated to cost this sector $4-8bn per year.
The focus of the collaboration is to enable Carisbrooke to further optimise the management of hull biofouling across its fleet. The anticipated aims of the collaboration are to enable Carisbrooke to reduce costs of biofouling, as well as to reduce marine environmental impact and emissions via reduced fuel consumption. NBIC is bringing together multi-disciplinary resource from across the University of Southampton to support Carisbrooke, including the National Centre for Advanced Tribology (nCATS) and the School of Mathematical Sciences.
The initial phase of the collaboration was funded both by NBIC and also with Higher Education Innovation Funding overseen by the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), which is the University’s world leading institute for marine and maritime research, innovation and education. This phase focussed on analysis of the vast amounts of ship journey historical data held by Carisbrooke, using mathematics, advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, in order to understand, predict and ultimately optimise the management of hull biofouling. The next phase of the collaboration will be to develop this algorithm further to include the effects of biofouling interventions and further optimise a tool for the management of hull biofouling.
Jo Slater-Jefferies, CEO, NBIC said:
“NBIC would like to thank the SMMI for funding this proof-of-concept project, which works to address such an important issue. We recognise the power of multi-disciplinary collaboration, by working together we hope to find innovative solutions to manage hull biofouling”.
Carisbrooke Shipping Limited said:
“We have entered into collaboration with the University of Southampton to model the optimised management of hull biofouling across our fleet. The anticipated aims of the project were to enable Carisbrooke to reduce operational costs of biofouling, as well as to reduce marine environmental impact and emissions via minimising fuel consumption.
We feel that significant progress was made and the tool presented to us by School of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Southampton has a real-life application potential once fully developed. It was impressive to see the amount of work and modelling expertise invested in this project already and we are looking forward to testing this to further improve it and continue to collaborate with the University of Southampton.
We are proud to support UK maritime sector through combination of financing and knowledge sharing and offer a test opportunity for innovative technology on board of our existing ships to support sustainability and build the ships of the future”.
Professor Julian Wharton, nCATS said:
“This is an amazing opportunity to work with Carisbrooke Shipping Limited, an innovative shipping company that operates globally, using the University’s leading expertise and research tools to explore marine antifouling technologies and optimisation strategies”.
Professor Alain Zemkoho, School of Mathematical Sciences said:
“It is fascinating to see the potential of mathematics and relevant tools from optimisation, operational research, and machine learning to develop algorithms that can help address such an important issue as the management of biofouling in the shipping industry.”