Highlights from our Marine Biofouling Webinars

Recently NBIC, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) jointly hosted a series of 3 webinars focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by Marine Biofouling. Our Senior Innovation Consultant, William Green shares his highlights from the series.


Event 1: Biocide use in Antifouling Coatings – The Regulatory Framework


Guest Speakers

Tomoyoshi Chiba, Chugoku Marine Paints, Japan

Geoff Mackrill, Teamac Marine Paints, UK


This event presented a summary of the regulatory landscape relating to marine biocides in the EU and Asian markets, both presentations gave a great amount of detail on existing approved biocides as well as detailing the process for anyone looking to register a new one. I strongly recommend you watch the full webinar here for all the details, in the meantime my key takeaways are as follows.


Cost of registering a new product

While the size of the marine antifouling market is estimated at $34.2bn (NBIC independent research data), the cost of registering a new biocide in either the EU or Asian markets usually runs over £100,000 and can take up to 10 years with no guarantee of success.


Currently approved product list is shrinking

Given the time and financial costs related to registering a new biocide it is well worth considering applying an existing approved biocide in a novel way. However, the list of approved biocides has been shrinking (from 20 to 5 in the EU market) and so it is important that you make sure to choose your biocide carefully.


Non biocidal products

It is worth noting that antifouling products that do not use biocides are not affected by these regulations and so have a significantly shorter route to market.


Event 2: The challenges and opportunities of antifouling biocide regulations – An industrial perspective


Guest Speakers

Neil Oxtoby, International Paint Ltd

Gareth Prowse, Hempel


Having heard the summary of marine biofouling regulations in the first event, the second event gives an industry perceptive on how those regulations and other emerging factors are driving new product development in the antifouling industry.


Sulphur limit on fuel use

Tighter regulations on levels of sulphur produced by marine vessels came into force in 2020 which has resulted in operators switching to cleaner fuels as well as investing in more effective anti-fouling solutions to reduce drag. This is an area which is only going to get stricter over time increasing demand for highly effective anti-fouling solutions.


Non-Indigenous species

Transfer of non-indigenous species via hull fouling is an emerging area which may well begin to be regulated in the near future, countries beginning to set limits on non-indigenous species entering national waters will act as a huge driver for innovation in marine antifouling solutions.


The need for global aligned regulations and effective tests

Currently marine regulations are split between global, regional and country specific rules, in addition the tests required to meet these regulations vary across different regions. There is a strong industry need for aligned regulations across the globe backed up by accurate and effective tests and models to allow for product approval.


Ship owners and operators focussing on decarbonising by 2050

This involves a large array of methods including efficient vessel designs however hell efficiency is still a very large part of the target. Due to the 25-year lifespan of most vessels’ changes need to be put in place by 2025 in order to meet the 2050 target, this is another huge driver for innovation in antifouling solutions. Even if vessels move to cleaner fuels there will still be an energy cost associated with the creation of those fuels and so hull efficiency is still key.


Choosing the right solution for the right vessel

Marine coatings are not born equal, there are a variety of different solutions with different strengths and weaknesses and it’s important that potential customers have the information available to make the right choice. Any company wishing to move into the marine antifouling sector should carefully consider how to market products to ensure it is used in the correct way.


Event 3: Biofilm control – what’s next?


Guest speakers

Grant Burgess, Newcastle University 

Manuel Anselmo, ALVIM

Markus Hoffmann, I-Tech AB

Ali Miserez, Nanyang Technological University

Serena Lay Ming Teo, National University of Singapore

The final webinar in the series gave several NBIC and SCELSE members present new technology that they have created to answer the unmet industry need and tightening regulations presented in the first two webinars. The video pitches as well as a written version of each is available here.

I hope you have found the webinar series informative, if you would like to get in touch regarding any potential new technology and how we can help you connect with interested industrial or research partners please do get in touch.


William Green, NBIC Senior Innovation Consultant