Marine coatings

Developing more sustainable marine-fouling and corrosion control solutions.

About Calix’s marine coatings

The biofouling of marine vessels increases hull surface roughness, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It also results in contamination and damage to marine eco-systems.

Conventional anti-foul paints and coatings are toxic and have well documented negative effects on the marine environment.
 
To deliver more sustainable marine-fouling and corrosion control, Calix is developing non-toxic bioactive additives that aim to enable a material reduction in the use of toxic biocides.

Marine biofouling control is similar in many ways to pest and disease control in agriculture – both rely on toxic or biocidal chemicals and both are under regulatory pressure.

Calix’s marine coating program aims to develop non-toxic bioactive additives that improve the effectiveness and durability of antifoul coatings to meet operational and environmental requirements.
 
Results from Calix’s initial studies in Australia indicate its materials are compatible with common formulations and their inclusion coincides with significantly reduced biofouling.

The opportunity

Marine biofouling is the natural accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals on submerged or wet surfaces.

Left unchecked, biofouling increases hull surface roughness, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Without effective antifouling measures, vessel performance, fuel consumption and the resultant emissions are negatively affected.

Additionally, bio-fouled vessel hulls from around the world can introduce non-indigenous marine organisms, which may contaminate marine waters and compete with native species. It is estimated that 75% of introduced marine species in Australian waters are a result of biofouling on marine vessels.

Owners of marine vessels spend considerable time and money to mitigate the effects of fouling on vessel performance and biosecurity. Anti-foul paints and coatings provide protection against corrosion and contain biocides that slow bio-fouling. However, the toxicity of these biocides and their negative effect on the marine environment is well documented.

Anti-fouling agents such as tributyltin oxide (TBT) have been historically used on ships and recreational boats to prevent biofouling. However, TBT slowly leaches out of coatings into the marine environment where it is highly toxic toward non-target organisms, leading to the collapse of local populations of organisms. As a result it was effectively banned, globally.

While the biocides commonly used today are less toxic, there is still growing concern they can also contaminate and damage marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, the cost of anti-foul coating application and maintenance can be very high. Typical costs of hull treatment during a drydocking can range from thousands to several million dollars depending on vessel size and the type of coating system applied.

Our solution

To deliver more sustainable marine-fouling and corrosion control, Calix is developing non-toxic bioactive additives that aim to enable a material reduction in the use of toxic biocides.

Calix has successfully completed phase two static tests with leading global coatings firms. Following this success, ongoing dynamic tests and coatings formulation work is underway in different marine antifouling sites across North America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia.

How it works

Calix’s bioactive materials are based on magnesium minerals and derivatives.

Magnesium oxide and hydroxide are intrinsically safe for humans, and the environment.

Calix grinds natural magnesium minerals to produce particles around the size of plain flour, before heating the ground minerals to produce a high surface area bioactive MgO powder. Oxygen reacts on the surface of the material to produce reactive oxygen.

Humans, animals and plant immune systems produce reactive oxygen to fight-off infection. Reactive oxygen inhibits the growth of many pathogenic microorganisms, including biofouling marine organisms.

Calix’s marine coatings program aims to utilise its platform technology and the unique physical and bioactive material properties it produces to develop safe and sustainable materials to address global challenges.

Sustainable Development Goals

The current use of many products in the agriculture, shipping and pharmaceutical industries damages ecosystems on land and below water.

To reach the Sustainable Development Goals, solutions that enable the sustainable use of our land and oceans are needed.
 
Calix’s magnesium oxide-based materials are non-toxic and exhibit unique bioactive properties. Their application can replace polluting or damaging products in agriculture and marine coatings, and help address the rise of antimicrobial resistance.

Contact us Calix Limited

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