SBIR Phase I: Functionalized Coating Chemistries for the Environment-Responsible Control of Barnacle Biofouling
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will address the market-driven need for environmentally compatible marine antifouling coating technologies that outperform the state-of-the-art. Increasing environmental regulations have led to the banning of the most effective marine antifouling coatings which rely on toxicity as their mode of action. The best performing of these coatings contain heavy metal-based organometallics which when released into the environment persist, bioaccumulate, and affect non-target species. Increasing scrutiny of any type of heavy metal antifouling approach and growing concerns related to the use of even non-metal biocides has provided a product opportunity for our toxin-free technologies premised on a mechanistically different eco-friendly antifouling strategy. Our broad objective and anticipated outcome from our green chemistry process is the creation of commercially viable, eco-friendly antifouling surface technologies for biofouling control. By integrating advanced materials and manufacturing practices with a chemical biology perspective, we plan to create low cost, durable, self-polishing, low-settlement, foul-release coatings suitable for rigorous marine applications including ship hulls and energy producing offshore structures. Our coatings will employ both non-toxic and zero-volatile organic compound (VOC) systems ushering in new generation of highly effective antifouling technologies that are environmentally more responsible than current high-VOC, metal/biocide poisoning approaches. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project arises from a growing demand for green chemistry solutions to curtail biofouling of manmade structures. If left unchecked, the attachment and subsequent build-up of biofouling organisms, such as barnacles, will severely compromise the performance characteristics of structures such as ship hulls, aquaculture containment systems, and offshore energy-producing devices. Increased hydrodynamic drag on commercial hulls results in estimated excess fuels costs of 40 billion dollars annually and wastes natural resources and contributes to pollution. Economical antifouling technologies have the potential to disruption ecologically sensitive habitats and have shaped a product opportunity in a commercial space defined by price point, performance, and environmental regulations. Our transformative approach to developing effective, low cost, eco-friendly marine antifouling coatings evolved from a chemical biological and molecular mechanistic understanding of barnacle glue. When integrated with foul-release properties, durable coating chemistries capable of reducing settlement by preventing hardening of biofouler glue will result not only in a commercial product addressing a societal need but will also enhance our understanding of key scientific and technological principles underlying the marine biofouling problem. Participating professionals will benefit from multidisciplinary technical training in a 15 billion dollar marine coatings, ?green? collar jobs industry.
Small Business Information at Submission:
E PAINT CO.
25 RESEARCH RD EAST FALMOUTH, MA 02536-6444
Number of Employees: