By the end of the autumn period of 2018: The pilot plant, which was designed, constructed and tested, is currently operating at the CERICOL Partner company site (Cericol, Colorobbia Consulting – Sovigliana-Vinci) and provided for the production of three selected formulations.
Actions B1 and B2 concerned…
- The design and construction of the pilot plant at CERICOL premises, optimized to produce the new eco-compatible lots of the Paint-it formulates
- The optimization for the pre-industrial production on the pilot plant both in non-continuous and continuous modes
- The quality control of the components so-produced and their testing by lab-to lab comparison, according to the procedure adopted together with UNITOR
- The realization of specific package kits of the new paints, for easy transportation and end-user handling
- The production of the necessary documentation on the produced lots, as well as the technical and safety sheets
From the spring-summer season of 2019: The following actions concerned the final validation phase, by transferring the new pre-industrial Paint-it varnishes from the pilot plant to the industrial end-user, the Partner AZIMUT (Azimut-Benetti, Avigliana), for the application procedures on preliminary supports and then on the hull of prototype vessels in order to assess the antifouling performance and the mechanical resistance of the resulting coatings. Various observations and tests in real conditions at sea, both in harbor calm water and by navigation trials, were carried out for a standard 3-6-months period.
Action B3 concerned…
- The application by AZIMUT of two of the selected experimental paints preliminary on panels placed at the harbor, to test the calm water effect, then on the hulls of AZ 77s and AZ V40 vessels
- The characterization of the resulting coatings by dedicated laboratory equipment and new assessment of the ecotoxicity
- The performance tests: direct observations and resistance to motions and velocity trails on open sea
- The elaboration of the results and preliminary considerations
- An additional activity to better clarify the performance in real environment
From the beginning of 2020 to early September 2020:
The analysis of the antifouling capacity of the innovative paint has been also actuated in real conditions and in extremely controlled way, in direct connection to the lab-scale results previously found by UNITOR (TRL 5/6). The additional testing activity was performed by comparing the algae growth on a small scale boat prototype coated with one of the selected innovative paints, compared to the algae growth that occurred on the hull of an identical prototype coated with a commercial antifouling paint based on traditional biocides (full comparative tests). The growth of the biofilm was assessed through hydrodynamic tests in fresh lake waters (Iseo Lake, Monticelli Brusati, Italy) where both the prototype boats were dragged at a certain speed by measuring the resistance exerted by the water.
In this way, the steps of production and application in pre-industrial scale were by-passed, with the possibility of overcoming all the possible sources of interference and any uncontrolled factors deriving from the industrial implementation steps (Higher TRL). In this way it was possible to control and more properly assess the analysis and validation in real conditions of the paint activity.
Further extension of action B3 concerned…
- Step 1 (January 2020): Acquisition of the raw materials and preparation in the laboratory of a batch of one of the selected innovative formulations, together with the anti-vegetative commercial reference paint, in a quantity suitable for coating a small hull (total length of 2.5 m). During this step two identical prototypes were realized according to a specific profile based on a series of prototype hulls developed for hydrodynamic studies by the David Taylor Model Basin (DBTM), in compliance with the 62 SERIES model n. 4667-1. This model has intermediate characteristics compared to those presented by the other components of the series to which it belongs. It is also a systematically defined profile, with very abundant set of data available in the literature.
- Step 2 (during the first half of February 2020): Coating of the first one hull with the innovative paint and the second with the commercial anti-fouling commercial reference and subsequent drying/consolidation.
- Step 3 (from the second half of February to the first half of September 2020): Testing activities and analysis of the results. The tests were conducted leaving the prototype boats stationary in the lake calm water in order to allow the vegetation to grow; then, the assessment of the water resistance was performed by measuring the total resistance to motion which is made up of the sum of two factors: the friction of the hull on the water and the resistance of the wave (dimension linked to the shape and displacement of the model). The measurement of the total resistance to motion was performed by using a load cell mounted in correspondence with the coupling of the tow cable to the bow of the prototype. The resistance was subsequently plotted as a function of the speed of the boat instant by instant which was measured through a system that consisted of an electronic inertial platform mounted on the prototype, and an associated GPS system. Through the platform/GPS system the pitch and roll could also be measured, influenced by the presence of the biofilm even if not directly usable for the quantification of the same.