Virtual Biofouling Workshop: Current industry development

Biofouling from different perspectives

Ship hulls are often exposed to fouling by microorganisms, plants, algae and animals. This process, known as biofouling, results in the introduction and spread of non-native species in foreign waters and an increased current resistance of the ships, which leads to increased energy consumption.

The fouling process can be prevented by effective anti-fouling systems. An improvement in hydrodynamic properties, fuel savings and thus reduced transport costs as well as a reduction in environmentally harmful emissions can be achieved. The use of effective antifouling systems is therefore sensible from an economic point of view and in the interest of the environment.

© Svetlana Yudina / Shutterstock
© Svetlana Yudina / Shutterstock

The virtual "Biofouling Workshop" revolved around this important topic for the shipping industry: Current industry development" on 24 November 2020, organised by the Competence Centre GreenShipping Lower Saxony, the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany e. V. and EurA AG. Around 50 participants looked at the topic from different perspectives and discussed it in question and answer sessions.


The programme of the workshop included exciting lectures by renowned experts and plenty of space for an open exchange of ideas.

At the beginning of the event, the market overview published this summer by the GreenShipping Competence Centre Lower Saxony in cooperation with the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany and EurA AG was presented. In the overview, which can be downloaded free of charge from the website of the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany e. V., solutions against biofouling on ship hulls of various companies and institutions are listed.


The event was continued with lectures from various initiators, which were to illuminate the topic of biofouling from different perspectives.

The prelude was made by Jürgen Gerdes, managing director of Maritime Engineering & Solutions GmbH. Mr. Gerdes spoke from the perspective of the users and reported on the requirements that ship operators place on biofouling systems. First of all, the different IMO guidelines were mentioned, which deal with species transfer and the prevention of negative influences by antifouling systems. Mr. Gerdes also presented considerations from the company's point of view as to what extent the ship's hull would have to be treated optimally (from coatings to ultrasound) in order to reduce both efficiency (weight, flow resistance) and damage (corrosion acceleration).


Dr. Benjamin Emde from the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) presented the project FoulLas. The project is carried out in cooperation between the LZH, Laserline GmbH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research IFAM. It is dedicated to the removal of fouling from maritime surfaces using laser radiation under water. This is achieved by lethal damage to the micro-organisms and subsequently by the cleaning effect of the water flow. Dr. Emde also presented the test environment Helgoland.


Bernd Daehne from Dr. Brill + Partner GmbH reported on the island of Norderney. Mr. Daehne presented various test methods for testing innovative antifouling systems and corresponding test results. The barnacle rapid test in the laboratory (number of larvae on surfaces) was presented and the fouling after different treatments from simulated static and dynamic field tests in the harbour was shown. Test plots have already been installed on coastal ships for the realistic implementation of a possible field test.


Not to be disregarded when it comes to biofouling are the regulations. In this regard, Dr. Katja Broeg from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency gave an overview of current developments in regional, national and international bodies. She reported on the revision of the 2011 Biofouling Guidelines of the IMO and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. Dr. Broeg described the Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Task Group on BWMC and Biofouling and presented the HELMCOM Biofouling Management Roadmap. Finally, she outlined the objectives of the GloFouling Partnership.


Dr. Rainer Henking from EurA AG concluded the presentation. In his presentation, Dr. Henking showed ways to practical solutions for companies with interdisciplinary expertise. A roadmap for the further procedure was presented, which is intended to ensure the long-term establishment of solution finding. Future implementation variants of online-based meetings (pitch event, hybrid event) were evaluated with the participants.


After the presentations, the speakers were available to answer the participants' questions. A lively discussion ensued, which could be continued in an open-topic exchange following the event.


Eva von Soosten from the Competence Centre GreenShipping Lower Saxony is pleased about the great interest in the event: "In the discussions during the workshop and in the subsequent exchange many new ideas and points of contact emerged for us. We are very much looking forward to launching innovative projects as early as next year".
In the new year the topic of biofouling will be taken up at further events. Dr. Rai-ner Henking from EurA AG explains: "We will start the new year with a hybrid event. Here, companies that are working on solutions against biofouling will give us the opportunity to show their production facilities, laboratories or even first applications in the form of live broadcasts.
Further information on other events can be found in the Maritime Calendar of the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany e. V. and on the website of the Competence Centre GreenShip-ping Lower Saxony.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Eva von Soosten (MCN/GreenShipping Lower Saxony) and Dr. Rai-ner Henking (EurA AG).



Eva von Soosten


GreenShipping Niedersachsen

Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland e.V.

+49 4404 98786-17

+49 0173 4068686

Dr. Rainer Henking



+49 40 548 870 4-36

+49 152 34038351



+49 7961 9256-0

Max-Eyth-Straße 2

73479 Ellwangen


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