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Environmental concerns regarding the use of TBT have been the primary driving force behind the development of alternate antifouling materials in recent years. Many of the new TBT-free materials, while avoiding the use of TBT, can provide long-term high-performance, but not without a sacrifice by creating new areas of possible concern. High copper loadings and leach rates, high Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) formulation and the use of new co-biocides that may not have yet obtained recognition or full approval from regulatory bodies have been necessary in many cases to be able to provide high levels of service.
PPG’s experience and success with high-performance TBT-free antifoulings over the past 20 years has enabled us look past this phase in the evolution of antifouling technology of attempting to provide customers with materials offering the same level of performance as TBT, and address the issues and concerns of the future. The focus has been on the development of new materials that continue to maintain low VOC emissions, employ the use of recognized biocides and co-biocides, and a better control of leach rates of the primary biocides. The result of this has been materials with greatly reduced copper loadings and leach rates, while still providing long-term high-performance rivaling that of our existing products.
PPG is also devoting considerable resource in the improvement of existing low surface energy foul-release technology that previously was in very low demand, due to the higher material and application costs, plus inherent service and maintenance problems associated with these types of materials. The increasing interest in the use of biocide-free materials has accelerated development of more durable and trouble-free systems.
New technologies are also emerging that may offer a high level of resisting the attachment of marine fouling to the bottom of marine vessels without the use of biocides and PPG is working closely with Academia and industry in these areas that look promising.
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