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Innovative Ultrasonic antifouling offers new way to stop algae, weed and barnacle fouling

Nov 11, 2009 After years of research and development, Ultrasonic Antifouling Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of a revolutionary new way to protect a boat from fouling. ‘The Ultra System' is an antifouling system that uses high frequency, low power sound waves to destroy algae and therefore prevent weed and barnacle growth.

Unlike traditional antifouling paint, ‘The Ultra System' is a low cost, highly effective and completely pollutant-free method of keeping a boat hull clear of contamination. What's more, it does away with the awful chore of the annual preparation and painting of the boat's bottom.

A clean hull is important to boat owners. It allows optimum speeds for faster passage times and reduces fuel costs by minimising drag – a significant factor for motorboats as the loss of diesel derogation in November looms closer. A recent report by the British Navy states "that it can take up to 20% more fuel to push a dirty hull through the water".

So how does ‘The Ultra System' work? Seaweed is the generic name for algae. It is the main cause of fouling on a boat's hull. Prevent the algae from attaching itself on to the hull and you stop weed growth and the base for barnacles. Ultrasonic Antifouling deals with the problem at source by destroying the algae.

Ultrasonic Antifouling Ltd currently offers two models – the Ultra 10, for boats up to 10m, and the Ultra 20 for boats up to 20m. Each system consists of a control box and either one (Ultra 10) or two transducers (Ultra 20) and can offer a bespoke system design facility for more complex installations, for example, superyachts/trimarans etc. The transducers are bonded to the inside of the boat's hull. No holes are made in the hull. The system covers all of the hull and underwater gear including propeller, shaft and sterngear, water intakes, bow thruster, log impeller, trim tabs, sail drive and outdrives. Careful placement of the transducers is the key to success and a full explanation of the installation is supplied to facilitate this.

The control box sends a variety of pulsed ultrasonic signals to the transducer(s), which, in turn, emits a series of low power, high frequency sound waves that are virtually inaudible to the human ear. They create a wall of moving water molecules over the whole surface of the submerged hull, creating a micro-environment that kills algae and prevents barnacle growth. The ‘science' is in the creation of the correct frequencies and the harmonics that are set up as a result. While this technology is new to the marine market, it is an established method used to prevent fouling in lakes, ponds, reservoirs and even greenhouses.

Commenting on the introduction, Managing Director, David Sothcott said, "Until now, a few people have had half hearted attempts at the ‘ultrasonic approach' to the business of antifouling, but nobody has really indicated any commitment or belief. These previous attempts have been analogue systems, using up to 40% more power than our digital system, and when power is at such a premium in the boating world, this is a big issue."

"There are numerous benefits with The Ultra System. Because a digital system can use more ‘differing' frequencies together, its range can destroy more algae types and it produces a much clearer ultrasonic sound wave. As technology advances, users will benefit from the most up-to-date and effective system and because we use a re-programmable chip, we can modify the frequencies to suit the conditions, if and when they change.

"We've spent many years of careful research into optimizing the system to prevent marine fouling. We believe sonic antifouling is the only way forward not only because of today's ‘greener' attitude to the environment but also because it offers better value for money than paint systems."

‘The Ultra System' makes economic sense. The annual cost of using a conventional paint system to treat a 10m yacht is between $500 and $1200. This includes lifting out and in, pressure washing, scraping and paint preparation, the paint itself and application either by the boat owner or by boatyard staff. Compare that to the one off cost of just $1300 of an Ultra 10 system.

The system is easy to install – clean the surface of the hull where the transducer is to be fitted, bond the transducer, fit the control box and connect to the boat's electrical supply. It runs from 12, 24 or 230V and draws up to 1 Amp.

Ultrasonic Antifouling – a low-cost antifouling system that doesn't harm the environment.



Specification and prices
Voltage 100 - 240V power consumption 20 – 40 watts depending on model
DC12v – power consumption 0.9 – 1.1A
DC 24v – power consumption 0.8 – 0.9A
Ultra 10 - $1,300.00
Ultra 20 - $2,500.00

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