"Barnacle" has become a term for something tenacious and problematic for a reason--they are determined little buggers that cause lots of damage to marine craft. But dealing with barnacles can create even more problems than it solves.
Biofouling, which occurs when barnacles (or any other clinging species) cover a ship's hull or anchor line. The U.S. Naval Academy estimates that biofouling creates enough hull-drag to increase the Navy's petroleum bill by about $250 million every year. For millennia, copper has been used to keep marine life at bay; the Greeks and Romans used copper nails for this reason. The Navy uses it too, mixing powdered copper into boat paint. But as the paint wears, copper seeps into the water, where it has been shown to harm salmon and oysters. And as the paint thins, the barnacles return.
Medetomidine, a chemical that activates the octopamine receptors (similar to adrenaline receptors) in barnacle larvae, causing them to flee. Barnacle larvae are free-floating and harden only after they have attached to a surface. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden mixed small Plexiglas capsules filled with medetomidine into boat paint, young barnacles were scared away, and the hulls remained pristine. At high levels, medetomidine can lighten the color of fish scales, making them more vulnerable to predators. But the capsules ensure that the chemical is released slowly, so it lasts longer and minimizes environmental damage.
This really puts a damper on keelhauling.
When this new paint comes out, I'd like the name of it, the manufacturer's name, and the ticker symbol please...
@ccgrunt0331: sadly for the investor class, the only paint that seems to be made with this is from a private concern in Sweden. "I-Tech AB has developed Selektope®(generic, Medetomidine) as an antifouling agent. It’s potency i.e. antifouling effect is achieved in parts per trillion (ppt), where other substances are needed in amounts that is at least 100 times higher. Selektope® has a benign ecotoxicological profile due to the fact that it is specifically active against barnacles, and less towards non-target species."
Not a glamorous science story but THIS IS HUGE, if it becomes a truly global, generic solution, post haste!
In my teens, I used to dive under pleasure yachts (mostly launches) at the marina, to scrape barnacles, for $25/hr.
Man, those hulls turn into reefs, over-night.
This tech must survive any attempt by "Big Oil", to kill it. Lets get cracking !
Two years ! Anything over 5 metric tons ...
... NOT TWO DECADES !! Global effort ... subsidies ... NOW!
*Waits patiently for unintended biological consequences*
It may seem like a good idea, but what effect does the chemical have on OTHER free floating planktonic life? Coral larvae perhaps...
Trust me, I'm no save-all-the-animals-on-the-face-of-the-earth hippy, but sometimes even I just have to shake my head.
And SERIOUSLY popsci, I am NOT SPAM!
I see a lot of articles that speak of getting rid of harsh chemicals and going natural. With all of these chemicals, we are killing the one and only planet we know how to survive on...the one we should be savoring. Just because boats don't like them doesn't mean we should spread more chemicals into our waters.
Also forgot, thanks mankind, lets keep killing things that do not harm to us so that we can get what we want....dumb luxury