Robots to Clean Ship’s Hulls


European researchers are working on an EU-funded project called HISMAR (Hull Identification System for Marine Autonomous Robotics) to develop a robotic hull cleaning system to remove marine growth from ships. Marine growth significantly increases the friction of a ship moving through water, which significantly increases the cost in terms of energy. In addition, marine growth poses an environmental hazard.

Professor Tony Roskilly of Newcastle University in the UK heads the project, and describes the system:

“First a map of the hull is automatically charted, recording the location of every weld, thickness change, rivet and indentation on the ship’s surface. Adjustable jets of pressurised sea water blast the marine growth off the surface of the ship which is then sucked up into the main chamber. Here, 150 litres of water a minute is filtered and the bio-fouling removed and rendered harmless to the local environment. In this way, the ship’s robotic ‘vacuum’ can continuously roam the ship’s hull, preventing the build up of slime and allowing it to travel through the water efficiently by cutting down on drag. This significantly reduces fuel consumption and also pollution such as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.”

More information on the HISMAR project can be found here.
More information can also be found in the article at ZDNet.

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This post was written by admin on September 19, 2008

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