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Research and Development

Innovation is central to creating effective solutions for managing biofouling and IMS. Biofouling Solutions is actively engaged in a broad range of applied research projects including trials of novel antifouling coatings, chemical descalers, in-water cleaning technologies and genetic barcoding techniques for IMS identification.

All BFS staff have strong marine ecology research backgrounds with academic credentials and diverse experience in a wide range of university, consulting, government and industry settings. Specific fields of expertise including invertebrate taxonomy, aquatic disease, biological invasions, human impact assessments and molecular research. Our staff have travelled extensively for marine research and recreation around Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, South East Asia, Europe, Antarctica, Africa and the Arctic. These skills and experiences directly benefit our applied research and development projects.    

Examples of Research and Development Projects:

A commercial diver using a brush cart to clean the vertical plating of a vessel. Image provided by Master Tech Diving Services Pte Ltd.
© Copyright BFS2019

Novel Hull Cleaning Technologies:

In-water cleaning to remove biofouling offers a range of benefits to the maritime industry. These include reduction of marine biosecurity risk and hydrodynamic drag. The later has major implications for fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. BFS is involved in the testing and development of a range of in-water cleaning tools and approaches to service the shipping industry.

Encapsulation Approaches to IMS Management:

The vast numbers of recreational vessels entering Australian waters pose a significant and often overlooked biosecurity threat. BFS has developed a novel encapsulation system to isolate and treat infected vessels such as small yachts and fishing boats. Successful trials demonstrate that this is a cost-effective and safe alternative to dry-docking and provides certainty that no IMS escape into the marine environment post-encapsulation. 

Novel Antifouling Paint Trials:

BFS has conducted a range of trails of novel non-toxic antifouling paints being developed for a range of maritime applications. Paints have been trailed in a range of scenarios from the tropics to temperate waters and show great promise of delivering new effective antifouling paints that are non-toxic are environmentally friendly.


BFS has undertaken a series of experiments to examine the efficacy of “bio-bullets” for treating problematic fouling assemblages in the marine environments. This novel approach to biofouling management encapsulates small quantities of active toxins in edible material to ensure that minimal amounts of chemicals are delivered directly to target organisms providing an environmentally safe and effective alternative to broad-scale chemical dosing.

Laminate Antifouling Technologies:

BFS has conducted experiments to test a range of laminate coatings to examine alternatives to toxic antifouling paints. This project challenges the established notion of how to combat biofouling on recreational vessels and provides innovative solutions to the recreational boating sector.

Chemical Descaler Efficacy:

Calcareous biofouling including barnacles and mussels can reduce effective flow rates through vessel seawater cooling systems. BFS honours student James Bracken has undertaken research to test the efficacy of a range of commercially available chemical descalers. This study represents the first research to systematically compare the effectiveness of commercially avaialable products and objectively examines key factors influencing treatment efficacy. 

New Solutions for Biofouling

Biofouling Solutions has a well established research and development capacity dedicated to the development of practical tools designed to mitigate the spread of marine pests through biofouling. While our products and services are primarily targeted towards the commercial shipping, petroleum exploration and production sectors of the maritime industry, we are also committed to developing effective treatment and biosecurity options for border control authorities, ocean going seafarers and marina operators.


Biofouling Solutions has developed the the IMProtector" (Introduced Marine Pest Protector) and a range of other in-situ treatment technologies to kill biofouling simply, quickly, cheaply and safely. We have prototypes currently being used around Australia and overseas and are working on a range of specific IMProtector" designs to isolate and treat small vessels (yachts), through to large commercial ships, dredges and marine infrastructure (semi-submersible oil rigs) for biofouling.


We work closely with industry groups and businesses on targeted research projects to combat biofouling and improve production efficiencies. Our facilities and location provide excellent opportunities for conducting biofouling experiments and new treatment solutions for your business.

If you are interested in collaborating on a specific biofouling research program, please contact us with details of your particular biofouling problem, and we will contact you to arrange for an initial briefing.

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