The bottom of a boat makes a perfect home for all sorts of marine organisms. After just a few months in the water the hull could end up covered in mussels, barnacles and algae – all of which considerably slow down a vessel’s progress and mean it uses much more fuel.
Now work is underway to develop a new generation of non-toxic paints which will stop such unwanted passengers from hitching a ride. Nanotech coatinfs means sea creature will not be able to stick to the underside of the vessel.
The challenge has been taken up by a major European research project known as Ambio.