Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX researchers receive funding toward cleaning up worldwide ocean industrial problem

June 3rd, 2011

More than a quarter of a million dollars is being awarded to St. Francis Xavier University’s Centre for Biofouling Research.

The Centre for Biofouling Research at StFX  is a multidisciplinary group that includes Dr. Cory Bishop, Dr. Edwin DeMont and Dr. Russell Wyeth (Biology); Dr. David Pink (Physics); Dr. Truis Smith-Palmer (Chemistry); and Andrew Kendall (StFX Industry Liaison). The Centre has received a Collaborative Research and Development grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) of $150,000 to match funding received from Encana. The funding is for their project, “An Innovative Multi-disciplinary Research and Development Approach for Control, Reduction and Elimination of Biofouling of Submerged Optical and Other Surfaces for the Offshore and Gas industry.”

Biofouling can reduce the performance of submerged industrial equipment such as cargo ships, oil rigs and sensors. The accumulation of microorganisms such as barnacles and algae can reduce productivity and increase fuel requirements. The Centre for Biofouling Research studies environmentally friendly solutions to manage biofouling. The Centre will design and demonstrate the effectiveness of biofouling-resistant surfaces for submerged industrial equipment in an ocean climate particularly for, but not exclusive to, the cold North Atlantic.

“The ultimate goal of our project is to produce a surface that can be kept in a marine environment for extended periods of time without suffering any performance loss because of biofouling,” says StFX chemistry professor Dr. Truis Smith-Palmer. “The ideal of surface coating should not leach toxic species, but should prevent attachment of any organisms, including bacteria, algae and barnacles, without causing damage to them.” 

Testing will be carried out under carefully controlled conditions over long periods of time, reproducing the cold deep offshore environment.

For more information on biofouling and the Centre for Biofouling Research, log onto

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