Flinders leads $12.6 million maritime project

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Photo: Getty Images

Australia’s maritime industries, including shipbuilding and marine equipment, will get a major boost from the new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Center for Biofilm Research and Innovation based at Flinders University .

In a $5 million industrial transformation initiative spear by the Australian Government, the center will attract nearly $7.65 million from industry and key research partners.

The new center will explore the microbiological complexities of biofilms commonly found on transport ships. Marine biofilms cause billions of dollars a year in infrastructure loss, contamination and cleanup worldwide.

International cargo and naval navigation are vital for commerce and defence, but are affected by biofouling of ships’ hulls, which can increase fuel consumption by 40% due to additional hull drag and draught. ‘poor maneuverability, says Flinders University marine and coastal expert chief investigator Lecturer Sophie Leterme.

Photo: Pixabay

“Furthermore, the attachment of marine organisms to the hulls of ships facilitates their movement around the globe, and the aquatic invasive species thus transported can threaten biodiversity and cause real economic damage when they establish themselves in new habitats,” she says.

“Our lab has been working for several years on the characterization of biofilms on ship hulls and other marine surfaces, and this new center will train the next wave of experts to make Australia a leader in the development and commercialization of maritime platforms. sustainable”, says the associate professor. Leterme, who founded the Biofilm Research and Innovation Consortium (BRIC) at Flinders University.

Principal researcher Associate Professor Sophie Leterme.

“The ecological ramifications of this potential new multi-million dollar industry will be invaluable in the future when we can better manage biofouling in ports and shipping channels around the world, including clean and safe waterways around the world. ‘Australia.”

Defense is expected to spend $270 billion this decade, a major boost for Australian advanced manufacturing.

Flinders University Professional Vice-Chancellor – Research Impact John Spoehr says the new initiative will be a great incentive for innovative R&D, connecting scientists, postdocs and others to work closely with related industries. with world markets.

“This project will combine disciplines from biology, microbiology and nanotechnology to chemistry, functional materials, engineering and robotics.

“Researchers will work closely with partner organizations in defence, manufacturing, water management and the maritime industry.

Flinders University Coastal and Marine Expert Sophie Leterme, Associate Professor of Biological Oceanography, studies microbial communities associated with biofouling.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our researchers to put their world-class knowledge to the test and translate these innovations to create real-world applications and solutions to overcome major environmental, economic, defense and commercial challenges,” says Professor Spoehr.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare today unveiled the new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Center for Biofilm Research and Innovation along with five other Industrial Transformation Training Centers in a $29.3 million investment in innovative research and industrial collaboration around Australia, which will be collectively supported by an additional $57.2 million in funding from partner industries and universities.

Testing the effectiveness of antifouling paint in the Port Adelaide River, South Australia.

The Flinders University center will work with industry partners, including the South Australian operations of ASC Pty Ltd, BAE Systems, DSTG and Osmoflo, other companies and government agencies – together with key universities in Australia and overseas – to tackle one of the biggest issues facing international shipping and the environments sailors. Other industry partners include Enware Australia, Sparc Technologies, SA Water, Franmarine Underwater Services, DMTC Molino-Zhang and Associates, Environmental Protection Authority, Australian Society for Microbiology and Australasian Corrosion Association. Research support will include experts from the University of Toulon, France and Ohio State University, USA, as well as the University of Tasmania and Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

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