Ship hulls get colonised, and then damaged, by algae, barnacles and other organisms growing on them. This growth then increases the drag and results in greater fuel consumption. Rick Breur developed a method of covering ships in a foil comprising minuscule fibres to prevent biofouling and that is more environmentally friendly and lasts longer than antifouling paint.
“I started up again a year and a half ago and I’ve carried on without any investors. We’re now focusing primarily on pleasure craft, where we sell our foils under the Finsulate brand. We’ve also expanded our product range so that we can now provide optimized foil for various different types of boats. In the pleasure craft sector, growth goes boat by boat, but applying the foil to the boats ourselves means that each project we do is profitable. We can see how the sustainable nature of our product appeals to consumers. And that’s one of the reasons why Finsulate won the product of the year award at the 2018 HISWA Boat Show. We’re still the only ones in the market offering an alternative to anti-fouling paint. If we’re going to grow, we now need to build a worldwide distribution network. Our focus is on North-West Europe, but we’re also active in Southern Europe, the US and Australia, as well as continuing to explore opportunities outside the world of pleasure craft. Recently, for example, our foil was used on a large inland waterways vessel. The owner is really pleased because now he uses 20 per cent less fuel. But although we still see potential in the commercial vessels market, we’ll first need to find a suitable strategic partner if we are to pursue those opportunities. The offshore market, too, is attractive. Not so long ago, for example, we saw the first wind turbine covered in our foil being set up out at sea. We believe our foil will result in lower maintenance costs, lower risks and greater operating certainty for wind farms out at sea.”