Flinders focuses on biofouling marine industries

Australia’s shipbuilding and marine equipment industries will get a major boost with the announcement of a new ARC Industrial Processing Training Center for Biofilm Research and Innovation based at the University Flinders in Adelaide.

The $5 million center will attract nearly $7.65 million from industrial and research partners and will explore the microbiological complexities of biofilms commonly found on transport vessels.

Biofilms cause billions of dollars a year in infrastructure loss, contamination and cleanup worldwide.

Sophie Leterme, coastal and marine expert at Flinders University, said cargo and naval navigation are vital for commerce and defence, but are affected by biofouling which can increase fuel consumption by 40% due to additional hull drag and poor handling.

Professor Sophie Leterme said: “Furthermore, the attachment of marine organisms to the hulls of ships facilitates their translocation around the globe, and the aquatic invasive species thus transported can threaten biodiversity and cause real economic damage when they get lost. establish in new habitats.

“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.”

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

Flinders University Professional Vice-Chancellor John Spoehr, Professor of Research Impact, said the initiative would be a great incentive for innovative R&D, linking scientists, postdocs and others to work in close collaboration with industries with links to global markets.

Professor Spoehr said: “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 defense, manufacturing, water management and the maritime industry.”

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare yesterday unveiled the new ARC Training Center for Biofilm Research and Innovation along with five other Industrial Processing Training Centers as part of a $29.3 investment millions of dollars in innovative research and collaboration with industry.

The centers will collectively be supported by an additional $57.2 million in funding from industry and university partners.

The Flinders University center will work with industry partners including the South Australian operations of ASC Pty Ltd, BAE Systems, DSTG and Osmoflo.

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.

Photo: Professor Sophie Leterme

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Melvin B. Baillie