Smart Hull Cleaning

is protecting our oceans and saving industry millions

About the project

CleanSubSea's Envirocart is one of the world's first in-water hull cleaning systems, and NERA’s project support has allowed WA-based marine innovator CleanSubSea to reach a new level of innovation at a faster rate than it could have achieved alone.

Through this project, CleanSubSea are further evolving the Envirocart into a fully automated system that is revolutionising the way Australia's energy resources and marine industries combat biofouling.

The innovative change has integrated image recognition and AI into the system, meaning the Envirocart can now clean and scan a ship’s hull simultaneously, detecting hull damage and defects while the vessel remains in the water.

The billion-dollar challenge of biofouling

Known as ‘biofouling’, the growth of organisms, algae and plants on the bottom of vessels, is a multi-billion-dollar challenge that creates enormous environmental and economic impacts for industries around the globe.

From an environmental perspective, biofouling is responsible for introducing invasive marine species into local waters — considered one of the largest threats to species extinction worldwide — as vessels travel through international ports.

From an economic perspective, the build-up of marine growth increases a ship’s drag through the water, resulting in higher fuel consumption.

Studies have shown the build-up of biofouling after just one year causes a 15% increase in fuel costs. After five years build up, the fuel costs rise by as much as 40% — a significant factor when marine fuel costs can run into the tens-of-millions per annum.

Until now, the way industries combated biofouling was to dry-dock their fleet — a process that literally pulls vessels out of production, physically removing them from the water and manually scrubbing the hull on dry land to remove marine growth.

This process is not only time consuming, dirty and laborious, but represents a massive cost to industry, estimated at US$10.2 billion globally.

Recognising the huge opportunity to deliver not only economic savings but also improved environmental outcomes for our energy resources sector and other marine industries, CleanSubSea's innovation has eliminated the costly process of dry-docking by designing and developing the Envirocart.

$US 10.2 billion

estimated global cost of the dry-docking process to industry

40% rise in fuel costs

in 5 years caused by build-up of biofouling

Next-level impact through artificial intelligence and image recognition

"The integration of AI into the Envirocart has the potential to revolutionise vessel inspection."

Asha Greenway, CleanSubSea HSEQ Manager

Through industry collaboration, CleanSubSea's artificial intelligence solution for Envirocart will deliver better protection to our oceans and drive economic, operational and environmental benefits for the offshore oil and gas industry.

The technology's ability to provide viable, regular, in-water hull cleaning can significantly reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions for vessel operators, while also capturing and eliminating marine biofouling from the vessel's hull without damaging the antifouling paint or polluting the surrounding marine environment.

With CleanSubSea leading the innovation charge, Australia is positioned front and centre to drive global sustainability and knowledge solutions for the energy resources sector.

Project Timeframe

Start: September 2018

End: December 2021

Project Funding

Total Project Cost: $1,062,000

NERA: $512,000

Industry: $550,000

*Funding excludes GST