Investigating the roughness effect of biofouling on propeller performance

P. Kellett, K. Mizzi, Y. K. Demirel, O. Turan

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As a result of the increasing pressure being placed on the marine industry to address ship emissions, regulations to govern the fuel efficiency and efficient operation of ships in the form of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) (IMO, 2014) and Energy Efficiency Operation Index (EEOI) (IMO, 2009a) have recently come into force. These have been introduced alongside regulations concerning specific emissions requirements (UNFCCC). Attention has therefore been turned to all aspects of ship design and operation which have impact on their efficiency. In turn, this paper focuses on the effects of biofouling on propeller surfaces highlighting the benefits of reducing biofouling. This subject was the focus of a recently completed EU-Funded FP7 Project entitled FOUL-X-SPEL (2011). This paper investigates the detrimental impacts of biofouling on the performance of a real ship propeller using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. Initially, the CFD approach used in this study was validated through CFD open-water tests of a propeller. A previously-developed CFD approach for approximating the surface roughness that results from biofouling has then been applied in order to predict the effects on propeller efficiency. The roughness effects of a typical coating and different fouling conditions on the propeller performance were therefore predicted for various advance coefficients Results indicated negative effects of biofouling on the propeller efficiency and the importance of the mitigation of such effects, supporting the importance of informing the industry about the impacts such that they are able to make informed decisions regarding regular propeller maintenance and cleaning
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2015
EventInternational Conference on Shipping in Changing Climates - Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Nov 201526 Nov 2015


ConferenceInternational Conference on Shipping in Changing Climates
Abbreviated titleSCC 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • biofouling
  • CFD
  • propeller efficiency
  • roughness
  • open water


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