Darren Rowlands is the CEO founder Sonihull, a company that provides a complete range of fit-and-forget ultrasonic antifouling solutions for any solid surface that is exposed to raw seawater. Darren Rowlands, has been leading as the CEO of Sonihull, the Coventry-based company behind a market-leading anti-fouling system. Sonihull’s technology harnesses the power of ultrasound to prevent algae, weeds and molluscs from colonising man-made surfaces submerged in seawater.
Darren Rowlands has a background in military and police and built a solid career focused on innovation and discipline on solving problems to the Maritime and related supply chain industries.
“Sustainability is one of the cores of our focus. We are working tirelessly towards that, and closely with partners and collaborations, like the UN and other important international bodies. No one likes change and our industry is even more reluctant to change. But that change is needed because as it stands right now it is not sustainable. One of the things we are exploring is about using greener fuels. In fact we can currently make fuels that are greener and more sustainable, the technology is already there. What we need to do now is to adopt it and we are striving for it.
In fact, we are pollution preventive companies. But we need to have a holistic approach that requires a collaboration between every part of this industry. There are a lot of technologies that aren’t working, that are not applicable to our industry. So although the foundation is there, there is still a lot to do to really create a sustainable industry that is likewise functional. And R&D is, as usual, the starting point for that.
“There is a lot going on in the world which is impacting the industry. Covid-19 is disrupting everything. There are vessels that aren’t allowed into ports and that is a massive disruption of the industry. In our industry, we sat down and from a business perspective we decided to face covid pandemic. After talking with our investors, we decided to keep growing as a business and, for example, we decided to go out on a search for talent to grow our staff with the best minds that can deliver success and help us navigate the challenges and prepare us better for the future, including adopting innovation and sustainability.
The pandemic is causing all kinds of disruption in the commercial shipping sector. From falling freight-rates to in-water mothballing and long delays for scheduled drydocks. But, one thing remains constant, algae, weeds and barnacles are still growing on ships. Our systems can protect hulls, pipework, cooling systems and propellers from the rigours of fouling, without the need for drydocking or expensive in-water cleaning. What’s more, they can be fitted by small Covid-safe teams and need very little power to be effective.”
Sonihull has developed an industry-leading ultrasound technology that safely prevents marine algae, weeds and molluscs from colonising ocean-going vessels and structures like ships and wind farms. The technology removes the need for poisonous chemicals and microplastics in antifouling coatings and can reduce maintenance costs by up to 90%. The company is transforming the way that marine applications are approaching antifouling, an industry that is worth about $100 billion annually. When fouling builds up on a ship’s hull – it can increase drag and fuel costs by up to 60%. When it builds up in raw-water cooling-systems – it can destroy the main engine and put a ship out of commission.
Sonihull has harnessed the power of ultrasound and its systems are already saving up to 90% of capital and MRO costs in offshore box cooler installations, compared to Impressed Current antifouling systems.
Currently, 95% of all antifouling systems rely on the release of toxins into the environment – this is not environmentally sustainable. The clock is ticking because the IMO (International Maritime Organisation, the world’s maritime regulatory body) is legislating towards ‘zero harm’ solutions. Sonihull technology has zero biocides, zero poisons are leached into the oceans, zero microplastics are shed from ablative coatings and it has zero impact on other marine life.