A FIRM that has developed a cleaning product that can remove barnacles from ships has secured trials with a major offshore marine company as it looks to become a multi-million pound business.
South Shields-based Active Offshore Solutions was set up in 2007 by Keith Richardson and two other directors as an agency for companies looking to hire remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) pilots.
Putting their collective experience in product design to good use, the team have developed an underwater product that helps marine and offshore businesses clean their surfaces thoroughly, including the removal of barnacles.
The firm has already carried out a successful test on a ship’s hull and is currently in advanced talks with a company in the North, which could lead to a six-figure deal, with additional royalties to follow.
The product, which is attached to an underwater ROV, works by producing bubbles which implode in on themselves, producing enough kinetic energy to remove the barnacles.
The firm, which is based at TEDCO Business Works, said it was hopeful of wrapping up the deal and it had the potential to become a multi-million pound business as a result of worldwide growth in the offshore market.
The company has secured £60,000 worth of funding from North East Finance Ltd to help with the trialling programme, and said that there was the option of a further £60,000 if required.
Mr Richardson believes there will be increasing demand for the product among shipping companies as removing barnacles from a ships’ hull has been proven to drastically improve its speed and reduce energy costs.
The firm has now set up Active Offshore Holdings to allow it to licence out the technology to other firms.
He said: “There has been a lot of planning put in place to get to where we are today.
“There is huge potential for a product like this as a lot of companies in the marine and offshore sectors are looking at ways of reducing their costs, particularly as the price of fuel is so high at the moment.
“We are currently in talks with a huge player in the offshore market, which works with a large number of international clients.”
Active offshore has worked with Sunderland business support firm RTC North since 2009 to bring its products to market, with the organisation helping it to secure funding as well as begin talks with interested parties.
Ade Walton, international project consultant at RTC North, said: “The product is very unique and is attracting a lot of attention from firms in the marine and offshore markets.
“We continue to advise the company as it looks to secure its first major deal and are extremely hopeful of its future success.”