SARATOGA SPRINGS – Greenfield Manufacturing Inc., maker of a low-friction boat coating, has found significant energy savings in the use of its product, thanks in part to funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Greenfield Manufacturing Inc., which has been working with NYSERDA since 2009, has developed HullSpeed, a high-tech coating that can be applied like paint to boat hulls. Companies using HullSpeed report improved fuel economy of up to 8.5 percent, while at the same time increasing boat speed, when compared to operations before the coating was applied.
“Greenfield Manufacturing Inc. is excited to bring HullSpeed Performance Marine Coatings to the marketplace, thanks in part to NYSERDA,” said Duane Palmateer, president of Greenfield. “HullSpeed coatings solve a critical performance issue in the boat coatings marketplace, and the environmental and energy-saving potential of this technology in the commercial marine industry is staggering.”
NYSERDA provided a total of $340,000 to Greenfield in two incentive projects in the past three years. In 2009, NYSERDA provided $159,000 in funding, matched by the firm, for the purpose of developing the coating and demonstrating its effectiveness. NYSERDA provided last year more than $180,000, which was matched by the firm, to help the company with business planning and outreach. The funding helped pay for demonstration projects during which the coating benefits were studied.
“The marine industry is responsible for 3 to 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. Approximately 90 percent of the world’s goods are transported by water,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “By investing in this product, NYSERDA is helping to create a more efficient marine transportation industry, while also growing the state’s clean-tech economy.”
Since NYSERDA began working with Greenfield, the company’s coating has been applied to boats owned by the New York Naval Militia, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Potomac Riverboat Company, Scotia Fire and Rescue, as well as to the ‘Spirit on Hudson’, a 57-foot paddle boat based out of Hudson and used for pleasure cruises, and many other recreational and performance racing boats. All applications reported seeing benefits.
"This partnership between NYSERDA and Greenfield Manufacturing is an example of the power for innovation in driving down energy costs,” said Cong. Chris Gibson. “With our region's growing reputation as 'Tech Valley,' I firmly believe we can continue these type of advancements in the future, providing benefits across New York State and our country. I applaud NYSERDA and Greenfield for their work in developing Hullspeed, and look forward to seeing its growing applications."
HullSpeed is different from similar products on the market due to its chemical composition. Other low-friction boat products are soft, easily damaged, and often contain environmentally harmful compounds. HullSpeed coatings are water based eco-friendly performance paints with a service life of 4-6 years. The coatings have the additional benefit of being made from an environmentally-benign material, according to the company, while other coatings are made from heavy metals and biocides, which can impact underwater life.
Greenfield Manufacturing is owned by Duane Palmateer, a lifelong boater and competitive sailor who has crewed on numerous long-distance races. A chemical engineer who once worked for Ashland, Exxon and Vulcan Chemical, he started his contract chemical manufacturing firm in 1998. In 2002, he began work on what would become the HullSpeed coating to improve the speed of racing sailboats.
Since then, the coating has been applied to a number of high-profile racing boats. Over the past five years, Greenfield has sought to expand the product’s market, and the coating has been added to various law enforcement and rescue craft, pleasure boats, a cruise ship and other boats.
Greenfield, which also does chemical manufacturing contract work for a variety of customers, currently employs 10 full-time staff. The work specific to HullSpeed High Performance Coatings has added one full-time position and one part-time position.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.