Green marine tech firm Sonihull crowned with prestigious King’s Award

Posted on 7 Jul 2023 by The Manufacturer

The founder of a Coventry company that is harnessing the power of ultrasound to clean up the seas has described it as an “honour and a privilege” to meet King Charles at a royal reception celebrating its prestigious award.

Sonihull was among a group of just 10 companies in the West Midlands to be named as a recipient of the first ever King’s Awards for Enterprise in April.

The company was recognised in the International Trade category for its industry-leading technology which uses ultrasound to keep structures like ships and wind farms free from marine growth.

Despite being based 100 miles from the sea in land-locked Coventry, it is making significant waves in the market with its technology found on vessels in more than 70 countries – with exports now accounting for more than 95 per cent of its business.

Chief Executive Officer Darren Rowlands was invited by His Majesty the King to Buckingham Palace just a few weeks after announcing the accolade, which is hoped to help propel the firm further onto the global stage as it continues its overseas expansion.

He said: “Walking through the doors of Buckingham Palace on your way to meet the King in person is a real pinch-me moment, but such an honour and a privilege.

“For a business, these awards are the most prestigious accolade you can receive and it is something which is internationally renowned and respected.

“Although proudly based in Coventry, we’ve enjoyed great success in international trade which has been a key driver in not only our growth, but also in changing the green credentials of the maritime industry.

“This is a really exciting year for us to as we are expanding with new offices in America and Europe, so to be among the first recipients of a King’s Award and associated to the King himself is something which will open a lot of doors for us.”

Sonihull’s innovative technology emits ultrasonic soundwaves to safely prevent marine algae, weeds and molluscs from colonising ocean-going structures like ships and wind farms.

As well as removing the need for toxic biocidal coatings which can contain chemicals and microplastics, it also leads to improved fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance costs, and reduced carbon emissions.

Its success has seen its turnover grow 40 per cent year-on-year, leading to an overseas expansion with new Abu Dhabi offices and a laboratory in 2020, a USA office in Boston in 2022, and a Vancouver and EU base opening in 2023.

Now an industry leader, its Research and Development Centre & Operations Hub in Abu Dhabi is the only full-time laboratory in the world dedicated to ultrasonic antifouling for the maritime and other industries.

Antifouling is an industry that is worth about $100bn annually in the commercial shipping sector alone.

Sonihull’s products are found on around one per cent of the world’s commercial vessels, but – if it was on every merchant vessel in the world – global ship emissions could be reduced by upwards of 250 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

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