Unwanted growth of fouling organisms on underwater surfaces is an omnipresent challenge for the marine industry, costing billions of dollars every year in the transportation sector alone. Copper, the most widely used biocide in antifouling paints, is at the brink of a total ban in being used in antifouling coatings, as it has become an existential threat to nontargeted species due to anthropogenic copper inputs into protected waters. In the current study, using a porous and cross-linked poly(ethylene imine) structure under marine and fouling environments, available copper from natural seawater was absorbed and electrochemically released back as a potent biocide at 1.3 V vs Ag|AgCl, reducing marine growth by 94% compared to the control electrode (coupon) at 0 V. The coating can also function as an electrochemical copper sensor enabling real-time monitoring of the electrochemical uptake and release of copper ions from natural seawater. This allows tailoring of the electrochemical program to the changing marine environments, i.e., when the vessels move from high-copper-contaminated waters to coastal regions with low concentrations of copper.
- Coating materials