Spanish-based research foundation Technological Centre of Components (Centro Tecnológico de Componentes – CTC) has presented an innovative coating said to be able to protect marine devices from corrosion for more than two decades.
CTC said the coating has been specifically developed for steel-built structures. Aside from providing anti-corrosion protection, the coating will also be able to provide defense against biological contamination, known as the biofouling, for more than 10 years, according to CTC.
Although the full characteristics of the new coating are still being kept secret, the researchers are confident that it will be a unique product on the market with a disruptive effect within the sector.
Invented as part of the MAT4OEC project, short for Advanced Materials for Ocean Energy Converter, the solution is based on the improvement of a coating that combines the technology of aluminum thermal spraying (TSA) together with various antifouling substances – developed in the ACORN project.
Thanks to this advance, the resistance of devices to the marine environment will be improved – resulting in the optimization of maintenance operations.
In the specific case of marine energy converters, the coating is predicted to maximize the energy extraction from marine resources, while at the same time minimizing the costs associated with operation and maintenance.
Several European companies have already shown interest for the coating that will be applicable to other sectors unrelated to marine renewable energies, such as the naval industry or oil & gas, according to CTC.
After defining all the specifications and requirements of the MAT4OEC project, the team will focus on the completion of product development, its validation in different locations and subsequent commercialization, scheduled for the end of 2019.
Once the first samples are produced, the testing will begin in three different locations, including Scottish Shetland Tidal Array; Irish SmartBay test site; and the Marine Corrosion Test Site (MCTS) El Bocal, close to Santander in Spain.
MAT4OEC innovates further
Other innovations resulting from the project have also been presented, including another coating, made for composite materials whose main function will be to minimize biofouling adhesion in order to extend the operational lifespan of ocean energy devices and their subsystems such as tidal turbine blades.
MAT4OEC project also showcased a monitoring system for corrosion and biofouling, applicable to any type of offshore metal structure, according to CTC.
The system makes possible to measure the amount of biological contamination adhered to the device, and the degree of corrosion of the elements – making it an important tool for offshore maintenance planning, CTC said.
Aside from CTC, the MAT4OEC includes 7 other international partners including Nova Innovation, Zensor, Alphatek and SmartBay.
Total project costs are estimated to be a little over €1.1 million, with its due date set for the end of 2019.