UK-based coating manufacturer Whitford Ltd is working with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd to test various high-performance coatings within the harsh oceanic conditions in Orkney.
The long-term project will analyse existing and developmental coating products to assess their suitability for applications within the marine renewables industry, as well as for other offshore industries such as offshore wind, and oil and gas.
For the initial stages of the project, Whitford have been testing coated panels and bolts in Stromness Harbour which can be seen on the side of the pier at low tide. Providing a good representation of a ‘splash zone’, the pier is intermittently exposed to air and immersed in the sea. The panels are therefore subject to a range of wet and dry conditions as the test pieces are submerged in line with the ebb and flow of the tide.
“As the leading test site globally within the marine renewable energy sector, EMEC is an excellent partner for us to work with on this project,” said Gareth Berry, Renewable Energy Manager at Whitford.
“With some of the harshest wave and tidal conditions in the world, EMEC provides the perfect location in which to test the performance of Whitford’s coatings in dynamic and volatile environments. We’ll be exposing the coatings at different locations and for different periods of time to assess their durability. The pier provides an easily accessible location which can be easily reached and regularly monitored for the initial stages of this project.”
A panel that has completed its initial tests at EMEC will be available to view on EMEC’s stand at the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) next week – 23rd-25th February 2016.
Neil Kermode, EMEC’s Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Whitford on this project. Effective coatings are vital to ensure wave and tidal energy devices survive and continue to work whilst at sea. Through our experience we have seen how unprotected materials suffer and how effective protection makes marine energy possible. The performance of the Whitford coatings has been remarkable.”