LICengineering is managing a CROWN project which is developing advanced metallic coatings with potential self-healing properties that could significantly lower the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE).
According to LIC, the project has gathered corrosion, manufacturing, installation and modeling companies dedicated to investigating how the expensive use of tons of aluminium and steel can be replaced by the large-scale use of self-healing thermally sprayed aluminium (TSA) metallic coatings.
To make the commercial benefits widely available, CROWN is creating guidelines for the marketplace to support developers in switching to TSA coatings on a whole-foundation scale, which enables the entire offshore structure to become one giant anode, the company said, emphasizing that this way far less aluminium is corroded away and released into potentially fragile seas.
Galvanic sacrificial anodes, the traditional and most common method of protecting offshore wind turbine foundations from the marine environment are crude and costly, since they can weigh multiples of tens of tons for large foundations, LIC said.
Installing these large lumps of aluminium also often calls for expensive lifting operations that involve the use of large tools, divers and ROVs to secure the structure and finalize the electrical connection. In addition, they later attract additional wave loads, which in turn force primary steel sizes upwards, all driving up the cost of offshore wind energy.
Therefore, the CROWN project aims to study many aspects of TSA manufacture and application to prove to the offshore wind developers that this is a reliable system which, with the proper development, can become the new industry standard, reducing energy costs at the same time, the company said.