The ocean energy sector incorporates a number of different technologies such as Wave, Tidal Range and Ocean Currents, although others such as Salinity Gradient and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion are also in development. All of these technologies have at least two common challenges which will be addressed in this project:
- The Ocean is a very corrosive and demanding environment on material reliability and survivability
- The materials used (mostly steel at present and polymers/composites in the midterm) form a significant part of the overall cost of energy for the technology so they need to be protected to ensure efficient energy generation (20 years +).
At present, huge research efforts in understanding and preventing biofouling and corrosion of materials and structures immersed in the marine environment are being carried out. It has been estimated that the total cost of marine corrosion worldwide is between $50-80 billion every year. The coating industry accounts for almost 40% of the total direct costs, and the largest portion of this cost (88%) is attributed to organic coatings.
This project will focus on monitoring systems and materials, especially in coatings, to avoid the negative effect of corrosion and biofouling in the marine renewable energy sector.
The consortium is comprised of 7 partners with total Project Costs and Funding, respectively, of €1,151,315 and €642,753.
MAT4OEC aims to develop advanced materials for Ocean Energy Converters (OEC) to improve the resistance to marine environment of current and future materials, increasing the reliability, durability and survivability, contributing significantly to LCoE reduction. Two main approaches will be followed: 1) advanced coating for steel structures (most widely used structural material) to reduce the problem of the corrosion and biofouling, and 2) advanced coatings for composite materials biofouling (promising material for ocean energy devices and subsystems such as blades) to avoid biofouling. A monitoring system will also be developed to analyse the evolution of corrosion and biofouling in both approaches.