The Cost Reduction for Offshore Wind Now (CROWN) project sees the Catapult working with TWI and LIC to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of using thermally-sprayed aluminium (TSA) to protect monopile foundations from corrosion. At our artificial seabed facility in Blyth, which simulates conditions offshore, six mini monopile foundations are being coated with aluminium alloy to determine their effectiveness in reducing corrosion.
This technology has the potential to reduce the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) through reduced capital expenditure, reduced curing times, developing easier spray application methods, and minimising operations and maintenance intervention when compared to the current cathodic protection solutions deployed in offshore wind today. The project’s scope ranges from investigating thermally-sprayed aluminium application methods, to field performance investigation of its behaviour during piling and exposure to corrosive environments. The Catapult will carry out lifecycle cost modelling to compare thermally-sprayed aluminium with other conventional methods of corrosion protection such as paint formulations and sacrificial anodes.
Field tests began in June 2017, with simulated piling operations taking place at the Catapult’s dry dock facility. The mechanical damage from these trials were assessed following seven months of simulated offshore operation, before the lifecycle cost modelling phase of the project.
The CROWN 2 project is building on the successful work of CROWN, covering an offshore field trial of TSA-coated materials and laboratory studies to understand the operational properties of TSA, such as acidification and its interaction with other materials such as paint. The project is also looking into the effect of TSA on the fatigue of coated steel, as well as interaction of other corrosion materials such as cathodic protection or impressed current corrosion protection alongside TSA.