The marine laboratory MCTS El Bocal has taken a step further as a benchmark facility for research related to the marine environment. For the first time since its commissioning, the facility run by the CTC Technology Centre hosts a sensor test. Specifically, this is a research that aims to demonstrate the proper functioning of sensors capable of measuring the progress of corrosion and biofouling in structures exposed to ocean environments. This technology is new to the current market, and with it, Belgian company Zensor hopes to have an innovative solution to reliably control the remaining useful life of marine renewable energy converters, as well as other offshore installations.
The research and development of these sensors are part of the European MAT4OEC project. This research is led by the CTC Technology Centre, whose primary objective is to improve the resistance of current and future materials to the marine environment, increasing their reliability and survival capacity. Degima, Alphatek, Mandiola Composites, Nova Innovation, Smartbay y Heab Marine Biotechnology complete the consortium of this initiative, together with Zensor and CTC.
Three different types of specimens have been installed in the three test areas offered by the MCTS El Bocal (submerged, intertidal and splash) to validate the behaviour of these monitoring sensors. Each sample will test the performance of a different coating: two anti-corrosion systems and one anti-fouling system.
The Cantabrian company Degima has been in charge of preparing the specimens that will not be retrieved until September. Upon conclusion of the test, Zensor will analyse the data collected during the exposure time and plan the future course of action. Having this innovation will consolidate Zensor’s position in the market as a provider of comprehensive free-standing and robust monitoring solutions for the foundations of offshore wind turbines and high voltage stations (OHVS).
MAT4OEC has a 1.1-million-euro budget and is framed within the 2016 edition of OCEANERA-NET; an Era-Net initiative of the European Research Area Network funded by the European Commission, dedicated explicitly to boosting innovation in the ocean energy sector.
The projects are financed through the Regional Development Agencies of each of the partners participating in the project. In the case of CTC and DEGIMA, the financing comes from Sociedad para el Desarrollo Regional de Cantabria, S.A. (Sodercan).
MCTS El Bocal, a benchmark facility
The performance of this type of test in the MCTS El Bocal is a step forward for the Cantabrian marine laboratory. Hosting this type of test reasserts the wide-spread acceptance of the facility among companies and research centres that develop systems and components for the marine renewables sector, including wind, wave and tidal energy technologies
Located in an area of cliffs to the north of Santander, this laboratory is the only one in Spain that enables studying the behaviour of different materials and coatings against the effects of marine corrosion and biofouling in an entirely natural marine environment, identical to that suffered by offshore structures. The collaboration between the CTC and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) led to the development of this facility, which offers three test conditions (submerged, intertidal or splash) depending on the exposure of the samples.
The uniqueness of its characteristics has made the Cantabrian laboratory a highly coveted place of study in Europe, as confirmed by the number of usage requests received during the last call of the Marinet2 infrastructure network. In fact, the facility managed by CTC was the most demanded on the continent.