Defining and validating an innovative methodology for the advanced maintenance of marine structures, combining the characterisation of materials in an aggressive environment with a monitoring system capable of providing real-time data, is the main challenge of the MANTEMAR innovation project. The CTC Technology Centre expects to help optimise the maintenance tasks of structures and components operating in offshore environments with this research.
The project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the ERDF Operational Programme 2014-2020 for Cantabria within the INNOVA 2019 grant line, responds innovatively to one of the most significant challenges that any industry working in the maritime field must face. Efficiently controlling the effects of corrosion and anticipating the appropriate corrective measures will reduce operating costs. This circumstance will contribute to developing emerging sectors, such as Marine Renewable Energies, and optimise the production of more consolidated industries such as Oil and Gas.
The main feature of MANTEMAR lies in the characterisation of materials in an aggressive environment combined with the design of a robust monitoring system. The research, which has passed the first stages, will enable knowing the state of the coatings and structures in real-time. This information, which a priori facilitates interventions, is crucial in trying to alleviate the costs associated with corrosion. According to NACE Internacional, the world’s leading authority in this field, this phenomenon causes annual losses of between 2.2 and 2.5 billion dollars. It is a problem that destroys 25% of the steel produced in the world every year a rate of 5 tonnes every few seconds.
With an execution period of 24 months, this research involves the collection of field data to test its reliability. For this purpose, certain test pieces will be installed at the Marine Corrosion Test Site (MCTS). This study infrastructure, developed jointly with the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, offers three test conditions (submerged, tidal or splashing) in an open sea area. This aspect confers the results a high degree of replicability of the conditions with an identical environment to the one supported by the offshore structures.
MANTEMAR will reinforce the CTC Technology Centre’s position as a benchmark player in fields such as structural monitoring and anti-corrosion solutions. In recent years, the Cantabrian centre has developed a dozen projects related to these areas. MAT4OEC, a European initiative led by CTC, with the participation of thirteen entities from Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium to develop advanced metallic coatings resistant to the marine environment; or PREDICARG, which intends to develop and validate a system for predicting the loads of reliable, durable and low-cost anchoring systems through indirect measures are just some examples.