An often underestimated threat to our economy is steel corrosion, in any kind of industry where water meets steel: the maritime sector, ports, water purification plants, energy production, offshore renewable energy production.
The costs pertaining to corrosion are immense: a DNV-GL report sets all-round corrosion costs at more than 500 billion EUR for the European region alone. This is +/- 3.8% of the European GDP. However, consultation with industry indicates there is no general approach to determining where and when corrosion is taking place so that preventative and remedial works can be targeted.
Solutions are generic, and there is no overall awareness of possible cost reductions: 25-30% of the corrosion-related costs are superfluous – the baseline for this project. The missing step to achieve this is a comprehensive, quick and easy method to measure the local situation in a range of installations and an increased general awareness that costs can be reduced even further.
This project aims to provide companies with an independent means to assess the corrosion risks in their installations, to increase their awareness and to have them take appropriate preventive actions. To this end, we created a simple, rapid, in situ sensor system able to monitor a range of environmental markers over time to determine the risk of corrosion of steel submerged in water, as well as a statistical method to mine these data for an overall corrosion risk estimate – in short, the SOCORRO system, set at Technology Readness Level (TRL) 4.
In this project, we will implement and demonstrate this whole set-up in several industrial case studies (wind turbines at sea, water desalination/sanitation, ship’s hulls and ballast tanks, harbour sheet piles, process water) and show the economic opportunities. In addition, we will augment the statistical analysis with an intuitive, practical dashboard tool to present the outflow of information and to convey that risk to the end users. This will raise the TRL to 6 or 7.
Role of the University of Brighton
The University of Brighton will lead on SOCORRO Work Package 2, jointly with Antwerp Maritime Academy (AMA). This work package is focused on the industrial demonstrations sites, where we will develop, test and demonstrate the utility of the SOCORRO application. We will be working directly with Shoreham and Newhaven Ports as UK demonstration sites, as well as with project partners at Southend-on-Sea and with European demonstrations sites coordinated by AMA. In addition we will be developing protocols for site characterization in order to define corrosion risk factors for measurement prior to installation of continuous monitoring. This will include measuring water and bed sediment chemistry, characterizing and classifying corrosion products in relation to different corrosion mechanisms, and analyzing the microbial populations present in enhanced corrosion types. In addition we will work on the development of new continuous monitoring sensors for Sulphur compounds that may be markers for microbially influenced corrosion as microbes can dramatically increase corrosion rates. For our previous work in this area please see https://www.nature.com/articles/s41529-019-0099-9.