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MAREWIND Project Progress Update

Introduction

TWI has been working as part of a consortium of 16 organisations from seven different nations on the European Union Horizon 2020-funded MAREWIND Project. With a budget of over €7.9 million, the project started on 1 December 2020 and is due to conclude on 31 November 2024 with the completion of nine work packages.

The consortium are working to develop solutions for the next generation of large offshore wind power generation assets, simultaneously solving challenges related to coatings, materials and multi-material architectural performance. These ambitious targets include:

  • enhancing corrosion protection systems and durability
  • effective and durable antifouling solutions without using biocides
  • erosion protection and mechanical reinforcement of wind blades
  • predictive modelling and monitoring
  • increasing recyclability

These aims will be achieved by drawing together experts from business, technology and research, all overseen by project coordinator, Lurederra Technology Centre (Spain).

To achieve these, the MAREWIND project is developing anti-corrosion coatings for metallic parts and fastening elements, as well as anti-fouling coatings, new composites for blades, anti-erosion coatings for the blades and new high-performance concrete materials.

Each of these technologies are to be implemented and tested on different demonstration sites based on the requirements for the materials and testing procedures.

Defining Technical Requirements, Monitoring Systems and Risks (WP1)

Having begun with a two-day kick-off meeting, the first work package (WP1) included defining the technical requirements to gain an overview of the characteristics of the new materials and monitoring procedures. This was coupled with a risk mitigation plan and a roadmap for the implementation of demonstration sites, including the conditions and required equipment.

  • Technical Requirements

 

WP1 began with TECNAN defining the technical characteristics for each of the new materials. Understanding the various material properties allows for the formulation of experimental protocol and detailed analysis. This included collecting data about corrosion protection, fouling prevention, blade protection, blade composite optimisation, and concrete enhancement. These material properties help quantify the lifetime performance and related target costs for end users.

  • Monitoring Systems

 

TECNAN then identified and defined the requirements for the monitoring system, which is needed to detect any defects in the blades and any other composite wind turbine parts, as well as measuring any dislocations caused by the movement of the turbine blades.

The technical, structural and environmental parameters for monitoring were defined and two types of system were highlighted for development:

  1. Non-destructive testing supported by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  2. Integrated optical sensors on blades and concrete-based structural components

The primary inputs and outputs for modelling and simulation were defined by the consortium and a range of structural health monitoring techniques were highlighted to overcome the challenges of accessibility in offshore locations.

Relevant standards and regulations were also compiled to provide an early indicator of the necessary requirements and any gaps that need to be addressed to assure post-market implementation.

  • Demonstration Sites

 

TECNAN continued their work by identifying demonstration sites where the technologies could be implemented and tested. These test sites will be further defined with which tests will take place on each site.

  • Potential Risks

 

WP1 closed with the consortium identifying any potential risks during the project lifetime. This allowed procedures and actions for risk mitigation to be established.

 

Fabrication and Testing Elements (WP2) - Developing Improved Materials

WP2, which began in March 2021 and is led by Lurederra, is due to complete in May 2022. This part of the project involves the formulation and optimisation of materials at lab scale to improve corrosion protection, fouling prevention, blade coating protection, blade composite optimisation, recycling and concrete enhancement.

Improving material durability and maintenance in offshore structures will offer cost reductions for operators, with resources including:

  • Anticorrosion coatings: This includes preventing corrosion-based degradation in metallic materials through a barrier coating to prevent contact with moisture. This will be deployed on fastening elements, tower flanges, blade bearings and other parts that are typically subjected to atmospheric corrosion. These anticorrosion coatings are based on advanced chemical formulations for multi-layer treatments, including nanotechnologies. Lurederra and INL have been investigating different formulations for the anticorrosion coatings, including self-healing ingredients. In addition to the development of these coatings, project partner KOSHKIL are progressing the study of different areas and materials that are subjected to corrosion.
  • Antifouling coatings: The formulation of these coatings includes the challenge of the adherence of biological content to surfaces including foundations, mooring lines and inter-array cables. This modifies the morphology, performance and weight of the structure as well as progressively degrading them. To solve this, biocides are being investigated to deliver an anti-adherent effect for submerged metals and polymers. TECNAN used their expertise to help prepare the formulations for testing.
  • Anti-erosion coatings: Superhydrophobic anti-erosion coatings are being developed for wind turbine blades to stop anything from disrupting their aerodynamic performance. Such disruption reduces the power output of the turbine and can be caused by the build-up of surface contamination (ice, dirt, insects, etc) and erosion changing the blade profile. The use of highly repellent surfaces will solve the issue of contamination and reduce erosion. TWI is influential in this work through the development of functional building blocks that can be integrated into current leading erosion-resistant coatings to provide capabilities that have not previously been possible.
  • New concrete materials: The synthesis and selection of new concrete materials, including lab-scale testing and ageing, began in March 2021. Activated Alcali Materials (AAMs) and Ultra High-Performance Fibre Reinforce Concrete (UHPFRC) are being compared C60 concrete, which is currently used for offshore structures. Compressive strength and additive compatibility tests have been conducted to determine the optimum component quantities ahead of the design of UHPFRC and HPFRC (High Performance Fibre Reinforce Concrete) using cement and selected additive. In addition, cement-free concrete will be used for one of three foundations of a structure, with binder development still ongoing for the mortar ahead of testing.
  • New reinforced composites: March 2021 also saw the start of production and testing of reinforced composites. The preliminary test matrix has begun, with further developments due to create the final test matrix for the material dataset expected by the end of 2021.

Predictive Tools for Preventive Maintenance of Wind Energy (WP3)

While WP2 is still ongoing, WP3 of the MAREWIND project began in April 2021, investigating predictive modelling for the preventive maintenance of wind energy assets.

This area of work involves the development of technologies to monitor the structural health of offshore wind facilities, including the creation of models to represent key aspects related to durability and maintenance.

This work, led by IDENER, has set the basis for areas of future work, including:

  • Monitoring technologies

 

INEGI are due to develop a blade monitoring technology using drone-mounted cameras to acquire both visible and infrared images of the blades while in use. These images can then be digitally analysed for any sub-surface voids, delamination or displacements. INEGI have designed a lab-scale setup including cameras, synchronisation controllers, and a representative rotating blade. This will be used to test different camera configurations including ‘floating’ cameras to simulate their being mounted in a drone.

In addition, the consortium are developing monitoring technologies based on fibre-optic sensors that will be embedded in representative concrete and blade components to create a real-time sensing system capable of detecting damage. CETMA have begun work on the concrete component with INEGI already focussing on the blades ahead of trials in the coming months.

  • Water simulations around gravity-based structures (GBS)

 

INEGI have also commenced work on simulating the water column around a gravity-based structure (GBS) using computational fluid dynamics. The flow of waves and underwater currents will be simulated with numerical modelling, split into 2D and 3D models to simulate the surface waves and associated currents.

  • Structural analysis of composite blades

 

RINA are creating a finite element computational model for the reinforced fibre composite materials developed for the MAREWIND project. The overall model will interconnect three successive sub-models at different scales to allow the mechanical behaviour of the composite blades to be simulated.

The setup of the mathematical model has already begun, which should be of a suitable representative volume element (RVE) of an elementary composite specimen, considering the constituent materials (matrix and fibres) and their combination.

This model will allow for the calculation of the properties of an equivalent homogeneous material using the known properties of its base materials.

  • Modelling of corrosion in atmosphere-exposed metallic structures

 

The final aspect of this work programme involves the construction of a corrosion mathematical model through a single sacrificial anticorrosion coating layer. Once complete, the complexity of this model can be increased with further layers of anticorrosion protection, including the self-healing layer.

 

 

The MAREWIND project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 952960

 

Avatar Dr Anna Wojdyła-Cieslak, CEng Senior Project Leader - Functional Coatings and Resins

Anna is a Senior Project Leader in the Functional Coatings and Resins department at TWI, involved in management and technical delivery of collaborative and Single Client Projects. She completed her PhD programme in February 2017 from Brunel University, in collaboration with TWI and National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC). Anna was the first PhD student that carried out research under NSIRC programme. Her research was focused on the development of novel assessment criteria for durability evaluation of highly repellent surfaces for the aerospace, power and marine sectors. Anna’s work is dedicated to development of advanced coatings that protect the surface against accumulation on unwanted materials (ice, debris, insects etc..).

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