An innovation from Florida Tech graduate student Monica Maher and professor Geoffrey Swain that uses perforations in offshore wind turbine monopile systems to limit corrosion and provide enhanced habitats for marine life was recognized with an award at the NACE International Corrosion 2019 Conference & Expo in Nashville on March 25.
Representing Florida Tech’s Center for Corrosion and Biofouling Control, Maher and Swain’s design was one of 10 winners – chosen from more than 50 national and international entries – of the Materials Performance Corrosion Innovation of the Year Award. The awards are for scientists and engineers who have created technology to assist in the control and mitigation of corrosion.
Steel monopiles provide the most common foundation for offshore wind turbine support towers. They may be deployed in water depths up to 30 meters, are typically 5-7.5 meters in diameter, and 60 meters in length or longer. A large number of these, which have traditionally sustained internal corrosion due to stagnant water, are now installed in Europe’s coastal waters and in the future are likely to become common around the U.S. coasts, as well.
Maher and Swain’s research was conducted at the Center’s Port Canaveral test facility, and the results suggest that this novel idea can solve the corrosion issues and at the same time create habitats for marine life that will contribute to fisheries and sustainability.
The perforations, which allow for free circulation of the surrounding seawater, address a recently observed problem with submerged closed compartments and helped distinguish Maher and Swain’s entry. All winners will now have the opportunity to present their inventions at next year’s Corrosion Conference in Houston, an important step toward making their innovations commercially available.