Offshore wind turbines suffer from severe corrosion and with limited access to them, the choice of the right corrosion protection is crucial. The most widely used protection methods are anti-corrosion coatings, often in combination with cathodic protection (in the submerged zone). However, these coatings often suffer from premature failure due to mechanical damage, application errors or the wrong choice of coating system. (Insert image failure of original coating in atmospheric zone).
These failures need to be addressed during service life to ensure the integrity of the structure. The lack of accessibility results in high repair costs up to €2000 per m². Therefore it is important to choose a high performance repair system that will last for the remainder of the service life and can easily be applied in the extreme conditions encountered offshore.
The high repair costs should be reduced by selecting a system which saves on surface preparation and application costs. This translates directly in a coating that is surface tolerant and reduces the amount of layers.
Another concern is the environmental impact of offshore wind farms. Wind turbines are known to create disturbances (e.g. increased noise levels) that affect marine life. The environmental impact of the corrosion protection should be considered as well. For example, the use of zinc anodes has been under recent scrutiny as it releases tons of heavy metals into the sea.