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INEGI participates in European project to integrate composite materials in offshore renewable energy structures

05 April 2021
INEGI is the Portuguese partner for a new European project dedicated to the development of new material solutions for the structures and main components of large offshore wind and tidal platforms.

Rui Mendes, responsible for the project at INEGI, says that the consortium's work will be based "on the integration of polymeric materials reinforced with fibers and hybrid solutions, mainly at the level of connections, in order to help the companies that own these offshore assets to overcome the biggest problems characteristic of this type of structures, namely those associated with corrosion and fatigue”.

Offshore structures are typically made of steel, which is very vulnerable to the aggressive environment of the open sea, which result in a major impact on facility maintenance costs. Corrosion problems, for example, represent about 60% of offshore maintenance costs.

In addition to the cost, the problems associated with degradation also reduce the useful life of the assets. Even when they are considered in the design phase, they imply an increase in construction costs.

In this context, explains Rui Mendes, "enabling the extensive use of FRP-based materials (polymers reinforced with fibers), will translate into a reduction in the cost of maintenance and, therefore, also in a reduction of the total cost of offshore energy generation.”.

INEGI will contribute with its extensive know-how in the area of ​​composite materials, namely in the evaluation and selection of materials, optimization of composite production processes, in simulation and in the laboratory, and production of prototypes.

Aditionaly, the Institute's team of specialists will also evaluate and develop advanced bonding techniques for fiber-reinforced materials.