Global industrial coatings manufacturer Whitford Ltd will test its high-performance marine coatings within the harsh sea conditions in Orkney at the European Marine Energy Centre
This long-term project will analyse existing and developmental coating products to assess their suitability for applications within the marine renewables industry, as well as for other offshore industries such as offshore wind, and oil and gas.
For the initial stages of the project, Whitford have been testing coated panels and bolts in Stromness Harbour which can be seen on the side of the pier at low tide.
Providing a good representation of a ‘splash zone’, the pier is intermittently exposed to air and immersed in the sea. The panels are therefore subject to a range of wet and dry conditions as the test pieces are submerged in line with the ebb and flow of the tide.
One of Whitford’s biggest product lines is for household non-stick fluoropolymer coatings — and one of the most successful products to use Whitford’s coatings is the George Foreman Grill, of which some 100 million have been sold across the globe.
Gareth Berry, Whitford’s UK Renewable Energy Manager, explained: “As the leading global test site for the marine renewable energy sector, EMEC is an excellent place for us to work with on this project.
“With some of the harshest wave and tidal conditions in the world in Orkney, EMEC provides the perfect location in which to test Whitford’s coatings in dynamic and volatile environments. We’ll be exposing the coatings at different locations and for different periods of time to assess their durability.”
Neil Kermode, Managing Director, EMEC, said: “Effective coatings are vital to ensure wave and tidal energy devices survive and continue to work whilst at sea.
“Through our experience we have seen how unprotected materials suffer and how effective protection makes marine energy possible. The performance of the Whitford coatings has been remarkable.”