C4 - New materials and coatings

C - Materials and Manufacturing

Status - published
Last updated on: 21/06/2022


Corrosion and Fatigue degrade structural integrity and new materials need to be developed and applied for offshore wind and marine renewable energy applications. New materials, fatigue/corrosion/abrasion resistant Innovative materials with special properties can result to life time extension (beyond nominal 25 years) and reduce inspection/maintenance requirements


Fatigue/corrosion/abrasion resistant Innovative materials (including coatings) with special properties should be developed for life-time extension (beyond nominal 25 years) and reduce inspection/maintenance requirements.

Context And Need

New materials can facilitate upscaling (more units, larger, in deeper waters, further offshore) at a reduced cost.


The development of innovative materials and their application for the ORE sector will enable improvements in structural integrity, corrosion resistance and fatigue life.

Impact Potential

Very large potential impact for the reduction in OPEX.

Research Status

There is no joined-up initiative for considering the transfer of materials know-how from other sectors, or the development of a new generation of corrosion-fatigue resisting materials for marine applications.

Some disparate research activities exist, the main overlap is the EPSRC CAMREG project.

Active research projects:

  • Connectivity of Hard Substrate Assemblages in the North Sea (CHASANS) - Funded by NERC: NE/T010886/1: The aim of this project is to enhance our understanding of the connectivity of marine growth across artificial substrata in the North Sea. Team expertise in biofouling monitoring, oceanographic modelling, and population genetics will be used to generate a multidisciplinary dataset to validate biologically realistic models of larval connectivity. These models will be used to predict how networks of offshore renewable energy and oil & gas infrastructure in the North Sea function in biofouling dispersal and metapopulation structure.
  • Biodiversity characterisation and hydrodynamic consequences of marine fouling communities on marine renewable energy infrastructure in the Orkney Islands Archipelago, Scotland, UK: As part of ongoing commitments to produce electricity from renewable energy sources in Scotland, Orkney waters have been targeted for potential large-scale deployment of wave and tidal energy converting devices. Orkney has a well-developed infrastructure supporting the marine energy industry; recently enhanced by the construction of additional piers. A major concern to marine industries is biofouling on submerged structures, including energy converters and measurement instrumentation. In this study, the marine energy infrastructure and instrumentation were surveyed to characterise the biofouling. Fouling communities varied between deployment habitats; key species were identified allowing recommendations for scheduling device maintenance and preventing spread of invasive organisms. A method to measure the impact of biofouling on hydrodynamic response is described and applied to data from a wave-monitoring buoy deployed at a test site in Orkney. The results are discussed in relation to the accuracy of the measurement resources for power generation. Further applications are suggested for future testing in other scenarios, including tidal energy.
  • Development and demonstrators of durable biobased composites for a marine environment (SeaBioComp): Development of in situ polymerisation during monomer infusion under flexible tooling to manufacture large bio-based natural-fibre reinforced thermoplastic matrix composites for large marine structures.
  • Self-Sensing and Energy-Harvesting (SSEH) composite materials for coastal infrastructure: The project is developing electrospun poly(vinylidene fluoride) sensors for integrity monitoring, and for energy-harvesting, on structures located in or adjacent to the marine environment.


Supergen ORE Hub - Flexible funding Research

  • COrrosion And fatigue protection of offshore wind Turbine structures using additive manufacturing technology (COATing)
    Lead Institution: Cranfield University
    An efficient source of renewable energy, which is increasingly the preferred solution for realising Britain’s short- and long-term energy ambitions, is offshore wind. While Britain is presently the global leader in offshore wind energy, the national target set by the UK government to increase the installed capacity of offshore wind energy from approximately 10 GW in 2020 to 40 GW in 2030 demonstrates the strategic importance of this clean source of energy for the UK’s energy mix. Offshore wind turbines (OWTs) are typically designed for 20-25 years of operation. One of the main barriers for extending the operational lifespan of OWTs beyond 25 years is the evolution of corrosion-fatigue damage due to the constant exertion of wind, wave and current variable amplitude forces in the highly corrosive environments. The overall aim of this project is to develop permanent additively manufactured protective layers, as a novel coating technology, in the critical areas of offshore wind turbine (OWT) support structures. This will extend the lifespan, optimise and reduce the number of frequent inspections and deliver a direct beneficial impact on Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs of OWTs.
  • Development of Thermoplastic Composite Tidal Blades for Enhanced End of Life Recycling and Lower Cost Manufacturing (ThermoTide)
    Lead Institution: University of Edinburgh
    The ThermoTide project will investigate new sustainable tidal blade materials and manufacturing routes that are needed to meet mechanical fatigue and seawater erosion resistance requirements, facilitate low-cost manufacturing, installation and operation and enable maintenance, repair, recycling and reuse of tidal turbine blades. The proposed thermoplastic materials are processed rapidly at room temperature and can enable more effective assembly techniques such as automated thermal welding or novel, room-temperature cold infusion welding. Successful implementation of this novel thermoplastic composite technology in the tidal sector will reduce the manufacturing, maintenance and life cycle cost of blades and initiate a circular economy in this sector, leading to reductions in LCoE via reduced OPEX and CAPEX. This project will develop an understanding of the processing, mechanical performance, surface erosion, welding, effective repair and recycling of the new sustainable materials. Subsequent steps will be to design, manufacture and test a full-scale tidal blade from recyclable thermoplastic composites.
  • Submerged bi-axial fatigue analysis for flexible membrane Wave Energy Converters
    Lead Institution: Swansea University

    Flexible membrane wave energy converters (mWECs) need novel elastomeric materials of high fatigue life that have reliable data. We will obtain submerged bi-axial fatigue data for novel graphene and carbon nanotube filled elastomers. mWECs have potential for significant cost reduction compared with rigid material WECs. Elastomeric composite membrane structures can simplify all aspects of WEC design including the primary mover, power take-off (PTO), and other sub-systems. The bottlenecks to their practical and large-scale commercial applications are twofold, polymers with small amounts of standard filler particles have low fatigue life; higher percentage filler creates unwanted energy dissipation during cyclic loadings. Additionally, most material data exists for uni-axial fatigue in ‘dry’ conditions. Therefore, we aim to synthesize ultra-low dissipative and high fatigue life filled polymers with the required stiffness to be used in flexible polymeric structures for wave energy. In this project, enhanced properties will be achieved by using a synergy of carbon black, graphene, and carbon nanotube within low dissipative natural rubbers (NR). One advantage of NR are the existing manufacturing routes for full scale, ensuring scalability for mWEC manufacture. A novel two part method: firstly material synthesis and characterisation through classical ‘dry’ experiments and secondly a brand new, state of the art, test facility for bi-axial fatigue in temperature controlled seawater will be used to bi-axially characterize fatigue life and dissipative properties to deliver trustworthy material data to enable new WEC designs.


Links to Industry Priorities:


We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape


PhD projects in Offshore Renewable Energy

In order to better understand the breadth of ORE research currently being conducted in the UK, the Supergen ORE Hub has collated from its academic network, UK Centres for Doctoral Training and Industrial partners, a list of PhDs currently being undertaken in ORE.

Access a PDF of the list and find out more about including your PhD.

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