Novel solutions for improving the lifespan of the offshore wind farms

07 May 2021

Offshore wind turbines are often exposed to a variety of harsh conditions such as abrasion, bio-fouling, corrosion. These conditions seriously damage the components of the wind turbines. Moreover, due to the constant exposure of the marine moisture, splash and ice formations and based on the location of the windmill plan, some of the turbines have more severe damages. Overall, these conditions significantly decrease the lifespan of the wind turbines and limit the cost per MW.

Figure 1. Damaged components of wind turbines.


This gave birth to MAREWIND consortium – an EU funded-project that aims to resolve the major issues related to the short lifespan of the wind turbines. Firstly, the project will aim at improving coatings that will prevent leading-edge erosion, marine biofouling, biofouling-induced corrosion and corrosion (both splash and atmospheric). Moreover, MAREWIND project will optimize the concrete structures that go underneath the water surface. It will also improve in wind turbine blade performance (blades must show good mechanical properties).


In December 2020, MAREWIND project has started with creating a framework of requirements, references and a background of the parameters for each task (coatings duration, leading-edge protections, water resistance of the concretes developed). Secondly, the consortium also prepared a specific planning of technical activities for the rest of the project (characterisations to be carried out, lab-scale tests, scale up processes, etc.).

Figure 2. Saline mist chamber (Lurederra) and AFM (INL) are some relevant equipment selected for the characterisations, specifically for the protective coatings.
In addition, the project consortium defined technical requirements for every different project section. It carried out a comparison with the current systems under use and an analysis of costs and target costs for every technology to be developed. The different characterisations that will be performed to ensure the good behaviour of the solutions achieved during this project have been also collected. Moreover, the acceptance criteria for most of this characterisation has been defined


During MAREWIND project, the project partners will develop project technologies for anti-corrosion coatings for metallic parts and fastening elements, anti-fouling coatings, new composites for blades, anti-erosion coatings for the blades and new high-performance concrete materials. These technologies will be tested on different demonstration sites. The selected demonstration sites have been selected as follow:
  • The Port of Leixões: It is the second busiest port in Portugal. It represents 25% of all Portuguese international commercial trading. The port is located in the north of the country and it has 120 ha of water area. This is a possible site for the GBS prototype.
  • Aguçadoura Offshore Test Site: it is located in Northern Portugal where the WindFloat wind turbine is installed among other projects. The installation site is located 6 km off from Aguçadoura beach and has 50 m water depth. This is considered to be a possible site for the GBS prototype.
  • EDF operated Offshore Wind farms: Two farms are available at Blyth and Teesside in the United Kingdom. MAREWIND will be given access to the farms in order to test anti corrosion coatings on coupons in real environmental conditions.
  • Eumer’s facilities: as CETMA partner, they are part of the University of Salento and they are located in the Ecotekne campus in Lecce. They count with a multi-element wavemaker to perform physical model tests in a controlled environment and under operational and extreme conditions. Concrete project solutions that are to be developed will be tested in this site to evaluate the effect of the wave motion on the developed concrete structures.
Other onshore wind farms: MAREWIND’s partner KOSHKIL has selected several farms in the Northern Spain and one in Southern Spain, and they are working with the property to reach an agreement to use them like demo site. The demo sites  have been selected in order to test the coastal corrosion of metallic towers and flanges, erosion and ice formation on blades and on other elements such as anemometers.
Figure 3. Eumer facilities where tests on concrete structures will be carried out.