U.S. DOE funds corrosion and biofouling research for marine energy devices

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions has awarded funding for a research project that will seek to optimise non-toxic coatings for control of biofouling and corrosion on marine energy devices and facilities.

Illustration/Verdant Power’s TriFrame after six months of deployment (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)
Illustration/In May 2021, Verdant Power performed an R&R of one tidal turbine in its TriFrame mount at its Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy site in New York’s East River (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will lead a project to scale up, field test, and optimise the non-toxic, durable, economical coatings for control of biofouling and corrosion on marine energy devices and facilities.

The project will be based on PNNL’s patented Superhydrophobic Lubricant Infused Composite (SLIC) technology.

SLIC provides antifouling performance, durability, and decreased hydrodynamic drag without using toxic materials that can help prevent biofouling of water power civil works in both freshwater and marine environments.

Key project objectives include final lab-based performance tests to measure SLIC’s saltwater-based durability, friction, and compatibility with other paint and primer types.

The team will also work with coatings industry partners to co-develop blends of SLIC with solvents, curing agents, binders, and pigments to assess tensile strength, shelf life, cure time, and any impact on other performance metrics.

The project, which received $529,000 in federal funding, will in in addition to PNNL bring together U.S.-based companies BioBlend Renewable Resources, Dry Surface Technologies, Prometheus Innovations, and Canadian partner Lorama Group.

PNNL’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory and project partner Taylor Shellfish Farms will also provide needed field test sites as part of the project, according to U.S. DOE.

The funding for the project has been awarded through the Office of Technology Transitions’ latest round of the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) – a program that transitions national lab-based research and development (R&D) projects towards applied energy programs with potential for impact across industry.

Over $30 million in federal funding, matched by over $35 million in private sector funds, has been provided for 68 projects that will accelerate the commercialization of promising energy technologies, ranging from clean energy and advanced manufacturing, to building efficiency and next-generation materials.

“President Biden is serious about making sure America corners the clean energy market – and that means we need to work with our nation’s savviest entrepreneurs to fast-track solutions from DOE’s National Labs into commercial-ready technologies”, said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“These projects will help us deploy game-changing innovations that position us to win the clean energy race, while creating jobs and opportunity across every pocket of the country”.