A newly-developed method to protect the steel foundations of offshore wind turbines from corrosion has won an innovation award.

The under-construction offshore windfarm Arkona in the German Baltic Sea received the German Renewables Innovation Product of the Year award from the Clusteragentur Erneuerbare Energien, based in Hamburg.

Ramboll developed the anti-corrosion method for E.ON and Statoil to reduce the environmental impact and lower the construction costs of offshore wind farms.

During the 25-year operating life of an offshore wind farm, metal-dissolving corrosion is significantly reduced by the new method, and emissions to the sea are reduced by several hundred tonnes. The method is called TSA (thermally sprayed aluminium) and fully replaces the use of sacrificial anodes applied to the monopiles.

Andreas Willecke from Ramboll’s Wind & Towers division explained the fabrication process: “In the coating process, a robot sprays molten aluminium onto the up to 81 metre-long, 1200 tonnes-heavy monopile foundations using two arc burners. The surface is then sealed with synthetic resin.”

TSA has so far been used primarily as corrosion protection for smaller steel components under water or for larger components above water, such as offshore substations. Arkona is the first project to install all monopiles of an offshore wind farm using this corrosion protection technology.

According to E.ON, this set new standards for the construction and operation of offshore wind power plants.

The Arkona project is located 35 kilometres northeast of the island of Rügen and will have a capacity of 385 MW once it becomes operational in 2019. It will install 60 six-megawatt turbines based on monopile foundations designed by Ramboll.

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