An innovative, electrochemically based corrosion-prevention process using seawater has won the Research, Studies and Consulting Award at the UK’s Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) Engineering Excellence Awards.
More than 10 years in development, Mott MacDonald’s LATreat system is designed to fight accelerated low water corrosion (ALWC), a microbiologically induced corrosion that can cause premature perforation of unprotected steel and lead to total structural failure.
LATreat is an environmentally friendly treatment that uses only the components of seawater to sterilize, and then deposit a protective coating on, marine steel structures affected by ALWC.
The process involves passing a phased electrical current through seawater. It takes about five days and does not require port closure.
|LATreat is designed to address an accelerated form of corrosion that can occur in marine steel piled structures at low water.|
The process requires no materials or permanent control equipment, creates no waste, and needs no ongoing monitoring or maintenance, the manufacturer says. The equipment used is removed when the process is complete.
Over its lifetime, LATreat is about half the cost of cathodic protection systems, the manufacturer says.
Mott MacDonald says the micro- and nanotechnology-based system can “both arrest the problem and provide long-term protection against future attack. It is a ‘magic bullet’ treatment…”
The product has been in development for years. In 2006, the Technology Strategy Board, the UK government’s national innovation agency, offered to co-fund the full development of LATreat as a commercial product. The board brings together business, research and the public sector.
Mott MacDonald then put together a consortium made up of BAC Corrosion Control, Aberdeen Harbour Board, Port of London Authority and Shoreham Port Authority to develop and test the effectiveness of LATreat under real conditions.
Manchester University joined the team as its academic partner and carried out research to fully optimize the process. BAC Corrosion Control also developed and manufactured enhanced electrical current apparatus used during the process.
Full-scale site trials have been carried out at UK ports over several years. These have demonstrated the effectiveness of LATreat in dealing with ALWC in operating port facilities and producing a sustainable, durable and cost-effective treatment, Mott MacDonald says.
Mott MacDonald and BAC Corrosion Control share the patent on the system.
“We’re thrilled to have won this award, which recognizes over a decade of research and development,” LATreat project director Neil Henderson said in accepting the award last month in London.
“The involvement of UK ports to undertake full-scale site trials has been a major step in demonstrating the effectiveness of the process under real conditions. We’re now looking forward to using LATreat as a commercial product. As ALWC has been identified at over 90% of UK ports and throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Japan, the potential benefits of LATreat to the global ports sector are huge.”
The Mott MacDonald Group is a diverse management, engineering and development consultancy that serves public and private clients worldwide.