Report: Corrosion Costs Australia $78B Each Year

TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2021

At the beginning of the month, the Australasian Corrosion Association released its "Impact of Corrosion in Australasia" report, estimating that the country could spend up to roughly $78 billion per year on the management and mitigation of corrosion on its national infrastructure assets.

The report, which was commissioned by Resona, investigated corrosion’s impact on the nation and cited research from NACE International (now part of AMPP: Association for Materials Protection and Performance). The data was assessed using a Net Present Value approach based on three stages including: Determination of the cash flow for corrosion related activities; Calculation of the present value of the cash flow; and Calculation of annual equivalent rates.

Report Highlights

According to the report, corrosion effects can contribute between 3.5% to 5.2% of global domestic product and is most commonly caused by water, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, but can also be aggravated by microbiological activity. In its report, Resona extrapolated these figures to reach its high estimate of $78 billion per annum on corrosion-affected asset remediation.

For New Zealand, the company found an estimated impact for corrosion costs to be NZ $16 billion, and globally, found that between $375 billion and $875 billion could potentially be spent on corrosion.

However, in the oil and gas industry, these effects can be even more costly, attributing to more than 7%, which equated to more than $20 billion (in Australia alone) in 2013. Other sectors prone to corrosion-related issues include water and wastewater, construction and infrastructure, as well as defense, automotive and agricultural sectors.

“The UK’s Energy Institute ranks corrosion as the second most frequent cause in initiating loss of hydrocarbon containment in offshore platforms,” the report stated. “Calculation of the costs of any of these components is complex … For example, the cost of corrosion inhibitors is inherently complex.

“The cost of installation and maintenance of injection equipment, inhibitor chemical(s), monitoring inhibitor concentration(s), system changes to accommodate the inhibitor, system cleaning, waste disposal and personnel safety equipment, must be factored into any economic evaluation of the use of corrosion inhibitors.”

Other cost factors include the potential loss of the product and indirect costs, such as operation shutdowns, maintenance and labor.

Looking to the future, the report also stated that new techniques for early detection of corrosion were in development, and that the Gorgon Project in Western Australia was an example of a holistic approach where whole-of-life construction and projected maintenance costs were taken into account.

A copy of the full report can be viewed, here.

Corrosion-Fighting Technology, Research

Recently announced, a team working at the Fleet Readiness Center East in Cherry Point, North Carolina, has begun examining new possibilities for quickly and accurately detecting corrosion and preventing its spread on Navy- and Corps-owned military aircraft.

FRCE, located within the Marine Corps Air Station, is touted as North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $1 billion.

To better mitigate corrosion and costly repairs, the team at FRCE started working under an F-35 Lighting II program, where members observed the demonstration of a tool created to help identify corrosion on a variety of aircraft coatings and help prevent its spread.

Through the use of a mid-wave infrared camera to visually penetrate aircraft coatings and record images of the surface below, the Grey Gecko Real-Time Inspection Tool, or GRIT system, aims to reliably identify corrosion and help facilitate faster, less objective corrosion inspections that reduce corrosion growth and associated costs, and increase aircraft availability.

Earlier this year, in April, Ohio University’s Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology (ICMT), out of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, was awarded the National Association of Corrosion Engineers International 2021 Distinguished Organization Award.

The internationally recognized award was received by ICMT for its outstanding contributions in the field of corrosion science and engineering over a sustained period. The award was given by the Association for Materials Protection and Performance.

Established in 1993 as a National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center, ICMT is dedicated to better understanding and combatting corrosion in multiphase systems, like oil and gas.

Under the direction of Nesic, the Institute looks at corrosion through a corruption lens, meaning that when left unchecked, corrosion can lead to rapid deterioration of an infrastructure—think bridge collapse, leaks and explosions of underground pipelines and rusting of car parts. It is with this in mind that graduate students and researchers investigate ways to fight the corrosion for a variety of industrial clients.

In February, the University of Virginia was awarded a $718,000, three-year grant from the Nuclear Energy University Program to use corrosion science to help identify potential at-risk canisters used to store spent nuclear fuel.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, nuclear energy produces more carbon-free electricity in the nation than all other power sources combined. In wake of more cities, states and even countries joining forces to achieve a net-zero carbon future, nuclear energy could be a solution should it be publicly accepted and conduct regulatory action.

Two major concerns, however, are how nuclear waste is stored and contained, in addition to preserving materials in generation-IV reactors’ anticipated extreme environments.

Leading the study with hopes to recertify private- and public-sector sites for interim storage are UVA’s Robert G. Kelly, AT&T Professor of Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering, and James T. Burns, associate professor of materials science and engineering.

In January, a  team of researchers from the Oregon State University’s College of Engineering conducted a study using supercomputer simulations to observe how chloride causes corrosion and degrades iron.

Using high-performance computers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Isgor, alongside OSU School of Engineering colleague Líney Árnadóttir and graduate students Hossein DorMohammadi and Qin Pang, were able to utilize computational methods to observe chloride’s role in iron’s degradation.

According to UC San Diego, the research team proposed a four-stage depassivation mechanism based on reactive force field molecular dynamic simulations using a method called density functional theory to investigate the structural, magnetic and electronic properties of the molecules involved in chloride’s corrosion process.

These simulations, however, were also supported by using reactive molecular dynamics, which allowed the team to accurately model the chemistry-based nanoscale processes that lead to chloride-induced breakdown of iron passive films.

Through their combined efforts, the team found that the four surface species, formed in the four stages, had decreasing surface stability and was consistent with the order of species formed in the depassivation process.

Written in the study’s abstract, “The Fe vacancy formation energy, that is the energy needed to form a surface Fe vacancy by removing different surface species, indicates that surface species with more chlorides dissolve more easily from the surface, suggesting that chloride acts as catalyst in the iron dissolution process. The results are consistent with the suggested four-stage reaction mechanism and the point defect model.”

The study was published in a Nature partner journal, Materials Degradation. This work was supported by the NSF, CMMI (1435417). Part of the calculations used XSEDE (TG-ENG170002, TG-DMR160093), which is supported by NSF (ACI-1053575).

And last year, researchers at Kazan Federal University, in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, published a paper detailing how sunflower oil could be useful in corrosion prevention. Scientists are pointing more specifically to the material helping to avoid complications during oil and gas production in harsh, Arctic conditions.

“Unique reagents have shown high efficiency during laboratory tests,” according to the university. “They can prevent freezing in wells when producing hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic. Our employees partnered up with colleagues from Russian Oil and Gas University, Shahid Beheshti University (Iran) and University of Isfahan (Iran).”

Researchers note that there are ways to deal with what’s known as "gas hydrate plugs”—one of the most common and simplest of which is to cut them out.

“But this method has many drawbacks, is extremely ineffective, unsafe and, moreover, has long been outdated. This technology has been replaced by inhibitors. However, all of the currently existing inhibitors have different side effects: some are environmentally unsafe, others are too expensive,” researchers added.

So, researchers started focusing on budget-friendly, affordable and biodegradable products, adding it to the “recipe” for creating an inhibitor that is unique in its properties. Enter: sunflower oil.

“We found that sunflower oil can be modified in several ways, and many molecules can be synthesized from it,” said Research Associate Abdolreza Farhadian.“The presence of alkyl chains in its structure can improve hydrate inhibition. Sunflower oil-based molecules can easily degrade due to the presence of ester groups in their structure.”

Researchers reiterated that they were drawn to sunflower oil because they were looking for a basis for the synthesis of molecules that would be the least toxic, and biodegradable, with natural compounds.

“It should be noted that the new sunflower oil-based inhibitor also allows the simultaneous killing of two birds with one stone: gas hydrates and pipeline corrosion,” added co-author, Senior Research Associate Andrey Stoporev. “In the presence of such complications in oil and gas production, the proposed multifunctional inhibitors can be more effective than reagent mixtures used in industry.”


Tagged categories: AMPP; Annual report; Australasian Corrosion Association; Australia; Corrosion; Corrosion protection; NACE; OC; Quality Control

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