Hydrogen embrittlement resistant new steel links solutions for offshore wind turbines

HELIX (RFCS2027 – 101057239)

Start: 01/07/2022

Duration: 42 months

Coordinator: EURECAT

Participants: French Corrosion Institute, Sidenor, Peiner, Dörken, University of Prague

Budget: 1 881 420.85 €

EU contribution: 1 128 848.85 €

Link : HELIX Project (helix-project.eu)

To increase the use of electricity produced from renewables the full potential of Europe’s offshore wind energy has to be developed. To unlock Europe’s offshore potential, the number of installed offshore wind turbines is expected to rise in the coming years. Cost reduction and efficiency are still imperative in this technology and the industry is thus designing larger power generators, up to 10 MW. This trend will lead to larger foundations due to higher mechanical demands. Flanged connections are still an integral part of any offshore developments with fasteners being the primary means for assembly. Fasteners with diameters over M48 are becoming common and bolts already used can be as high as M72. Therefore, a technical and research effort is needed in the fasteners field to support the ever-increasing size of offshore wind turbines. On one hand, HELIX will develop, test and provide fasteners able to withstand high applied stresses under harsh environmental conditions typical of large offshore wind turbines. This will be achieved by developing and optimizing a novel high strength steel grade in qualities 10.9 and 12.9 and new protecting zinc-flake based coatings. On the other hand, HELIX will contribute to unravel how atmospheric and immersed conditions, material composition and microstructure, surface treatment and previous corrosion affect hydrogen embrittlement of high strength steels. HELIX will use advanced characterization techniques as well as traditional techniques under both atmospheric and immersion conditions, to advance in the knowledge of hydrogen absorption in high strength steels under cathodic protection and in atmospheric conditions. This knowledge will not only allow tailoring the steel and coating microstructure to achieve both excellent corrosion protection ability and low risk of hydrogen embrittlement but also influence on policy and practice in the offshore wind sector.