Building demonstration cases for the blue economy: NeSSIE Project

Corrosion is a problem common to many industries which has important implications in offshore industries. The Nessie Project (North Sea Solutions for Innovation in Corrosion for Energy) was designed to analyse and demonstrate corrosion solutions adapted to the offshore renewable energy facilities in the sea environment.

The NeSSIE project was funded by European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and has been developed through cooperation between regions involved in the Vanguard Initiative and more specifically within the Advanced Manufacturing Energy Pilot (ADMA). The partners are from cluster organisations, research institutes and economic and energy development agencies from Scotland (SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE and UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH), Sweden (RISE), Belgium (SIRRIS), Italy (ASTER and LOMBARDY ENERGY CLEANTECH CLUSTER) and Spain (BEC, SPRI and FAEN) with good links to developers and supply chain companies in offshore sectors. The project set up an Industry Advisory Group (IAG) which represents the supply chain and end users within the offshore sector from the regions of the Vanguard Initiative Energy Pilot including: DALARNA SCIENCE PARK (Sweden), OFFSHORE ENERGY CLUSTER (Denmark), SPRI (Basque Country), MERINOVA (Finland), and HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS ENTERPRISE (Scotland).

The Nessie Project took place over a two year period, from 2017 to 2019 and has been focused on the definition of demonstration projects in the North Sea Basin which accelerate deployment and cost reduction in operations to address corrosion in the wave, tidal and offshore wind sectors. To achieve this objective, the project partners sought to engage the regional supply chains in the participating regions to take advantage of the industrial and research capacities in anti-corrosion solutions (ACS). During a first phase of the project the specific areas around corrosion that would lead to the greatest reduction of the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE) were investigated and, with this information, offshore renewable Project Developers were involved in defining investable demonstration projects to test new ACS solutions.
During the execution of the project various studies and reports were compiled on the most relevant information about corrosion and ACS which may be suitable for offshore renewable assets. These reports can be found in the Nessie Project Website Nessie Library and include the

One of the first reports from the NeSSIE project was the Roadmap for ACS in the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector, which made several recommendations related to the identification of the technical challenges that must be overcome in the offshore energy projects to decrease the LCoE. To enrich this extensive literature review, meetings and interviews were held with the main offshore renewable energy stakeholders and companies to investigate the main challenges they faced.

The main technical challenges identified were considered as the reference point for the definition of three demonstration bankable projects in a process designed as a three-stage-call competition so-called Delivering Investable Demonstration Projects in Offshore Renewables with a Focus on Corrosion and Materials.
The competition aimed to foster cooperation amongst the different regional ACS supply chains and facilitated the connection between the offshore renewable energy Project Developers and supply chain companies from different European regions. Addressing these challenges will reduce costs for developers and provide a new market opportunity for innovative offshore supply companies across Europe in the long term.

The overall results of the project will be presented at the conference “Developing Demonstration Projects: Corrosion Prevention for Offshore Renewables” which will be held on 24th April in Brussels.
The conference focuses on The NeSSIE approach, which can be utilised in other demonstration projects seeking funding support, as well as inform policy makers on supporting the development of demonstrators in the future. The target audience was a variety of industry actors, regional representatives, industry associations, cluster organisations, investment and funding bodies and permanent members of the European Parliament.

The conference opened with a description of the benefits of addressing corrosion and the whole process of engaging Project Development and ACS supply chain companies, defining and developing the investable business cases for these demonstrators.
This was followed by a session a session on ACS in harsh offshore environments, before organisations from Scotland, Belgium and Basque Country described examples of offshore demonstration projects in these regions:

o Scotland – The Meygen Project: The world leading demonstrator for tidal energy with ambitions to demonstrate corrosion for tidal energy.
o Belgium – Innovative Business Network – Offshore Energy: The importance of clustering and need for test & demonstration in the offshore energy sector.
o Basque Country – HarshLab – First floating laboratory in Europe for testing in a real offshore marine environment

The event provided a forum for discussion on the challenges, opportunities and key learnings required to undertake demonstration projects.

The NeSSIE approach and the ACS which are effectively demonstrated could be replicated in other offshore facilities all around the world. The interregional cooperation shown through the Nessie partners is an example of best practice in how to facilitate cross-sector collaboration to explore new, well-defined market opportunities, providing solutions to the most ambitious challenges around the world.