Protecting Your Investment: Understanding Corrosion Differences in Onshore and Offshore Wind

Corrosion issues in onshore wind and offshore wind can differ due to several factors related to their respective environments and the materials used.

Here are some key differences:

Exposure to Saltwater

Offshore wind turbines are subjected to the corrosive effects of saltwater, which can accelerate the corrosion process. Saltwater contains chlorides that can penetrate protective coatings and accelerate the degradation of metals.
In contrast, onshore wind turbines typically face less exposure to saltwater, reducing the risk of corrosion caused by saltwater-induced factors.

Atmospheric Conditions

Offshore wind turbines face more severe atmospheric conditions than onshore turbines. They are exposed to higher wind speeds, increased humidity, and more frequent temperature variations. These harsh conditions can accelerate the corrosion process.

Onshore wind turbines, although still exposed to various weather conditions, generally experience milder and less corrosive environments.

Design Considerations

Offshore wind turbines require specialized design considerations to mitigate corrosion risks. This includes the selection of corrosion-resistant materials, such as stainless steel or corrosion-resistant alloys, for critical components. Additionally, protective coatings and sacrificial anodes are often used to provide an extra layer of protection against corrosion.

On the other hand, while onshore wind turbines also employ corrosion-resistant materials, the extent of protection measures might be comparatively lower.

Maintenance Challenges

Maintaining offshore wind turbines can be more challenging and expensive due to the harsh offshore conditions. Corrosion prevention and control systems, such as cathodic protection, require more frequent inspection and maintenance. Accessing offshore turbines for repairs and maintenance can be logistically complex and may require specialized vessels and equipment.

In contrast, onshore wind turbines are typically more accessible, making maintenance activities more straightforward and cost-effective.

Cost Implications

Corrosion-related issues in offshore wind turbines can have significant cost implications. The cost of corrosion prevention measures, regular inspections, and maintenance activities can be higher due to the challenging offshore environment. The use of corrosion-resistant materials and specialized coatings also adds to the initial capital costs of offshore wind projects.

In comparison, onshore wind turbines generally face lower corrosion-related costs.

It’s important to note that both onshore and offshore wind turbines employ various measures to mitigate corrosion risks. While offshore wind turbines face more significant challenges due to their marine environment, the industry has developed solutions and technologies to address these issues and improve the longevity and reliability of offshore wind installations. Also, although we will address this in greater detail in an upcoming article, electrical and electronic components will both suffer from the marine elements on offshore wind installations.

To learn more about corrosion issues related to onshore and offshore wind projects from one of our experienced corrosion engineers, contact us through the contact form on this website or by sending us an email at office@presserv.com.