A recently released report from the Henry Royce Institute, ‘Degradation in structural materials for net zero’, highlights the significant challenges degradation will present in the transition to net zero.
The report, based on a landscaping exercise conducted by Royce and Frazer-Nash Consultancy, and supported by the Institute of Corrosion, calls for collaboration between government, industry and academia, and the development of a coordinated strategic technology roadmap to guide degradation research, development and innovation (RD&I).
Discussing the aims of the exercise, Frazer-Nash’s Laurie Brooking, who led the company’s input into the research said:
“Royce commissioned a major landscaping exercise to examine the impact of degradation on wind power generation, carbon capture use and storage (CCS), nuclear fission power generation, transportation technologies (air, road, rail and sea), and hydrogen production and usage. Its overall aim was to identify the materials-related issues affecting structural components, and to prioritise the research needed to improve these components’ lifespans.”
The result was a report which highlights the ‘significant and ongoing challenges which limit the performance, operational life, and sustainability’ of low carbon and sustainable technologies. With materials degradation leading to the costly expense of downtime and repair – and potentially to dangerous failures that could impact upon safety – the team identified that significant benefits, both financially and to society, could be achieved through better understanding and effective management of materials degradation.
Laurie described key elements contained in the report, saying:
“As well as identifying the cross sectoral importance of three common degradation mechanisms – corrosion (environmental degradation), fatigue and creep, the report highlighted the increasing importance of interactions between these mechanisms, as a result of the materials operating under ever-more challenging environments and conditions in both existing and new sustainable applications. It proposed five key areas for investment, which will offer cross-sector benefits, as well as the creation of a ‘Technology Roadmap for Net Zero’.”