De Munter says thermal spray is far more environmentally friendly than traditional coating and longer lasting than organic coating. For this reason, the technology is becoming more attractive to offshore industries, particularly due to environmental regulations that are outlawing commonly used paints and epoxies.
Conventional protection for wind turbine towers costs about EUR 50 per square metre and usually consists of a layer of zinc and several epoxy layers. Its service life ranges from eight to 12 years, he says. Thermal spray coating will cost 50-100% more at first -- around EUR 75-EUR 80 -- but the difference will be recovered already from the first maintenance cycle, de Munter says.
He adds that the US Federal Highway Administration, in a seven year study of environmentally acceptable materials for the corrosion protection of steel bridges, concluded that thermal spray coatings "consistently provided the best corrosion protection performance."