Reclamation seeks entries for ideas to protect steel structures from corrosion in water environments

By on June 10, 2017

In partnership and cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Navy Facilities Engineering Command, the Bureau of Reclamation has initiated a competition seeking concepts to protect large, hydraulic structures from corrosion in water environments including hydroelectric penstock pipes and gates that control or divert water.

The cost of maintenance and replacement of existing corrosion control systems has increased greatly in recent decades.  The increasing health, safety, and environmental concerns associated with currently-available coatings that have performed well in the past as well as the decreased life cycles of commercially available alternative coatings have necessitated the need for new anti-corrosive materials.

Competition entries should provide protection beyond what is now available with various coatings and cathodic protections. Submissions for this competition should protect hydraulic steel structures for 50 years with minimal maintenance and feature a minimal cost for installation. New long-term solutions to protect steel structures in water immersion service will help to reduce the high cost that is now frequently incurred to keep steel infrastructure reliable and functional.

The competition features two stages. Stage 1 of the competition seeks new or improved concepts. Stage 1 ideas and applications must be submitted by Sept. 5, 2017.  Only a written, detailed description of the concept needs to be submitted for Stage 1 entries. Reclamation is making $75,000 available for prizes for the Stage 1 competition. Up to six awards will be made for the best submissions that meet or exceed the competition requirements. The cash prize purse awards for each winning solution will not be less than $10,000 but may be as high as $25,000.

If Stage 1 produces winning concepts, the Stage 2 competition will have a larger prize purse and be held where participants will be asked to present their technology and demonstrate proof-of-concept data in both lab-scale and field-scale evaluations. Stage 1 participants are not required to participate in Stage 2. Those with concepts that solve the corrosion dilemma do not need to participate in Stage 1 in order to participate in Stage 2. As of press time Reclamation had not announced the opening or closing dates for Stage 2 competition.