Curtin University (Bentley, Western Australia) and PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd (PRSB) (Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia) have entered into a research partnership to jointly address one of the costliest forms of corrosion in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries: corrosion under insulation (CUI).
CUI is often considered to be among the most expensive forms of corrosion in the industry. Studies have shown that the petrochemical industry spends about 10% of its total maintenance and repair budget on piping systems and pressure valves for insulation-related corrosion.
In line with both parties’ sustainability goals, the collaboration between Curtin and PRSB strives to discover innovative solutions for corrosion mitigation to reduce carbon footprint and operational expenditure. The research partnership involves cross-disciplinary experts from PRSB and the Curtin Corrosion Centre, based in the Western Australian School of Mines: Minerals, Energy, and Chemical Engineering, as well as the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin.
“Collaboration between industry and academics is key to accelerating innovation and progress in technology, such that both sides benefit from opportunities to work on relevant technologies and apply solutions in the real world,” says Dr. Azmi Mohammed Nor, PETRONAS Principal Scientist (R&D Corrosion) and the project’s technical advisor. “CUI is one of the industry’s major material challenges. The research and development of advanced coating materials is believed to be the best approach to address the issue, while reducing operations and maintenance costs, as well as unscheduled shutdowns in the long run.”
According to lead researcher Dr. Kod Pojtanabuntoeng of the Curtin Corrosion Centre, both parties would develop new and innovative materials to mitigate the recurring and costly costs of corrosion related to insulation.
“The team will work to develop an advanced coating with insulation properties that can replace traditional insulation,” says Dr. Pojtanabuntoeng. “This coating with insulation properties offers potentially significant benefits such as detecting corrosion easier and quicker, while reducing manpower and improving efficiencies for the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries.”
Addressing this form of corrosion also has direct environmental benefits, including eliminating the need to replace steels, reducing energy loss while maintaining process temperatures, and preventing the leakage of harmful and toxic chemicals into the environment.