Any material in contact with water or moisture is rapidly colonised by microbial species growing in assemblages referred to as biofilms. Microbial development on the surface of solid materials is thus occurring in almost all natural and man-made environments : harbours and off-shore structures, buried equipments (pipelines, underground storages...), energy and food production equipments, water distribution networks, and also in physiological environments like on biomaterials, etc. It is now recognised that microbial biofilms significantly influence the kinetics of corrosion processes by altering the interfacial chemistry between the colonised material and the bulk fluid. This biofilm-influenced deterioration of materials is referred to as Microbially Influenced Corrosion (MIC) or, more commonly, as biocorrosion. Today the main treatment designed to mitigate biocorrosion is the control of micro-organisms within the biofilms by massive application of biocides. Obviously, this can lead to significant environmental pollution problems.
Although chemical (abiotic) corrosion processes have been widely studied and well understood, this is not the case for biocorrosion, which requires expertise not only in chemistry, electrochemistry and material sciences but also in live and biological sciences. Several European research teams are studying biocorrosion, however there is a lack of harmonisation and collaboration due to the differences of approaches, disciplines and analytical methodologies. The purpose of BIOCOR project is to provide the European Community with new multidisciplinary expertise in the area of biocorrosion in order to develop more efficient knowledge-based solutions for the industry.
BIOCOR ITN is designed to the benefit of the industry and as such a “problem-oriented approach” was chosen to tackle biocorrosion in two large industrial sectors : the oil and gas industry and the power supply facilities.
Within these two sectors four research sub-programmes were selected :
- Water injection systems
- Systems for handling stabilised oil
- Cooling systems in energy facilities
- Nuclear waste geological storage
A dozen of Individual RTD Projects (IPs) related to these sub-programmes are proposed by the 12 research teams.
The “problem-oriented approach” will be developed by implementing :
- a new research methodology based on multidisciplinary from chemistry through materials to biology and combined analytical approaches,
- a close intersectorial arrow : from the field => through the lab => to the field.
The global objective of the Network is to train and promote qualified research project managers in biocorrosion, capable to work in research or industry and to lead teams of experts of different disciplines and countries.
Visit the project’s website here.