Development of new coatings for Tata Steel Europe through collaborative research

Buildings as Powerstations

Baglan Bay Innovation CentreAs the UK’s leading centre for coated steel corrosion, we have developed new coated metal construction products, which are able to carry 40 year warranties, through our collaborative research with Tata Steel.

This has delivered significant economic impact, maintaining leading edge business performance and contributed to global competitiveness.

We have improved the performance of our partner company through the delivery of 61 highly trained doctoral level coatings leaders and technologists, the majority of whom are now running their own research groups or are director level technologists.

Our research in the area of functional coatings for energy has been promoted through the ‘Buildings as Powerstations’ concept and our ‘Materials Live’ events for school-children.

Public interest and engagement activity has focused on the application of research techniques and in functional coatings for energy through the ‘Buildings as Powerstations’ concept and ‘Materials Live’ events.

At Swansea University, we have a track record of almost a century working with the metals sector to generate world class research leading to new product development.

Our work on metallic coating development, corrosion resistance and photodegradation mechanisms has been at the core of our lead industry partner Tata Steel’s ability to now offer 40 year full warranties on coated steels for construction.

These high performance products are only possible through our understanding of the critical links between microstructure and corrosion resistance from underpinning mechanistic studies photodegradation stability measurement. The new techniques to visualise and quantify corrosion are now sold commercially by Swansea with customers including General Electric, Tata and Tokyo Electric Power.

A new initiative lead by Swansea to examine low cost photovoltaics on steel began in 2007 with Imperial College and Bath.

The scale up of functional coating manufacturing in Wales is fundamentally supported by the new Innovation and Knowledge Centre established in 2011 with a £10m EPSRC/TSB grant and over £2m from Welsh Government.  The SPECIFIC IKC is working with multiple partners to bring forward both existing anti-corrosion and photovoltaic coatings together with new technologies, which are at this stage only at the laboratory bench scale.

The SPECIFIC Innovation Centre has continued a successful partnership with ICL and Bath to develop and scale up dye sensitised cell (DSC) photovoltaics on steel. New processes have converted what was a batch process to a continuous process and has resulted in a £40m investment in industrialisation in Wales in 2012. An additional £2m pilot manufacturing line was also opened in October 2012 at the SPECIFIC IKC to enable rapid commercialisation of other devices. In 2013 an additional £7m has been invested to create a strategic project with Imperial College leading to a national centre for scaling solar energy advanced manufacturing.