The innovative corrosion treatment system LATreat™ – developed and patented by BAC Corrosion Control and Mott MacDonald – has won the Research, Studies and Consulting Award at the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) Engineering Excellence Awards.
ACE represents the interests of the UK consultancy and engineering industry and is the leading business association in this sector, with around 650 members. Their Engineering Excellence Awards showcase the finest achievements of consultancy and engineering firms and the innovation that makes the industry crucial to local, national and global economies.
Winner of the Research, Studies and Consulting Award, LATreat™ is a highly innovative, environmentally friendly treatment that uses only the components of seawater to sterilise and then deposit a protective coating to marine steel structures affected by accelerated low water corrosion (ALWC). ALWC can cause premature perforation of unprotected steel and if untreated can lead to premature failure of a structure.
The LATreat™ process involves passing a phased electrical current through seawater. It takes about five days and does not require port closure. It requires no materials, creates no waste, and needs no costly ongoing maintenance. All equipment used is removed on completion of treatment with no requirement for permanent installation of expensive control equipment or long-term monitoring. LATreat™ is also significantly cheaper than cathodic protection systems, particularly when lifecycle costs are taken into account. Overall cost savings can be in the order of 50%.
In 2006 the Technology Strategy Board, the UK government’s national innovation agency, offered to co-fund the full development of LATreat™ as a commercial product. Mott MacDonald put together a consortium comprising of BAC Corrosion Control, Aberdeen Harbour Board, Port of London Authority and Shoreham Port Authority to develop and test the effectiveness of LATreat™ under real conditions. Manchester University joined the team as its academic partner and carried out research to fully optimise the process. BAC Corrosion Control also developed and manufactured enhanced electrical current apparatus used during the process.
Full scale site trials have been carried out at UK ports over several years. These have demonstrated the effectiveness of LATreat™ in dealing with ALWC in operating port facilities and producing a sustainable, durable and cost-effective treatment.
The ACE Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony was held at the newly reopened St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. Mott MacDonald’s Group chairman Keith Howells and LATreat™ project director Neil Henderson were present to receive the award.
Neil Henderson said, “We’re thrilled to have won this award, which recognises over a decade of research and development. The involvement of UK ports to undertake full-scale site trials has been a major step in demonstrating the effectiveness of the process under real conditions. We’re now looking forward to using LATreat™ as a commercial product. As ALWC has been identified at over 90% of UK ports and throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Japan, the potential benefits of LATreat™ to the global ports sector are huge.”