European Commission Sponsored Development Programmes

Through offering generous grants and removing barriers to innovation, the aim of the funded programmes is to respond to Europe’s needs in terms of jobs and competitiveness. This provides both private and public sectors with the flexibility to pursue and develop innovative ideas, ensuring Europe produces world-class technological development, whilst maintaining leadership in global knowledge.

Fast Track to innovation (FTI) is a fully-bottom-up measure in Horizon 2020 promoting close-to-the-market innovation activities. FTI aims to reduce the time from idea to market and to increase the participation in Horizon 2020 of industry, SMEs and first-time industry applicants. FTI also aims to nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sector approaches. All kinds of innovation actors can work together to develop sustainable innovations addressing societal needs or areas under 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' and, at the same time, create viable business opportunities.

SME Instrument) is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot that supports top class innovators, entrepreneurs and small companies with funding opportunities and acceleration services. The main focus of the SME Instrument is on market-creating innovations that shape new markets and generate jobs, growth and higher standards of living. 

EU Funded Research and development programmes FP7 (2007 – 2013) & Horizon 2020 (2014 – 2020).

Completed Project:

EC Funded Horizon 2020 FTI ‘TankRob’ – Partner

EC Funded FP7 ‘Creepimage’ - Partner

Current ongoing Projects:

EC Funded Horizon 2020 FTI ‘MoniTank’ – Coordinator

United Kingdom Research and Innovation Organisation Sponsored Programmes

Working in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and government, the UK Research and Innovation Organisation’s mission is to foster research and development within the United Kingdom and create a positive impact - push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding, deliver economic impact and create social and cultural impact.

Innovate UK is the operating name of the Technology Strategy Board, the United Kingdom's innovation agency.

Current ongoing Projects:

Innovate UK Funded ‘PileSense’ – Project Coordinator

Group Sponsored Project (GSPS)

Completed Project:

‘P91 – P92 Life Assessment’ (ETD Consulting)

There are 132.000 fuel stations in the EU that must regularly inspect their aging underground storage tanks to abide to strict regulations and avoid leaks and failures that can have catastrophic consequences. Currently, inspections are performed in regular intervals using portable systems operated by specialised inspectors, a method that is costly and unreliable as it is prone to human error. This project will develop an autonomous end-to-end solution for structural health monitoring of underground storage tanks that has the potential to revolutionise the sector.

MoniTank system uses acoustic emission risk-based inspection technique, and advanced signal processing and data acquisition systems in a single bespoke system enabling an Internet-of-Things approach. It will be able to provide continuous monitoring and will use intelligent algorithms to predict potential structural failures able to identify with accuracy structural integrity threats before they evolve to problems or lead to ruptures and failures.

Please see project website for details: http://www.monitankproject.eu

Structural steel is the material of choice in the vast majority of structures in coastal and offshore locations due its combination of durability, ease of fabrication and ability to provide a relatively cost-effective solution. Despite its many benefits, steel is of course prone to corrosion, which is the principal cause of deterioration of steel waterfront structures. However, it has recently been acknowledged that steel piles are significantly more prone to advanced corrosion rates than previously understood. What is now known, is that ALWC (Accelerated-Low-Water-Corrosion) can rapidly compromise the integrity of affected structures and will lead to significant costs for repair or replacement, with major implications for safe operation.

PileSense is an innovative solution for corrosion sensing in steel piles, in particular, those sited in marine environments. It is a remote sensing system and that offers rapid and smart assessment of steel piles. Our solution overcomes limitations in state-of-the-art inspection and monitoring systems, which are rudimentary and labour intensive. Protective coatings on the other hand are proven to be unpractical both from an application and maintenance perspective. PileSense will revolutionise the detection of corrosion and defects in steel pile infrastructure for maintenance operators across the globe.

Please see project website for details:  http://www.pilesense.com

TankRob: In-service intrusive Non-Destructive Testing of above ground and underground petrochemical storage tank floors.

The majority of the bulk liquids stored in these tanks includes crude oil and derived products which are potentially hazardous to the environment and especially for water as a spill of only one gallon of oil can contaminate a million gallons of water.

Storage tank NDT inspection process is very costly, long cycle,  and harmful for both environment and human inspectors. Currently, there is no inspection solution allowing for low-cost and 100% surface tank inspection.

Our goal is to capitalise on previous outstanding work and commercialise TankRob, a highly innovative robotic crawler that is capable of semi-autonomously inspecting storage tank steel plates using ultrasound technology.

Please see project website for details: http://www.tankrob.eu

This project will test welded pipes under internal pressure (and in some cases internal pressure and end load) creep and creep-fatigue modes and the data will be supplemented by laboratory specimen tests for life assessment purposes. The feature tests will be inspected at regular intervals and monitored using the techniques identified above. Testing conditions will be representative of power plant operating conditions, albeit with some acceleration, including.

Cyclic operation which is now becoming more common. The results will help to build up accurate relationships of different damage parameters with the component remaining life and thus improve plant operator`s confidence in the long-term safe operation of high Cr martensitic steels.

Please see project website for details: http://www.etd-consulting.com

The CreepImage project will develop a digital image technique for long term measurement and monitoring of creep deformation of an engineering structure/component under harsh conditions (high temperature, irradiation etc.) where direct sensor attachment and human access are difficult or dangerous. A high definition digital camera equipped with a suitable lens (macro, telescopic or telecentric lens) will be used to capture speckle plate images of a grid on the component surface at various stages, and digital image correlation (DIC) will be used to calculate the deformation associated with creep behaviour of the component.

The procedure is expected to be as follows: (1) Physically produce a speckle plate grid on the surface of the structure. It serves as the information carrier from which deformation can be calculated by DIC. (2) Capture digital images of the grid at different stages. A reference plate with a stable known coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) will be placed adjacent to the grid such that it can be imaged simultaneously. This permits automatic calibration without the need to keep the camera on site all the time. (3) DIC software will be used to calculate the overall deformation. Creep strain is obtained by subtracting the thermal deformation.

The project work will be a laboratory based demonstration to validate the proposed techniques and to investigate the measurement capability (accuracy, repeatability etc.). In addition, site trials on power plant and other potential application areas include evaporators in a power plant.

Please see project website for details: http://www.creepimage.eu