When dealing with marine platforms or large marine vessels, the ability to protect against corrosion and marine growth is essential to guaranteeing optimal performance and longevity. The use of a marine growth prevention system that also has economic benefits is vital to ensure that companies are able to maximize profits through controlled costs. For quite some time it has been recognized that impressed current cathodic protection systems provide a substantial economic advantage in comparison to the galvanic anode systems that are used. However, the economic impact of using either system is a bit more complex than many discussions on the subject reveal.
The Impact of Poor Performance
From a superficial perspective, the impressed cathodic protection system provides some nice initial economic benefits; however, there have been a number of cases in which poor performance, and the subsequent costs associated with it, has completely negated the initial economic benefits of using the impressed current system. What this means is that there are instances in which the impressed current cathodic protection system may not perform as well as the galvanic anode system, forcing companies to conduct their due diligence to determine which system will be best for their specific project.
Where the challenge in performance is experienced most is with offshore platforms that have surpassed their expected life, requiring a cathodic protection retrofit to ensure a corrosion free extended life. The combination of a simple design and the savings in costs makes the impressed current cathodic protection system an immensely attractive option for most companies. Ironically, it has been the simple design associated with this system that has led to many of the failures associated with it. Although there have been some adjustments made, some of the newer designs have also run into trouble. At the core, the failures are predominantly the result of the system designer underestimating the harsh environment.
High Performance and System Economics
When the systems design ensures that it is properly fortified, the impressed current system can perform just as well as other electrical and mechanical systems. In other words, when the system is properly designed, it will ultimately fulfill the expectations associated with its design.
When it comes to this type of system, cost projections are reached by estimating the risk of system failure in comparison to life cycle costs. If the system performs without failure, the life cycle cost of this system is exceptionally lower than other protection systems.