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FORGE Project Gets Underway to Develop Novel Coatings

Mon, 23 November, 2020

A radical transformation is required in energy intensive industries in order for production to meet carbon neutral targets by 2050. Low carbon technologies and processes need to be able to address extreme and fluctuating conditions, but existing materials have inherent limitations in extreme conditions.

The FORGE Project, which aims to overhaul exiting materials or develop new materials, had its kick-off meeting last week. The project will work to address surface degradation problems for materials found in energy-intensive industries, with a particular focus on:

  • Corrosion of metallic components from acidic, basic and reactive species
  • Hydrogen embrittlement of high-strength steels from hydrolytic and process hydrogen
  • Erosion of process plant from particulates, and wear from friction
  • Thermal breakdown of ceramic vessel walls due to alkaline attack at pyrolytic temperatures

To solve these challenges the project will seek to design optimal high-performance coatings able to resist a specified set of degradation mechanisms as well as determining the best application methods.

The coatings will be developed and tested under different service conditions and applications, from cement production to steelmaking and aluminium to ceramics. These coatings will be optimised and smart monitoring capabilities developed to create final coating systems composed of a multilayer structure and able to operate in different service environments.

The aims of the project are to enhance component service life by 15-35%, reduce CO2 emissions by 40%, save lifetime material related costs by >24%, and provide a 20% improvement to energy efficiency.

The project sees TWI aligned with project partners Arcelor Mittal, AeonX AI, the Fraunhofer Centre, the Max Planck Institute, Tailorlux, MBN Nanomaterialia, ITC, EMPA, Asas Aluminium, Cimsa Cimento, Technovative Solutions and the University of Leicester.

TWI senior project leader, Francesco Fanicchia spoke on the FORGE Project, saying, “FORGE is an extremely exciting project, where we aim at de-risking the application of CO2-saving technologies in energy intensive industries by designing novel compositionally complex coatings from first principles. The way we want to achieve this goal is to focus on the design of these very low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) materials by combining thermodynamic data with previous knowledge from the partners, an extensive range of experimental tests in service-simulated environments (already from the initial stages of development). and machine learning models.

Francesco continued, “We have a great consortium with partners from academia, applied research as well as end users in the steel, ceramic, cement and aluminium-making industries. Every single partner is very motivated in achieving the project goal and is extremely competent in its own area of expertise, which places us extremely well for success. I am very excited to be part of this team!”

Meanwhile, a representative from MBN Nanomaterialia said, “Energy intensive industries struggle to meet the ambitious targets that the EU is adopting with the Green Deal and, in many cases, this is due to the lack of material solutions that enable them to work with higher efficiency or without losing positions in a competitive market. FORGE tackles this issue with an ambitious yet pragmatic investigation approach of the new class of compositionally complex materials, and focuses their application in the form of coatings,” adding, “we expect FORGE to produce multiple examples of successful new materials, and demonstrate them in the field, thanks to the deployment of expertise and equipment that covers the whole value chain, from design to manufacturing, application and use.”


The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958457