MesoCoat, a provider of wear and corrosion solutions using surface engineering technologies, has received a $2.75 million funding commitment from Alberta’s Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education (IAE) and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) for an 18-month collaborative effort to establish a prototype demonstration facility for developing, testing and commercialising wear-resistant clad pipe and components, along with the lead project partner Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Improvements in wear resistance are expected to make a significant impact in reducing losses due to maintenance and downtime while increasing productivity in oil sands and other mining applications.MesoCoat is a 72% subsidiary of Abakan. It recently received the highly prestigious National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) Materials Performance (MP) Corrosion Innovation of the Year Award in the Coatings and Linings category. The award was conferred upon MesoCoat’s CermaClad™ high-speed, large-area, metal cladding technology that extends the useful life of metal assets while significantly reducing associated maintenance and downtime costs. CermaClad technology uses a high-intensity arc lamp to rapidly fuse protective, proprietary cladding materials onto the internal surface of steel pipe and tube.Abakan CEO, Robert Miller stated “Our goal is to improve the useful life of metals beyond current cladding technology standards. It’s common knowledge that corrosion is the number one limiting factor in the life of metals. CermaClad anti-corrosion and anti-wear cladding technology represents a revolutionary advancement in corrosion prevention and mitigation technologies because it can produce an exceptional product at a lower cost and a fraction of the manufacturing time of competing technologies. In short, it is a significantly better, cheaper and faster alternative to current industry standards.”The Alberta oil sands use hydro-transport pipelines to carry the oil laden bitumen from the mining site to the up-graders and refiners, and subsequently to return the waste sand and rock back to the mining sites to fill in the pits that were mined. The cost of maintenance of these hydro-transport pipelines and the associated downtime in Alberta is estimated at more than $10 billion annually. According to the Materials and Reliability in Oil Sands (MARIOS) consortium in Alberta, this figure is expected to increase significantly as production expands in the coming years. Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board expects output from the province’s oil sands to double to 3.8 million barrels/d) by 2022, from the 1.9 million in 2012. Therefore, this project is an important initiative aimed a reducing these enormous losses associated with that downtime.“Our objective in Alberta is to fast-track the commercialisation of our CermaClad clad pipes and components,” said Miller. “Once our products are adopted in Alberta, we anticipate acceptance for mining applications around the globe. Currently, pipes have to be rotated every three to four months and are replaced every 12 to 15 months. We intend to increase the life of these pipes and components using a combination of our advanced materials and high-speed large-area coating technology.”“The oil majors that mine the oil sands in Alberta have primarily been using the same two coating materials for the past 40 years, tungsten-carbide and chrome-carbide, to protect their hydro-transport pipe,” continued Miller. “Our wear-resistant clad products have shown two to four times improvement in wear and corrosion resistance in laboratory tests, compared to weld overlays currently in use, at costs that are lower than currently available alternatives.“Producers are looking to extend the life of carbon steel transport pipes with harder, tougher coatings that protect them from the abrasiveness and high acidity of the tar-like bituminous oil sands. CermaClad wear-resistant clad products that will be developed through this collaborative effort with NAIT can provide that economically viable, long-term solution,” he concluded.