Enabling the energy transformation

Dec 4, 2023 | Featured Article, Lifting The Lid

Enabling the energy transformation

The energy sector is in transition, accelerated by the energy crisis in Europe. From the perspective of climate, there is a need to move from burning fossil fuels to using renewable energy. As Teknos explains, both hydrogen and nuclear energy have a part to play.


At the centre of the green transition is hydrogen, a clean-burning molecule that can be found everywhere in nature. Renewable and low-carbon hydrogen has been determined as crucial for meeting the Paris Agreement goals on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.   

As a result, the global hydrogen market is predicted to grow significantly over the coming years. The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) vision shows that by 2030, there will be five pan-European hydrogen supply and import corridors with almost 28,000km of initial pipelines, connecting industrial clusters, ports, and hydrogen valleys. With a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, coatings manufacturer Teknos is looking to ensure that its products meet the needs of the future energy industry.  

Coating solutions for the hydrogen industry   

On the way towards the visions for hydrogen, there are still several uncertainties to tackle. For example, the challenge in transporting and storing hydrogen in pipelines – hydrogen may have a detrimental effect on the steel surface of the pipes. 

“Green hydrogen can contribute to the growing energy demand, but we need to overcome some challenges,” says Andreas Karpow, R&D Manager Energy Teknos Group. “Hydrogen degrades the mechanical properties of most metals, accelerating fatigue and decreasing the fracture resistance of pipes, especially at dynamic pressure variations, which can cause pipeline parts to fail. Coatings can protect steel against the impact of hydrogen and in addition, can significantly decrease the friction inside the pipe for more efficient transfer of gas. ”  

Third-party solutions   

Teknos has a long history and track record in developing high-quality coating solutions for the energy sector. Drawing from this experience, it is a natural step for Teknos to expand into the hydrogen arena. Teknos is undertaking research with its products to ensure the safety and durability of future hydrogen infrastructure. 

“We are proactively searching for solutions to support the hydrogen industry using our extensive experience gained from many years supporting the energy sector,” explains Karpow. 

In 2022, Teknos worked with Mulheim Pipecoatings GmbH as part of EUROPIPE GmbH’s hydrogen research programme, in which different Teknos coatings were tested in pure hydrogen to evaluate their suitability for use in hydrogen transport. In the project, Teknopox 3296-06 and Teknopox 3297-00 coating systems performed well when tested in the pure hydrogen environment; no blistering, degradation or reduction of adhesion was observed.   

“Coating EUROPIPE’s pipes internally with Teknos coatings was an important milestone, indicating that our coating solutions can be used for hydrogen pipelines, supporting the transition toward green energy and demonstrating our strong commitment to sustainability,” says Karpow.  

Nuclear coatings

Teknos has also provided paints and coatings for the newly-commissioned Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland.

Nuclear power plants must be managed safely throughout their lifecycle, which places special requirements on the coatings. Teknos has a long track record in meeting the technical requirements set for these coatings.

Teknos has been providing coatings for nuclear power plants since the 1970s and most recently provided coatings for almost all the steel and concrete surfaces in Olkiluoto 3, located in the municipality of Eurajoki in Western Finland.

Olkiluoto 3 is the second EPR-type power plant to be completed in the world, with a capacity of 1,600 MW. It is owned by Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and was supplied by the Areva-Siemens consortium.

The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland

Teknos has provided paints and coatings for the newly-commissioned Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland

Heavy testing to ensure safety

The paints used in nuclear power plants are high-class special products and their quality is verified by extensive testing. At Olkiluoto 3, testing began at the early stages of the project.

“The testing of suitable coating systems started in 2004 with several potential paint suppliers,” explains Jori Välilä, Manager of OL3 civil quality control at TVO. “This made it possible for the Olkiluoto 3 plant supplier to choose coatings for the plant in the early stages of the project.” 

During the time of the testing, Teknos was one of the paint suppliers whose coatings systems met all the technical requirements, including the demanding Design Basis Accident (DBA) test. The DBA test verifies that the coatings used in the containment internal structures at the nuclear facility are designed and built to withstand accidents without unfavourable effects on accident management. Design against DBA events ensures that there is no loss of the systems, structures, and components necessary to ensure public health and safety.

“Teknos is well known as a high-quality paint manufacturer – furthermore, known as an experienced supplier of painting materials for OL 1 and OL 2 plants,” says Kai Wienert, Bernhard Goldkuhle GmbH & Co. KG, the Turbine Island painting contractor at the plant site. “Finally, Teknos is the single domestic supplier for all required painting systems.”

In addition to supplying the paint and coating products, Teknos provided technical support for the project. “In addition to on-time deliveries and competent guidance, Teknos was also available to support and solve problems at the construction site,” explains Wienert.

Strict requirements and high quality

Nuclear energy is a strictly regulated industry. In Finland, Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK sets the requirements for coatings used in nuclear power plants. The requirements are related to radiation and chemical resistance, decontamination, durability under operating conditions and postulated accident conditions as well as fire technical properties.

“Due to the intricate nature of the modern nuclear power plant, the requirements are very high,” emphasises Välilä. “Safety always comes first at nuclear power plants and all the set requirements must be fulfilled.”

Nuclear power plants have an operating lifetime of several decades. During the lifetime, the condition of the paints and coatings are subject to regular in-service inspections and possible repairs are conducted based on the needs identified in these inspections.

“It is important that the paint on the surfaces of nuclear power plants does not need to be maintained continuously and that the surfaces are easy to clean. Coatings used in nuclear power plant units need to meet extremely high durability requirements, to minimise the need for maintenance – the less the coating requires repairing – the better it is,” concludes Välilä.

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