15th March 2023

In the Spring issue of Energy Global, Somaieh Salehpour, Vice President of Strategic Markets & Technology, discussed how SFL are protecting the energy mix with a number of product options. 


A sustainable future is ahead of us, the wind industry is proof of that, rapidly expanding over the past couple of years with over 93GW of wind energy installed globally in 2021. Solar energy generation also increased by a record 179 TWh (up 22%) in the same year. These are both vital parts of the future mix, but other technologies will be needed to reach the challenging goals set.

A look at wind

The UK has made major commitments into offshore wind with over £900 million invested in offshore wind manufacturing plants in 2021, the highest on record since the industry arrived in the UK in 2000. The UK offshore wind industry is committed to creating tens of thousands of jobs, with 26,000 already working in the sector and this set to increase to 69,000 in the next five years.

The USA has conducted offshore wind lease sales off the coast of New York, fetching over $4 billion, a major step in the US push to renewable energy. Plans have been announced for the Gulf of Mexico,  the Central Atlantic for auction and they are in the process of analysing suitable sites off Oregon and in the Gulf of Maine.

Asia-Pacific region’s wind energy sector could soon account for nearly a quarter of their power this decade, with China set to be the largest market by 2030. And India is expected to install nearly 20.2 GW of wind power capacity between 2021-2025, a growth of nearly 50% compared to the 39.2 GW currently installed in the country.

Up and coming brand Easy-Qote has been making great strides in protecting this all important infrastructure to our sustainable future. A brand on a mission to change the way corrosion prevention is viewed, and conducted, with it being applied simply as a patch.

In the case of Easy-Qote, one individual or small team is armed with a wire brush and a roll of patches. Simply brush loose corrosion away, apply the patch and return to base. No blasting is required avoiding the all-important issue of environmental contaminants. Overhead costs will be greatly reduced with transportation and manpower costs down. Instead, protection is immediate and with a service lifetime of 25-30 years, the asset can now reach its full potential with long term protection.

What about Geothermal?

Geothermal energy is like an Earth driven radiator, no harsh chemicals, just using the Earth’s heat to provide energy.  To do so, you have to drill deep, but to drill this deep you need to provide insulation protection to the drill pipe/ equipment, as well as extreme temperature, abrasion and pressure challenges to both the internal and external coatings.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Team Highland/SFL have been hard at work the past two years, coming up with an exterior and interior coating solution for deep well drilling for thermal wells with Eavor and putting them into action.

Incorporating both Highland and US Coating technologies and our internal R&D expertise, a solution was put forward utilizing the collaboration of our existing customers. Permian Enterprises providing exterior drill pipe applicators; CeramKote providing interior drill pipe applications and Eavor who are the experts in deep well drilling. The project has identified over 82 drill sites so far with the first deep well tested in Q1 of 2022.

Products that went out to the first well drilled in Q1 include Highland 74-INS-AR, Novolac Liner technology for the internal pipe joints with added abrasion resistance and Highland 6521-INS, 100% solids Novolac technology with insulation package for the external of the pipe joints offering insulation and abrasion resistance (this is a combination of Highland and US Coatings technologies).

At the end of 2022 the deep well depths have reached 3 miles / 4km with success, nearly 3x the depth that are typically used for standard oil drilling operations and does support clean energy options. These depths also equate to higher performance requirements for heat, insulation and abrasion resistance. This is a definitely a ‘watch this space’ project.

And now the rise of Hydrogen

Hydrogen has the potential to be a game-changer for the future of energy, as it offers a clean, renewable, and versatile fuel source. However, widespread adoption of hydrogen will require significant investment in infrastructure and technology development. Retrofitting existing pipelines for hydrogen is crucial to take advantage of the potential benefits of hydrogen as a clean energy source. By repurposing existing pipelines, governments and operators can avoid the high costs and environmental impacts associated with building new infrastructure from scratch. Additionally, retrofitting can accelerate the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel source by enabling faster deployment and reducing barriers to entry for hydrogen producers and users.

At present, the development of internal coatings for retrofitting existing pipelines is a hot topic in the coating and energy industries. With the possibility for hydrogen to greatly contribute to the future energy-mix, there is significant interest and investment in developing coatings that can ensure the safe and efficient transport of hydrogen gas.

At Seal for Life, we have been actively working on developing a coating solution for the hydrogen transport market, also the test methods to evaluate the solutions. We have developed interesting prototypes that are currently being tested according to field conditions.

The coating industry is also collaborating with the energy industry to advance the development of hydrogen transport coatings. For example, the Association of Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP) has established a working group to address the challenges associated with the transportation of hydrogen through existing pipelines and requirements for internal coatings. We are very involved in technical committee like this one, where working groups bring together experts from the coating, energy, and pipeline industries to share knowledge and to develop solutions for the safe and efficient transport of hydrogen gas. We strongly believe that collaborative efforts between the coating and energy industries are essential to advance the development of these coatings and support the transition to a low-carbon future.


The energy transition is now and our company is proud to be part of not just the conversation, but the action too.


Somaieh Salehpoour