During the last week of August, the Euro-MIC COST conference took place. A one day seminar that updated more than 100 interested people about scientific and industrial progress on the topic of Microbial influenced corrosion. The meeting was hosted at the BAM, the German federal material research institute.
Visitors were treated with a guided tour around the laboratory facilities and learned about the laboratory set-ups for the cultivation of methanogenic Archaea. This laboratory set-up with small in-house developed bioreactors enabled several key insights around methanogenic driven corrosion processes. A great opportunity.
We will highlight several presentations that created a new insight for us as Corrosion Alliance team. The presentation of Dennis Enning shed a light on a key question of MIC, why here? It is still poorly understood why specific spots of a pipeline can be highly affected by microbial metabolic activity, while other areas -exposed to identical environmental conditions- are not affected at all.
The local aspect of MIC, can it be foreseen?
It is known from several research initiatives that microstructure can play a major role in the local occurance with, among other things, grain bounderies energetically providing an attractive position for microorganisms to extract electrons.
However, this is not the whole story and cannot be the full explanation of precisely this local aspect. You often see, when looking at the microstructure, that these grain bounderies occur over larger areas, or at several location on the surface area, while microorganism-driven corrosion does not occur in all these places.In his presentation, Dennis arrives at a surprising new hypothesis about the possible interaction between amine-based corrosion inhibitors and the role of the presence of sand (silica).
Is there any progress in the diagnostic of MIC amongst the industry?
During the conference, several interesting cases where presented. Geert Potters presented the work of a collaborate project to examine changes in microbial composition of sweet, brackish, and seawater in several belgium rivers and harbours and the effect on motor yachts and coast protection structures (shore sheet piles). Jan Keuver presented a case on sulpher sycle within biogas plants (methane production) and how the presence of elemental suplher can boost sulpher reduced activity and subsequent formation of hydrogen sulphide. Andreas Erbe, inspired us with an philisophical presentation about the undesirable consequences of microbial activity in the feces of birds. Offshore structures, traffic signs, steel bridge cables, the presence of bird faeces locally creates a microenvironment that harbours both a food source and relevant microbiology. Paradoxically, however, almost nothing is known about this. And the potential financial implications this has.
Lisa Gieg gave a presentation on the achievements of the Genomic project. A large Canadian research project on creating tools for industry in the form of standard operating procedures, mitigation, modelling and diagnosis. Many scientific publications came out of this project. Lisa reiterated the importance of good sample handling. They also researched the performance of preservation methods. This shows that Ethanol is still a very effective and cheap alternative for sample preservation. More effective than several commercial reagents developed specifically for this purpose. André de A Abilio also showed the results of his work to capture the emperical and tacit experiences of a groupd of industry experts. He applied a machine based learning approach on his data and confirmed that this could enhance the capabilities to estimate the risk likelyhood of MIC in certain assets in a more conscise and structured method.
Of course, we heard and saw many more fun and interesting presentations throughout the day. Too many to go into here in a short summary. Through our newsletter we will keep you updated about upcoming events.