The nuclear, renewable-energy and construction sectors also spend a fortune monitoring corrosion that is hidden under insulation.
For the offshore sector, corrosion under insulation (CUI) on pipelines and other infrastructure is estimated to cost about £3.5 billion a year.
Current practice relies on periodic removal of insulation in selected areas to check visually for problems – but that could be about to change.
A new project involving Scotland’s Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (Censis) and specialist company CorrosionRADAR, a spin-out from Cranfield University, will explore the use of remote sensors to monitor corrosion continually without the need to remove insulation.
Funding for the £98,000 scheme includes a £68,896 grant from UK Government-backed Innovate UK.