World’s biggest offshore windfarm protected using titanium dioxide paints

Lying 90km off England’s Yorkshire coast, the world’s largest offshore windfarm sailed into operation in August 2022.

Covering an area of 500 square kilometres (which is roughly the size of the city of Manchester), the Hornsea 2 project’s 165 turbines will generate enough electricity to power 1.4 million homes.

Each of Hornsea 2’s 495 turbine blades are 81 metres long and have been built to withstand the often brutal conditions of the North Sea. High winds and saltwater can create a difficult environment for the steel-built turbines, which is why each one is treated with a special coating designed to withstand the elements.

A coating reinforced with titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been used for its proven performance in harsh environments while also providing a strong aesthetic finish.

How TiO2 protects windfarms from the elements

TiO2 is an essential ingredient of the coating as it brings multiple benefits to the product. As a pigment, its high refractive index means it can scatter visible light. This results in an opaque colour and creates a bright, reflective quality, protecting the turbine from UV degradation.

TiO2 is also an excellent photocatalyst, breaking down harmful atmospheric pollutants as they come into contact with the turbine masts, giving them an environmentally friendly, self-cleaning ability, which reduces the need for expensive ongoing maintenance.