Advanced floating laboratory for the validation and experimentation of materials, components and equipment in real offshore environment

Designed and operated by

HarshLab is a unique floating laboratory for testing developments for the offshore industry in a real environment and under controlled conditions.

In 2023 it will be connected to the BiMEP submarine network that will provide electricity and optic fiber communication. Until then it is powered by a renewable electricity generation system that allows to obtain data from the installed equipment and transmit them from sea to land in real time.

Equipment, new materials and coating can be evaluated in a wide variety of conditions ranging from atmospheric to seabed. 

For the latter HarshLab offers a ROV for submarine inspections and a submarine modem for the development of novel communication systems with submerged devices.

The laboratory is moored in the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP), situated in the Gulf of Biscay, 1,6 nautical miles in front of the village of Armintza (Bizkaia, Spain).

Technical datasheet for HarshLab

Dimensions: 8,5 m diameter, 7,0 m high


  • Exposition of more than 2000 samples in atmospheric, splash and immersion zones
  • Space for component testing:
    • 60 m2 outdoor deck
    • 57 m2 in hold
  • Main crane capacity: 1 ton @ 5,25 m
  • Auxiliar davit capacity: 300 kg @ 1,5 m
  • Maximum payload: 9 ton 

Grid connection 

Until the installation of the umbilical cable (planned for 2023) 

  • Renewable electricity generation system (photovoltaic and wind energy), supported by a battery system that provides energy to HarshLab depending of meteorological conditions.
  • 3G communication system that allows to obtain data from the installed equipment and transmit them to land in real time. 

With connection to the submarine network of BiMEP (planned for 2023) 

  • Umbilical cable for power, auxiliar services and data
  • Connection to BiMEP’s submarine grid at 690V/160 kVA
  • Internal working voltage: alternating current at 400V and 230V; and direct current at 24V and 12V

Designed for connecting third party devices testing in BiMEP area to the submarine grid.


    During its three years of operation in open sea the previous HarshLab allowed more than 20 companies to obtain valuable information about the behavior of their materials in the marine environment: corrosion, aging and fouling.

    More than 500 probes and samples were evaluated.


    Conditions for the assessment

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    In atmospheric zone


    In splash zone


    In immersion zone


    Mooring components


    Umbilicals, connectors and risers


    ROV for submarine operations


    Testing of components in seabed (65m depth)

    Types of testing


    Atmospheric and splash zones have a corrosivity classification of CX. Immersion zone is classified as Im2, so both ensure the highest corrosion rate.


    HarshLab is a suitable site for testing materials and components of any material that need to withstand offshore conditions and to maintain its properties as flexibility, colour, brightness; among others.



    BiMEP is an open sea area especially prone to biofouling growth, so test immersion and splash zones of HarshLab are particularly suitable for testing experimental antifouling solutions under real offshore conditions.


    HarshLab is a suitable place for testing all kinds of sensory and communication systems for the offshore industry. The Laboratory has a 3G telecommunication connection, meteorological station, GPS based tracking system, submarine modem for communications of submerged devices with Surface and a small ROV for inspections.


    HarshLab offers two available connectors in the hull, which poses an excellent opportunity for the validation of innovative connection systems of risers, conectors and umbilicals in real conditions.


    Able to host validation of grid connected prototypes in service in immersion, deck or in hold.

    Additional Testing

    Evaluación y protección contra la corrosión

    Corrosion and characterization in our Labs: We complement the results obtained in HarshLab with additional tests of corrosion, coating characterization, ageing in climatic chambers or under mechanical solicitation… that can be performed according to international standards or under specific demands.

    Data Lab Services: We can provide to the users a full set of data related to the ongoing trials: environmental parameters (meteorological, oceanographic data), corrosion rate, appearance…) as well as valuable correlations between the observed variables, using advanced data analytics techniques.

    HarshLab TECNALIA

    R&D in HarshLab

    HarshLab is an infrastructure open both to private projects and collaborative public private partnership initiatives. HarshLab helps researchers to understand in a reliable way how offshore conditions may hinder lifetime expectancy of components and equipment designed to withstand harsh conditions in offshore industry

    Last News

    Upgraded HarshLab finally launched in the port of Bilbao

    Upgraded HarshLab finally launched in the port of Bilbao

    Last week a trully special event took place in the port of Bilbao. Five years after HarshLab concept was initially conceived, the final version of the lab was finally launched. Next step is to wait for an adequate weather window that allows the commisionning...

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    Despite the COVID-19, last month was full of exciting new projects and initiatives at Tecnalia. One of the them was the installation in HarshLab of 28 samples with an experimental corrosion sensing coating developed by University of Leicester in collaboration with The...

    First NEMMO’s EU project panels hit the water for biofouling tests

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    We celebrate our 1st anniversary out in the sea!

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    First HarshLab Day event was held in Armintza

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    HarshLab has been partly funded by Basque Government through the Grant Programme for the Acquisition of Scientific-Technological Infrastructures -AZPITEK nº PZ-2021/00001 – HL2.0

    Gobierno Vasco