Advanced floating platform-laboratory for the evaluation of materials, components and equipment in real offshore environment

developped by TECNALIA

What is HarshLab?

HarshLab is an advanced floating platform-laboratory for the evaluation of materials and components in real offshore environment.

This unique offshore infrastructure is suitable for testing new materials and solutions against corrosion, ageing and fouling in immersion, splash and atmospheric zones.

Current offshore laboratory will be replaced in 2020 by a bigger and more advanced version. HarshLab2.0 will improve testing capacities by increasing the size ant typology of components to be tested and by adding two additional exposition zones (confined and seabed). Finally, HarshLab2.0 will be equipped with electric supply, so testing of devices working at offshore conditions will be able.

1 - Atmospheric Zone

Coupons and components assays in atmospheric zone

2 - Splash Zone

Coupons and components assays in Splash Zone

3 - Confined Zone

Coupons and components assays in confined zone

4 - Immersion Zone

Coupons and components assays in immersion zone

5 - Umbilicals, conectors and risers

Umbilicals, connectors and risers assays: Possibility of comention both in the bottom and sides of HarshLab

6 - Mooring components

Mooring components assays: Suspension zone for different mooring components. Potentially inserted in HarshLab mooring lines.

7 - Seabed Zone

Coupons and components assays in Seabed Zone (60 m)

Why HarshLab?

Managed by Tecnalia, HarshLab is an offshore infrastructure open to any institution in the world interested in testing their materials or components in real offshore environment.

With three different exposition zones available (atmospheric, splash and immersion), metocean conditions are 24/7 monitored thanks to nearby meteorological station and oceanographic buoys moored in BiMEP Area.

Field results can be complemented in Tecnalia’s corrosion and characterization laboratories, where additional specific corrosion tests, ageing in climatic chambers or under mechanical solicitation can be performed according to international standards or specific demands.

  • Corrosion analysis, forecasting, assessment, control and monitoring. 
  • Material and coatings testing and characterization (i.e. chemical composition, microstructure, mechanical properties: tensile test, fatigue).
  • Surface properties, i.e.: surface roughness, coating adherence, wettability, hardness, …).
  • Failure analysis in-service performance and residual life
  • Wear and friction characterization.
  • Artificial ageing in climatic chambers


HarshLab facility is a great opportunity both for us and for our clients in order to validate our developments in real offshore conditions

Aintzane Expósito, Vicinay Marine Innovación

Results, certifications and evaluations obtained during testing in HarshLab will boost our position as providers of advanced fastening solutions

Arkaitz Etxezarreta, Erreka Fastening Solutions

A real offshore environment

HarshLab1.0 is moored in the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP), an experimental sea zone with a total surface area of 5.3 sq km, situated in the Gulf of Biscay, 1,6 nautical miles in front of the village of Armintza (Bizkaia, Spain).

BiMEP area is well communicated with Armintza’s port and under 24 hour surveillance, which allows a quick access to samples under trial while ensuring 100% offshore conditions.

BiMEP is an open sea test site for WEC trials:

  • 13,2 kV – 5 MW subsea export cables.
  • 24/7 surveillance and monitoring.
  • Research and Data Centre (Monitoring and control system)

HarshLab can be easily reached from Armintza’s port with a 10’ boat trip. Although sea conditions limit the access during heaviest swells, access to the platform is open during the whole year.

Testing in HarshLab


Corrosion Tests

Harsh marine environment is ensured, with a CX classification in atmospheric and splash zones, and Im2 in immersion zone. Immersion zone is prone to the formation of biofouling, so it’s a good opportunity to study the influence of biofouling in initial stages of corrosion in materials and how the presence of barnacles and other biofouling species affects the corrosion rate on different materials.

Antifouling Solutions

BiMEP area is especially prone to biofouling growth, so test immersion sites at HL1.0 are suitable for testing experimental antifouling solutions under real offshore conditions.

Ageing Assays

Not only nude and coated metallic surfaces can be tested in our platform, but also other non-metallic materials that need to withstand harsh marine conditions while maintaining their properties (flexibility, aesthetic, etc)

HarshLab allows the evaluation of standardized probes and other components in real offshore environment, in immersion, splash and atmospheric zones (samples in atmospheric zone can be exposed to 45º or 90º)

Samples in Atmoshere

Samples in splash

Samples in immersion

Although other dimensions can be tested (contact us), we recommend shaping samples according following dimensions:

Meteoceanic conditions

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Meteorological data

  • Annual precipitation: 1500 mm/year
  • Mean interannual temperature: 13ºC
  • Average interannual max temperature: 16ºC
  • Average interannual min temperature: 10ºC
  • Average insolation: 1825 hours/year

Oceanographic data

  • Water temp. min/max: 11ºC (Jan) – 22ºC (Aug)
  • Significant wave height min/med/max: 1,15m/1,67m/9,62m
  • Average salinity: 35 USP
  • Average dissolved O2: 6 mL/l
  • Average transmittance: 88%

Identified biofouling species

  • Bryozoan
  • Perforatus perforates
  • Anomia ephippium
  • Hiatella arctica
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis

Contact us

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