Category Archives: Deep Anodes

Solar Powered Cathodic Protection Systems—Design Considerations

This article reviews the design of solar powered cathodic protection systems to minimize power requirements.

For most impressed current cathodic protection systems, the use of AC powered transformer/rectifiers are the preferred means of supplying power to the system.

However, where AC power is not readily available, there are other alternative power supply systems available. One of the most common of these are solar powered systems.

Solar powered systems, when properly designed, can provide reliable power for an impressed current cathodic protection system where AC is not readily available. There are, however, some technical considerations that should be taken to assure that the system is cost effective and reliable.

solar powered cathodic protection systems
Solar Powered Cathodic Protection System – Front view showing 8 x 390W solar panels. This 225W solar system powers a deep anode system to protect a remote pipeline.

Design of Cathodic Protection Systems to Minimize Power Requirements

This may seem obvious; however, the typical CP system design is not designed based on optimizing power requirements. For AC powered impressed current cathodic protection systems, the cost of the electrical power required is very low and the overall power draw is not significant. Therefore, CP designers focus on optimizing the overall cathodic protection installation costs and not reducing the power requirements. AC power is relatively low and AC power costs are very low.

But when we are talking about designing a CP system where AC power is not an option, the economic drivers are different.

The cost of the power supply for a solar powered cathodic protection system increases exponentially as the wattage increases. Therefore, investing additional monies on the CP system design to reduce power requirements can have a significant impact on the overall installed cost of the solar power system.

Power is simply defined by the equation W=I2R where W is Power, I is the total design current, and R is the total system resistance.

There are two ways to reduce power requirements for a solar powered cathodic protection system

The first has to do with the required current output for the system. Typically, CP designers are overly conservative in terms of design current. If we believe 20 amps of current is needed, then why not install 40 amps of capacity. If we need more current, we will have that capability by simply turning up the voltage on the rectifier. AC power is not a concern.

However, when considering solar powered CP systems, reducing the maximum current density has a huge impact on the solar system sizing.

A 25% reduction in the system’s current requirements reduces the power requirement by 44%.

For solar powered cathodic protection systems, the design current needs to be scrutinized to make sure that we are not being overly conservative and installing excessive current capacity that is not warranted by the application.

solar powered cathodic protection system installed in Wyoming
Rear view of a 225W solar system with 7 days autonomy designed for installation in Wyoming. The system includes dual 8-battery enclosures, load management controller and cathodic protection controller.

Another important factor in reducing the power requirements is designing the cathodic protection system to reduce anode bed resistance. This can easily be achieved by understanding that anode bed resistance is largely a function of the overall total anode system length. Designing the anode system to increase anode length can drastically reduce anode bed resistance. For deep anode groundbed systems this means spending a little more in drilling costs to extend the active anode length.

This will increase the cost of the CP system, but these additional costs can often generate a much larger savings in solar power system costs. Also consider the use of long length linear anodes for shallow anode bed systems as these systems also have a much lower anode bed resistance.

Multiple Small Systems May Be Less Expensive Than One Large System

Another consideration is the quantity and spacing of CP systems.

Given the exponential costs associated with solar cathodic protection systems as the wattage increases, it often makes more sense to install multiple smaller anode systems, than to try and design one large CP system.

A single 30-amp system with 1 ohms resistance would require a solar power system rated for a minimum of 900-Watt plus a design safety factor. Installing two 15-amp CP systems in different locations can improve the CP current distribution by eliminating some attenuation concerns, but more importantly it also reduces the total wattage of solar power required by 50%. The cost savings of installing 2 x 225-Watt versus a single 900-Watt system can far exceed the incremental costs of having two installations.

Solar Cathodic Protection System Application in Wyoming

The photos above provide some perspective on the size and space requirements of a typical Solar Power system. These photos are from a recent MATCOR installation in Wyoming and are based on providing continuous power for a 15 amp, 1 ohm anode bed. The battery capacity is sufficient to provide 7 full days of autonomy.

Autonomy is the term used for describing how many days without sunlight the system is sized to support using stored solar energy in the battery reserves. As can be readily seen from the photos above, the solar power systems do take up a reasonably large footprint for a relatively small system, further emphasizing the value of minimizing the CP system power requirements

Should you have a need for a Solar Powered CP System, contact your MATCOR representative. MATCOR’s engineering team is available to help you with optimizing the overall system design.


Have questions or need a quote for a solar powered cathodic protection system? Contact us at the link below. For immediate assistance, please call +1-215-348-2974.

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Durammo Helps You Do More With Your Money.

MATCOR’s proprietary deep anode system is a cost-effective approach to installing deep anodes.

Recently a customer asked MATCOR to bid the installation of multiple deep anode systems, each consisting of 15 high silicon cast iron anodes to be installed in 350-ft. deep holes. MATCOR provided an alternate proposal based on our proprietary Durammo® system.

Durammo® Deep Anode System

2 Major Benefits of Durammo 

  1. It eliminates the need for a junction box
  2. It requires a lot less cable due to its being a continuous anode system with only two primary cables

Meaningful Cost Savings

When you are looking at 15 individual anodes with hundreds of feet of dual insulated HMWPE/Kynar® or Halar®  (pick your preferred fluorinated polymer – they are very similar in their chemical resistance and are both suitable for deep anode installations), the cabling costs are significant as is the cost of a suitably sized junction box. Multiply these savings over several sites and it can lead to a meaningful costs savings over the typical conventional anode installation.

9 Reasons DURAMMO® Beats Conventional Anode Systems »

Expand Your Scope of Work!

Our client took advantage of the cost savings for the Durammo and awarded MATCOR the installation work and used the cost savings to have MATCOR repair, replace and add additional test stations instead of paying for a lot of additional cable and junction boxes. The Durammo cost savings allowed the operator to expand the scope of work doing more with the monies budgeted on the project.

Talk to your MATCOR representative to see how the Durammo can allow you to get more done with your limited CP budget monies.


To get in touch with our team of experts for more information, to ask a question or get a quote, please click below. We will respond by phone or email within 24 hours. For immediate assistance, please call +1-215-348-2974.

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Enerfin Joins Growing List of Satisfied Durammo® Deep Anode System Users

Josh Johnston, MATCOR’s director of sales, wanted to share a recent conversion of a new customer to the growing list of satisfied Durammo Deep Anode System users.  As Josh explained, “the Durammo is a salesman’s dream product. It offers our customers an innovative product that has an amazing track record. Its design makes it safer and easier to install because it comes preassembled ready to immediately lower down the hole.”

Durammo Deep Anode System Installation

A complete description of the Durammo deep anode system is available here.

As Josh continued, “The hardest part about selling the Durammo, is that it is different than what they have used and what others are offering. There is a certain leap of faith that we ask customers to take when trying something different. I can explain to them that it is less expensive, has a longer operating life, is safer and easier to install, that several thousands of these are installed across the country and around the world, some with more than 20 years in service. It all sounds great, but it is different. That is my job, to convince people to do something different.”

One such company is Enerfin Resources Company, a midstream company operating natural gas and crude oil field services assets in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. MATCOR met with them in the Fall of 2019 and explained to the Enerfin team the benefits of the Durammo deep anode system. As Josh noted, “Enerfin was willing to try this “new to them” technology, based on the value we offered.”

In March, MATCOR installed three of the Durammo systems for Enerfin. Tony Gustin, Project Development & Construction Manager noted, “the installation of these systems was very professional and the factory assembled system dropped in place as easy as advertised. We are sold on this product and look forward to using MATCOR and the Durammo system on many future projects.”


If you are ready to try something better, but different for your next deep anode system project, contact MATCOR and we would be happy to help you take the next step.

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What is the Carbon Footprint of Deep Anode Systems?

This article explores the carbon footprint of cathodic protection deep anode systems and compares it to that of a typical passenger car.

Deep Anode Systems

Deep Anode Systems are commonly used throughout the CP industry as a cost-effective means to discharge significant amounts of current to protect pipelines over long distances or large structures in a small area. One of the common components in a deep anode system design is the vent pipe. 

Durammo® Deep Anode System

The deep anode system vent pipe serves two important related functions:

  • To prevent gas blockage that will impede the operation of the anode system
  • Prevents the accumulation of chlorine concentrations where chlorides are available

Both issues are directly related to the electro-chemical reactions that occur at the anode to coke backfill, and coke backfill to earth interfaces. 

There are two basic types of anodes used in deep anode systems—conventional “massive” anodes, and dimensionally stable anodes.

The conventional “massive” anodes are those anodes that consume as part of the electro-chemical reaction and as such their mass is critical in determining the system’s performance life. The dimensionally stable anodes, typically Mixed Metal Oxide (MMO), are catalytic in nature and do not consume as part of the anodic reaction.

Cathodic Protection Reactions

The primary cathodic protection reactions all involve generating gas:

mmo-anode-reactions

In a properly functioning deep anode system, the gases that occur from these reactions predominantly involve the coke backfill creating carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.  If chlorides are present, some percentage of chlorine gas will also be generated. 

The Importance of Venting the Deep Anode System

The gases generated in the coke column typically do not rapidly diffuse into the earth around the coke column and thus will build up. These gases are not electrically conductive and once enough gas builds up around the anode, then the anode can no longer effectively discharge current—a phenomenon known as gas blockage. If Chlorides are present, the chlorine gas reacts with water to create hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids that can attack the cable insulation and cause permanent damage. This is why it is important to properly vent these gases that are a part of the electro-chemical reaction that must occur for CP to function.

MATCOR’s SuperVent™ deep anode venting system ships in a continuous piece.

What’s the Carbon Footprint?

Given that deep anode systems generate gas, an interesting, although not commonly asked question, is how much carbon dioxide a typical deep anode system generates—in other words, what is the carbon footprint of a deep anode cathodic protection system.

With a few worst-case assumptions and a little stoichiometric chemistry analysis we can answer this question. Assuming all the reactions are generating carbon dioxide and there is no oxygen generation, then for every 4 electrons generated, one CO2 molecule is generated.

One amp-year is equal to 3.1536 x 107 amp seconds or coulombs. One Faraday or 96.487 coulombs is equal to one mole of electrons, therefore, one amp-year is equal to 326.84 moles of electrons. With the 4 to 1 ratio of electrons to CO2, that means that for every mole of electrons, 0.25 moles of CO2 are generated. CO2 has a molar mass of 44.01 g/mol, so for each amp year a total mass of 3,596 grams of CO2 is generated.

For a nominal 50 amp anode system, that would mean a maximum generation of 180 kg of CO2 per year if CO2 was the only gas generated.

How much CO2 is 180 kg/year?

The EPA estimates that the typical passenger vehicle generates 4,600 kg of CO2 per year.

Therefore, your 50 amp deep anode system generates about 4%—or just 1/25th—of what a typical passenger car generates annually.


If you have other technical questions, or for information on MATCOR’s deep anode cathodic protection solutions, please contact us at the link below.

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Deep Anode Comparison: 9 Reasons Durammo® Beats Conventional Systems

The Durammo Deep Anode System is the only complete, factory assembled, ready to install deep anode system available. Here are the top 9 reasons it outperforms conventional deep anodes.

1. FACTORY ASSEMBLED RELIABILITY

Durammo® Deep Anode System
Durammo® Deep Anode System

The Durammo deep anode system is factory assembled, tested and shipped ready to install. With a conventional High Silicon Cast Iron or Graphite deep anode system design, the installer has to make sure he has all of the anodes, that each anode has the appropriate individual cable length, that he has all of the vent pipe segments, the couplings for the vent pipe assemblies, the centralizers, a junction box, etc… With Durammo it is simply a matter of attaching the weight shipped with the system to the anode system nose cone and lowering the factory assembled complete system in place.

2. CONTINUOUS DEEP ANODE PERFORMANCE

The Durammo design utilizes a single continuous wire anode assembly. With conventional deep anode systems, multiple individual anodes (as many as 20 in some cases) are lowered into the deep anode borehole and spaced a nominal distance apart. The use of a continuous anode configuration eliminates the mutual anode interference issues that cause different anodes inside the borehole to operate at different current outputs. The result of having different individual anodes each operating at differing outputs is that over time the various individual anodes have vastly different consumption patterns and the anode system’s stability changes as individual anodes start to fail while other anodes may hardly be operating at all.

3. LONGER OPERATING LIFE

Conventional deep anode system utilizes high silicon cast iron or graphite anodes that have large (macro) consumption rates measured in pounds/amp year whereas mixed metal oxide (MMO) anodes are dimensionally stable and have very low (micro) consumption rates measured in micrograms/amp-year. This means that the normal 15-20 year life that is typical of many conventional deep anode systems can be replaced with 30+ year life Durammo systems, often with a lower installed cost.

4. LOWER COST OF OWNERSHIP

Typically the Durammo deep anode system costs less than a comparable conventional deep anode system, offers a longer design life and provides for a more stable performance –these factors combined results in a lower total cost of ownership. While the savings will vary depending on the specific deep anode system requirements, as a general rule the more conventional anodes being used, the greater the overall cost savings of using the Durammo deep anode system.

5. EASE OF INSTALLATION

Durammo Deep Anode System Installation
Durammo Deep Anode System Installation

The ease of installation of the Durammo deep anode system is one of the most impressive features that this product offers. Once the anode borehole has been drilled, a typical Durammo deep anode system can be lowered into place in less than two minutes. This is only part of the installation story; however, as the time saved, while impressive, is not the only benefit of an easy installation. Just as critical is the positive impact that the slim profile continuous wire anode design’s ease of installation has on system reliability. As a continuous anode system with a slim profile single assembly to lower down the hole, there is minimal risk of damage to the anode system cabling during installation. Contrast that to the installation consecutively of numerous large diameter conventional anodes one on top of the other. The risk of cable damage to lower anodes increases with each subsequent anode.

6. LIGHT WEIGHT/ EASE OF HANDLING

The Durammo deep anode assembly weighs significantly less than a comparable conventional anodes system and takes up much less space when placed on a wooden skid – for multiple deep anode installations, two anode assemblies can be stacked on a single skid to further reduce space and facilitate handling. The lower weight reduces transportation costs and makes it easier to install when compared to heavy individual anodes that are bulky and must be manually lifted into place before lowering. The Durammo system is also much more robust and is not subject to breakage during transportation and handling. This is not the case with high silicon cast iron or graphite anodes, both of which are subject to breaking.

7. BETTER COKE COLUMN & LOWER RESISTANCE

Several factors play an important role in determining the resistance of a deep anode system. The coke column plays a critical role in the anode system resistance (as does the soil layering, the available moisture and the environment around the deep anode system.) Dwight’s equation is often used to predict anode system resistance with the assumption that the entire coke column is one single anode. Thus the quality of the coke column and the ability of current to flow freely up and down the coke column are important in reaching the resistance values predicted using Dwight’s Equation. Durammo’s continuous anode design eliminates the mutual anode interference affects that impede current flow up and down the coke column and the significantly reduced space taken up by the wire anode system helps assure a better coke column formation and freer current flow. The end result is often a reduction in anode system resistance over a comparable conventional anode system.

8. SUPERVENT™ TECHNOLOGY

Chlorine gas generation can cause premature failure of a deep anode system’s cabling. Even chlorine resistant Kynar® cabling, which is standard with all Durammo systems, is subject to failure in the event of chlorine gas pocketing. Systems that utilize standard, non-chlorine resistant, cabling are even more at risk in the event that salts are present in the soil allowing chlorine gas formation. MATCOR’s SuperVent pipe has five times more open surface area than the standard All-Vent pipe that is common in the industry. With five times more open surface area, the venting effectiveness is 25 times better as pressure drop is a function of the square of the open surface area. Better venting translates into longer operating life.

9. KYNEX® CONNECTION TECHNOLOGY

The Durammo anode system is available with Kynex injection molded wire to anode cable connection technology. This patent pending technology provides for a fully automated connection that offers the highest quality of waterproof connections. Historically, premature mixed metal oxide anode failures have occurred because of poor cable selection or faulty anode connections. MATCOR’s use of high quality dual extruded HMWPE/Kynar cabling with Kynex connection technology assures outstanding system reliability.


Have questions or need a quote for a deep anode system? Contact us at the link below.

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