A large-scale wave tank that can mimic the currents and spikes of the stormy seas, the first of its kind in the world, has been launched at the University of Edinburgh.
The pioneering project will allow experts to test wave and tidal energy technology, modelling the complex conditions found in many sites off British coasts that have been earmarked for future renewable energy installations.
The £9.5m FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility can simulate turning tides and scale version equivalents of 28 metre high waves and currents of up to 14 knots. At an inaugural event on Thursday, guests watched a demonstration of the tank’s potential.
“This tank is as close as you get to real sea on dry land”, Prof Robin Wallace, chair of Renewable Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC News.
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It is hoped that the facility will speed up breakthroughs in renewable energy, helping researchers to complete tests in days or weeks, instead of the months and years that they can take in the open seas.
Prof Philip Nelson, chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), added, “EPSRC’s investment in the FloWave facility will help keep the UK at the forefront of marine energy technology research and development.
“Research here can accelerate the deployment of these technologies which, in turn, will help us meet our low-carbon targets create jobs and boost growth.”
See below for images of the facilities’ unveiling.
Photos: Callum Bennetts & FloWave TT Ltd.