The start of second generation wave and tidal device testing will bring a new 360 degrees tank testing facility in Edinburgh into its own, it is hoped.
Flowave TT, a £10million facility being built by Edinburgh University, will enable wave and tidal device developers to test up to 20th scale models in every possible sea condition when it opens next year.
Details of the facility, which will be 30m wide by 5m deep, will be on show at the All Energy exhibition this week.
It is currently under construction and will have digital controls able to set wave, wind, and tide height, direction, strength and pattern through full 360 degrees.
The facility, to be run by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the university, was funded by the university and the Research Council and will be run by a newly-appointed chief executive Stuart Brown, formerly senior engineer at Sgurr Energy and with experience in business analysis at Rolls Royce.
Professor Ian Bryden, head of institute for energy systems at Edinburgh University and leader of the project, said: “It will be the world’s most-advanced large-scale test facility. It has full 360 degree capability, which it unique. We can simulate the effect of a storm coming from the west, coinciding with swell from the south and current from the east, if such a situation could exist. It is digital so we can dial up any condition. I see it as a stepping stone to the European Marine Energy Centre, helping them develop the technology and reduce costs. Second-generation devices will start to be built as developers start learning lessons from first generation schemes.
“Technology does not stop being developed and enhanced and that is the situation we are in.”
It is hoped it will break even in a year and also be used for research by PhD students as well as commercial clients, with the likes of ROV (remotely operated vehicle) operators already signed up to use the facility.
Flowave has taken a stand at All Energy, which is being held in Aberdeen this week – on Tuesday and Wednesday.