Tidal Testing Facility, University of Edinburgh Research Building, Scotland Architecture

Tidal Testing Facility, Edinburgh

Scottish Education and Research Building – design by Bennetts Associates

11 Jun 2014

University of Edinburgh Energy Research

Design: Bennetts Associates

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Large-scale testing tank to make waves in marine energy sector

A unique Bennetts Associates’ designed marine facility for testing wave and tidal renewable technologies has officially opened at the University of Edinburgh.

Tidal Testing Facility University of Edinburgh 1

At the opening event, guests at the FloWave Wave and Tidal Test Facility at the university’s science campus were given a demonstration of how complex waves, fast currents and large water spikes can be created in the circular pool, to recreate waves and currents from coastlines around the UK, Europe and beyond.

The FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility, managed by University of Edinburgh subsidiary company FloWave TT Ltd, can simulate scale version equivalents of waves up to 28 metres high and currents of up to 14 knots, using 2.4 million litres of water.

Tidal Testing Facility University of Edinburgh 2

Bennetts Associates designed an elegant, naturally ventilated structure with high levels of insulation and airtightness to house the facility, along with support accommodation including a model workshop, office and meeting space. The circular pool is 25m across and 2m deep, with a rising floor that gives access to the water and an overhead crane that allows movement of models and instrumentation trusses.

Researchers and industrial partners can use the facility to develop and refine full-scale devices such as wave and tidal energy converters, floating offshore wind platforms, and vessels to install and maintain offshore projects.

Tidal Testing Facility University of Edinburgh 3

Testing devices at scale in a tank can enable research milestones to be achieved in days or weeks, compared with months or years in open water. This accelerated development should help bring clean energy products to market more quickly and cost-effectively, at lower risk.

The £9.5 million FloWave facility was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University.

Professor Sir Timothy O’ Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, said:

“We are delighted to mark the official launch of this pioneering facility, which will speed the development of devices to harness wave and current power, and further enhance the University’s position as a centre of excellence in marine energy research.”

Tidal Testing Facility University of Edinburgh 4

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said:

“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.”

University of Edinburgh Tidal Testing Facility information / images from Bennetts Associates

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