In partnership with FloWave ocean energy research facility at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC ) has started a programme to recreate scaled versions of Orkney’s seas in an onshore test tank.
This new technology and information gleaned will be used for development of the wave energy sector.
FloWave intends to use real-life data that has been gathered over years by EMEC’s Waverider buoys, radar and acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), in order to replicate the complex sea states in the ocean test tank.
Developed in 2014, the 25m circular tank is the only one capable of integrating waves and tides.
EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said: "Our interest is in monitoring the conditions at a site, so that developers can use that data to aid their design process, and we can then validate the performance and potential power production of their technology.
"By sharing this data, we will help accelerate learning from lab to sea and back again, and enable the UK to stay at the very forefront of this industry as it continues to mature."
Testing the technologies in the tank is expected to reduce or eliminate the risks and costs required for live testing of the technologies in the ocean.
FloWave CEO Stuart Brown said: "Testing full-scale ocean energy technologies at sea can be an expensive and risky business.
"The closer you can replicate real ocean conditions in the laboratory, the better you can refine your prototype and validate how it might perform, before testing part-scale or full-scale devices at sea.
"Ocean technology developers now have a clear pathway from the computer to the laboratory to EMEC and, if required, back to FloWave again."
This test programme is also likely to help with the eventual commercialisation of the technologies, without the complications of real-world testing.
EMEC and Flowave initiated their collaborative research efforts in 2012 to develop the advanced wave energy converters.
Image: FloWave ocean energy research facility. Photo: courtesy of FloWave.