test site

FloWave will use the data gathered over years by EMEC’s Waverider buoys, radar and acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) to replicate the complex sea states in Orkney in the ocean test tank, which was developed in 2014 at the facility.

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."

The 25m circular tank is said to be the only facility capable of combining waves and tides.

FloWave said that the new scaled versions of Scotland’s oceans in the laboratory could reduce the risk and cost associated with the testing full-scale ocean energy technologies.

FloWave CEO Stuart Brown said: "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."

According to Scottish Renewables, the representative body of the Scottish renewable energy industry, replicating sea conditions is expected to help ensure the readiness of the prototypes for developers for Orkney’s powerful waves and tides.

This will also provide a cost-effective way of real-world testing and for eventual commercialization of the new technology at later stages.

In June 2012, EMEC partnered with FloWave to support the development of the next-generation wave energy converters.

Image: FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility. Photo: courtesy of FloWave.