FloWave celebrates tenth anniversary

The FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility has accelerated ocean technology for over a decade, bridging the gap between conceptual research and full-scale ocean testing.  

FloWave, the world’s first circular combined wave and current simulation tank, has celebrated a decade of innovation in marine energy development and continues to shape the future of renewable ocean energy. 

Over the last 10 years, the team has investigated over 50 distinct renewable technologies, working with researchers, designers and engineers from 21 countries. Tests have ensured companies including Orbital Marine Power, Mocean Energy and EnerOcean could deploy their tidal, wave and floating wind devices.

The £12 million facility, funded by EPSRC, is extensively used for the testing of scaled down prototypes of new commercial technologies and for ocean based academic research. Through simulating sea-states and running tests, novel technologies can be accelerated in development through assurance that they work in the closest simulation of real ocean conditions available, supporting the current era of rapid renewable energy growth.

The team have encouraged future generations into STEM, hosting the Junior Saltire Prize; a screening of the film Ponyo set to orchestrated waves at the Edinburgh Science Festival; and The SlowMo Guys as they filmed 1,000 rubber ducks in a wave using their 1,000 frames per second camera, which has 17 million views.

FloWave was developed in response to the increasing demand for testing facilities for wave and tidal energy devices, complementing the School’s curved wave tank. Designed by Professors Ian Bryden, David Ingram and Robin Wallace with architects Bennetts Associates and equipment suppliers Edinburgh Designs the facility took three years to build.  

Principal Experimental Officer, Dr Thomas Davey, commented: 

“Reaching the milestone of 10 years of operations for the offshore renewable energy sector is a proud achievement for us all and is a testament to the efforts and skills of the FloWave team past and present. The facility is a fantastic machine, but ultimately it serves as a place for people to apply and develop knowledge and it would be nothing without the never-ending drive for innovation from those who designed it, operate it, and use it.

We look forward to another decade of applying FloWave to the latest in offshore research and development activities, bringing together the best of academia and industry.” 

Head of the School of Engineering, Professor Gareth Harrison, added: 

“I’m delighted to see FloWave reach its first decade of operation. Its success over the last 10 years is a reflection of the sheer imagination and vision of my colleagues. Their idea of bringing the ocean onshore has enabled the School and University to truly cement its reputation in offshore renewable energy; and it plays a central role in this rapidly developing industry.” 

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