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Scotland to be home to world's first tidal energy test centre

05/04/2019
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The world’s first test centre aimed at pursuing the development of materials and structures for tidal energy is to be established at Rosyth in Fife, Scotland. The £2.4 million engineering research facility is the product of a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and Babcock International.
The facility will enable tidal energy developers to quickly assess and pursue new blade technologies
(The facility will enable tidal energy developers to quickly assess and pursue new blade technologies. Image via the University of Edinburgh).

Named ‘Fastblade’, the facility will be the first in the world designed to carry out large-scale accelerated testing of tidal blades. Testing will use complex forces that simulate real environments, limiting the risks for product developers.

Engineering researchers will use an efficient hydraulic technology – developed by University spin-off company Artemis Intelligent Power – which enables structures to be tested significantly faster and using less energy compared with existing technologies.

It is expected that the facility’s first clients will include tidal stream developers.

Tidal blades made of composite materials need to be designed to withstand high fatigue loads in harsh ocean conditions for up to 20 years. Pioneering measurement systems at the centre will enable developers to learn from test datasets to understand damage accumulation and optimise blade structures through ‘data-driven insight’.

The partnership between the University of Edinburgh and Babcock has been integral to the development of Fastblade, with Neil Young, Technology Director at Babcock saying:

“For us, this really is a great industrial partnership. Our engineers working alongside the University’s renowned academics has shown what the art of the possible is, in engineering and in working together. Whilst we are still at the early stages of development I know we are creating something that isn’t just a great opportunity for us, it will have real benefit for all the companies using the facility in years to come”.

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Scotland to be home to world's first tidal energy test centre - Time to read 2 min
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