The Facility

The FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility is a world-unique facility for testing and de-risking marine energy technologies and projects.

The Tank and Equipment

Pre-construction graphic showing the size and scale of the FloWave facility building

The heart of FloWave is a 30m circular concrete basin containing the 25m diameter wave and current tank.

The 5m deep tank contains 2.4 million litres of fresh water and is circumferentially ringed by 168 absorbing wave makers. Additionally, twenty-eight submerged flow-drive units can simultaneously and independently drive current across the tank in any relative direction, with maximum current velocities of 1.6 metres per second.

A rising tank floor and 5t overhead crane enable quick and easy installation of individual devices, or arrays of wave or tidal current generators.

Circular Tank Benefits

Because the tank is circular and therefore non-directional, waves and currents in the tank can act in any combination and in any relative direction across the large central volume 17 metres in diameter and 2m deep.

Optimised for 700mm, two second waves, the 168 absorbing wave-makers paddles can create full-spectrum multi-directional waves as well as more traditional monochromatic waves, and all this over a roughly circular test area of more than 200 square metres. Depending on the scale chosen this corresponds to full-scale seas of up to 28m waves, currents in excess of 12 knots, and a sea-area of approximately 2 square kilometres.

360 degree symmetry of wave and current conditions

Because the tank is circular and therefore non-directional, waves and currents in the tank can act in any combination and in any relative direction across the large central volume.

1/20th scale model testing conditions

Bridging the gap between 1/100th ‘flume scale’ test modelling and testing prototypes at 1/6th scale and above in the real sea, testing at 1/20th scale at FloWave introduces a critical evaluation stage-gate into the device development cycle at the “go/No-go” decision point for investors and funders. This helps to bridge the so-called ‘valley of death’ between small-scale test equipment and full scale prototypes.

Unrivalled control and repeatability

Test conditions for current and waves in all directions can be simply programmed and run, or chosen from a suite of standard ocean spectra correlating to actual measured sea-states. Complex wave and current conditions for normal, challenging and extreme conditions can easily be simulated and repeated time after time, thereby allowing devices and control algorithms to be be iteratively adjusted to find optimal performance settings and reducing the time taken to get to the optimised ‘right first time’ design.

Perfect for Array Project Testing

Building on the techniques developed for the 100th scale curved wave tank at the University of Edinburgh over the last twelve years, FloWave’s 220 square metre test area is large enough to accommodate small arrays of devices, and will be of particular interest to Project developers looking to physically validate computational layout models.

AlbaTERN's model WaveNet device immediately prior to testing.