The Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) at Plymouth University has received £1.2m in funding to install a new wave tank testing facility.
The wave tanks are being funded by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) as part of the agency’s three-year £7.3m investment in PRIMaRE.
The facility will allow model testing in multi-directional waves and variable-direction currents and will also be able to model shallow- and deep-water conditions. It will enable the testing of scale models of wave- and tidal-energy devices individually and in arrays.
The investment has been welcomed by business minister Lord Drayson. He said: ‘This wave tank will play to the UK’s strengths – science, engineering, waves and tides – to help us establish a global lead in developing the technologies necessary to produce this renewable-energy supply.
‘Wave technology will be key to the future of energy generation and the south west, the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area, has the potential and expertise to make this happen,’ added Drayson.
Jonny Boston, the South West RDA’s offshore renewable-energy manager, said: ‘This new laboratory will be a first in the UK and will offer the marine renewables industry a test facility backed by the considerable academic and research expertise of PRIMaRE. It is the latest step in our ambition to be a global centre for marine-energy research.’
The main wave tank at the facility will measure 35 x 15m and be 2m deep. It is expected to be completed in early 2012.