The wave energy facility will allow model testing in both multi-directional waves and variable direction currents, and will also be able to model shallow and deep water wave energy conditions.
South West RDA says 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 who says: “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 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."
Dr Deborah Greaves, Reader in Coastal and Marine Engineering at the University of Plymouth and one of the lead academics at PRIMaRE, adds: “The proposed new wave tank testing facility is already generating quite a stir in the marine renewables industry because of the full range of testing that it will offer. Not only can we test the performance of wave and tidal devices, but we can also model how these devices might impact on coastal conditions.”
The main wave tank at the facility will measure 35 m by 15 m and be 2 m deep. It is expected to be completed in early 2012.