FloWave TT Ltd (FloWave) and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) have agreed to share data collected at EMEC’s wave and tidal test sites in the Orkney Isles, Scotland. This data will allow FloWave to replicate at scale the actual sea conditions at Orkney in its £9.5M onshore test facility, which will be completed in 2013 at the University of Edinburgh.

In-tank simulation of the site-specific conditions found at EMEC will allow developers to quickly and cheaply hone their marine energy ideas and concepts at a smaller scale, before deploying their devices in the sea.

Stuart Brown, Chief Executive of FloWave TT, said: “By bringing the real sea into the lab, developers will be able to test robustness and performance against the exact conditions seen at EMEC, as well as practise deployments. They can also quickly and easily simulate extreme storm events in a calculated and controlled manner. This will allow them to improve their designs before they are deployed, rather than waste valuable time at sea working out the gremlins.”

For EMEC, the new agreement means that developers will have more refined devices to bring to site, allowing its berths to be used more efficiently.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC, said: “At times I’ve wished I could turn off the tides and waves at the full-scale sites and reset things, and this is exactly what developers will be able to do at FloWave, making device development much quicker and easier. This is exactly the sort of facility the UK needs and we are delighted to be playing our part.”

The collaboration will see EMEC sharing ten years of data collected from buoys and other instrumentation deployed at the Orkney wave and tidal test sites. The FloWave team will then work with EMEC engineers and scientists to turn this recorded data into an instruction set, allowing those conditions to be replicated in the test tank.

Terry Hogg, Head of Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Energy Laboratory, said: “In all ways, this collaboration is a win-win for developers, test facilities and the industry as a whole. It supports and extends our own work in building a recognisable pathway to commercialisation of marine renewable energy devices in the UK, and here in Scotland in particular.”

The FloWave test facility comprises a circular 25m pool, able to simulate combinations of waves and currents at up to one-tenth scale for normal, challenging and extreme conditions of coastlines anywhere around the UK and Europe.

The facility is managed by FloWave TT, a non-profit subsidiary of the University of Edinburgh. The facility – funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the University of Edinburgh – is being built at the University’s King’s Buildings campus.