Open Ocean Home

Our news

Latest updates on Open Ocean's activities and news from the marine energy sector

Real - Life North Sea Conditions to be Recreated in a Scottish Lab

In a bid to help the offshore energy industry to cut down the testing costs of its future projects, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility at The University of Edinburgh have come together to simulate the tides and ocean currents of the North Sea around the Orkney islands.


Based on real-life data gathered over years, scientists have joined forces to develop technologies that can be tested in labs to eliminate the exorbitant research costs, as well as the high risks involved with real-life testing in oceans. This North Sea metocean data has been collected over the years by ‘Waverider’ buoys, radars and acoustic doppler current profilers.

Stuart Brown, CEO of FloWave said "Testing full-scale ocean energy technologies at sea can be an expensive and risky business. The closer you can replicate real ocean conditions in the laboratory, the better you can refine your prototype and validate how it might perform before testing part-scale or full-scale devices at sea. To date, test tanks have only been able to generate waves or tidal flows – but anyone who has been to Orkney will know, Scotland’s oceans are much more complex and usually combine both. At FloWave our unique facility gives us the ability to create both waves and tidal currents at the same time."

Correspondingly, Managing Director of EMEC, Neil Kermode said “At EMEC we have spent a lot of time recording wave and tidal data and are focused on measuring the things that are important to developers.EMEC is purpose-built for sea trials with readymade test facilities, but working offshore can be expensive. That’s why it makes perfect sense to utilize the unique capabilities of FloWave to develop representative EMEC conditions in the test tank. By sharing this data, we will help accelerate learning from lab to sea and back again, and enable the UK to stay at the very forefront of this industry as it continues to mature." 

Offshore wave & tidal and wind technology prototypes can be tested in real-life sea conditions to study their functioning, productivity and sustainability using this cutting edge simulation.