Test centre for tidal energy planned

Current design concept for the FASTBLADE facility. Credit: University of Edinburgh

A GBP2.4 million (USD3million) engineering research facility, FASTBLADE, located in Scotland, will develop the structures and materials needed for tidal energy, transport and other industries.

The facility will focus on carrying out large-scale testing of tidal blades, simulating real environments and thus limiting the risks for product developers. Tidal blades must be made of composite materials and be able to withstand high fatigue loads in harsh ocean conditions for up to two decades.

The University of Edinburgh’s associated company, Artemis Intelligent Power, has developed the hydraulic technology, which will be used by the engineering researchers. This technology will speed up the testing of the structures and enable developers to learn from test datasets and understand the damage accumulation of the tidal blades.

FASTBLADE is the result of a strategic partnership between the University of Edinburgh and energy and environmental service provider, Babcock.