The image of the FastBlade facility is worth 4.6 million pounds. Scotland has long been involved in oil and gas production in the North Sea, but in recent years it has also become a hub for companies and projects aimed at tidal energy and marine energy in general.
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The £ 4.6 million ($ 5.64 million) facility, which could test tidal turbine blades in harsh conditions, has been officially opened, and those behind it hope it will accelerate the development of offshore energy technologies and reduce costs.
In a statement late last week, the University of Edinburgh said the site was “the world’s first object to rapidly test tidal turbine blades.”
It adds that the FastBlade facility will use a reaction frame weighing 75 tons, which is capable of applying “powerful forces on turbine blades longer than 50 feet.”
FastBlade is a partnership between the aerospace company Babcock International and the University, supported by a grant from the UK government of 1.8 million pounds. The test center is located in Rosit.
The university said the blade tests would be conducted “using a system of powerful hydraulic cylinders that in less than three months can mimic the loads that occur on structures over two decades at sea.”
Kanchur O Brady, who is the head of the university’s engineering school, said FastBlade would be “the world’s first special installation for tidal turbine blade fatigue testing.”
He went on to say that it would also “help maintain the leading position of Scottish tidal turbine developers in the race to find clean and safe energy sources”.
The University of Edinburgh said the FastBlade technology could also be used to test wing components for aircraft and light bridge sections.
Scotland has long been involved in oil and gas production in the North Sea, but in recent years it has also become a hub for companies and projects aimed at tidal energy and marine energy in general.
These firms include tidal energy firm Nova Innovation and Orbital Marine Power, which is working on what it says is “the most powerful tidal turbine in the world.”
In the waters north of mainland Scotland, the Orkney Archipelago is home to the European Marine Energy Center, or EMEC, where wave and tidal energy developers can test and evaluate their technology on the high seas.
In 2021, Europe’s tidal and wave energy installations increased when the ocean energy sector returned to pre-pandemic levels and investment increased significantly.
In March, Ocean Energy Europe said that 2.2 megawatts of tidal power was installed in Europe last year, compared to 260 kilowatts in 2020. For wave energy, 681 kW was set, which, according to the OEE, was a threefold increase.
Globally in 2021, 1.38 MW of wave energy was included, while tidal power was set at 3.12 MW. Power refers to the maximum number of power plants that can produce, not to what they necessarily produce.
Although the potential of marine energy is admirable, the footprint of tidal flows and waves projects remains very small compared to other renewable energy sources.
In 2021 alone, Europe installed 17.4 gigawatts of wind energy, according to industry branch WindEurope.