It is called FloWave and is able to mimic any point off the coast of Great Britain
Flowave is a project originally designed for cutting edge academic research into wave and tidal current interactions at the University of Edinburgh. It developed into the FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility, which is also a unique asset for developing and testing marine energy devices.
The heart of FloWave is a 30m circular concrete basin containing the wave and current tank of 25 m (82 ft) in diameter and 5 m (16.4 ft) deep, filled with 2.4 million liters of fresh water. Because the tank is circular and therefore non-directional, waves and currents can act in any combination and in any relative direction across the large central volume.
The simulator –which is officially in operation since summer 2014- can generate fast currents and high waves. The current is generated by 28 submerged flow-drive units which can generate the waves from multiple directions, with maximum current velocities of 1.6 m/sec. The waves crash into each other in the middle and simulate scale version equivalents of waves up to 28 m (92 ft) high.
These characteristics allow testing underwater wind turbines and floating wind platforms, and help in developing efficient wave and tidal energy converters. The simulator reduces the time needed to conduct these tests in open water, as challenging and extreme conditions can easily be simulated and repeated time after time. Although obviously not as reliable as open-water testing, FloWave models (1:6 scale) can help bridge the so-called ‘valley of death’ between small-scale (1:100) test equipment and full scale (1:6) prototypes.