As Europe rushes to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, various forms of renewable energy, such as wind, solar and nuclear power, are touted as solutions to achieve energy self-sufficiency and reduce skyrocketing bills. But UK universities are leading the transition, setting up the world’s first test facilities that will one day study turbines that can be used to harness tidal and wave energy. Babcock International, University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, Fife College, Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland have joined forces to develop the Arroll Gibb Innovation Campus (AGIC).
The £4.6m facility in Rosyth in Fife was officially opened by Scottish Minister Malcolm Offord on Friday.
By providing access to the latest industrial technologies and technologies, industrial and office space, innovation advice and technological developments, it aims to serve a variety of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the maritime, nuclear and energy transition sectors.
In an interview with Express.co.uk, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Head of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, described the potential of one of the first modules being developed on campus.
He said: “There are 3-5 different modules on the campus we are going to develop.
“The first thing we are developing is a test facility called FastBlade, which will be the world’s first dedicated structural fatigue testing facility for tidal turbine blades.
“The technological readiness of the tidal energy sector has improved tremendously over the past few years and now we have some commercial partners, such as orbital offshore power generation.
“All of these companies have megawatt-scale turbines that are ready for commercialization.”
Ó Brádaigh believes that the turbine his team is developing could be four times more efficient than the current turbine being tested for tidal and wave energy.
Read more: Energy crisis lifeline as experts break through hydrogen
If you know the tides for 6 months, you can predict them forever.
“This is a huge benefit of wind energy for utilities because it allows us to accurately predict when the tidal energy will be generated.”
Professor Ó Brádaigh also said that continental Europe’s coastlines have tremendous potential to harness tidal energy, which could end the EU’s dependence on Russia.
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