Waves and rays: resources open for hire

18 Jan 2019

In a giant wave tank resembling an Olympic-size swimming pool, an array of computer-controlled rubber paddles beat up a heavy North Sea storm. A large fan whips up a gale.

Huge waves start to barrel across the surface, testing the durability of an offshore renewable energy device.

A couple of hundred miles to the north, in a darkened room at Loughborough University, a specialised LED system fires blinding pulses of light onto an experimental solar module – with the aim of measuring its efficiency to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. It is one of only a few such facilities in the world. 

The Ocean Wave Basin at the University of Plymouth and the Photovoltaic Measurement and Calibration Laboratory at Loughborough University, to give the full names, are examples of  vital energy research infrastructure that will underpin the UK’s clean growth ambitions  – by validating and testing devices to international standards.

Such facilities also play a role in curating, analysing and making available research data, an example being the UKERC Energy Data Centre (UKRI STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) .


"Our facilties provide a unique and comfortable environment in the centre of Plymouth for researchers undertaking fundamental investigations into offshore renewable energy and for academics teaching the engineers of tomorrow" says Martyn Hann, Lecturer in Coastal Engineering at the University of Plymouth.

Do you research offshore renewable energyt? The facilities are available for use to interested parties. Many of the facilities offer ‘at-cost’ services as part of their public service remit.

All they ask is that you acknowledge them by name in your scientific publications, posters, and seminars and where appropriate, include their staff as co-authors.

Please spread the word! How about advertise them to your private sector contacts? Or international collaborators? Talk about them to policymakers you meet?

Be sure to let us know what you discover!

If you would like to feature your research facilities in future newsletters, please contact UKERC.