The "world’s first" rapid testing facility for tidal turbine blades, which researchers say can speed up development of marine energy technologies while helping to reduce costs, has opened in Scotland.

FastBlade’s pioneering technology will stress test blades made from composite materials – which must withstand harsh ocean conditions for 20 years – more quickly, and using significantly less energy than any other facility of its kind, the team says.

Based in Rosyth, Fife, the £4.6 million facility aims to maintain Scotland’s position at the forefront of tidal energy development.

FastBlade is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and engineering company Babcock International and supported by a £1.8 million grant from the UK Government, via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The facility’s 75-tonne reaction frame is capable of exerting powerful forces on turbine blades more than 50 feet long. Tests on blades are carried out using a system of powerful hydraulic cylinders, which, in less than three months, can simulate the stresses placed on the structures during two decades at sea.

HeraldScotland: The new facilityThe new facility

It replicates the complex forces to which tidal turbines are exposed at sea using unique digital and hydraulic technology systems developed by engineers at the University of Edinburgh.

The facility, funded by EPSRC and the University of Edinburgh, has received support from Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, throughout its development.

Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, head of School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, said: “FastBlade will be the world’s first dedicated fatigue test facility for tidal turbine blades, and will help this emerging industry provide clean, reliable renewable energy at a reasonable cost to consumers.”

Neil Young, engineering director for Babcock, added: "Collaborations like this are fundamental to help us and the wider engineering industry create more research opportunities and secure longer-term investment into digital and data skills – an area that is significantly growing in demand for Babcock and our customers.”

Buyer sought for stricken major Aberdeen development site

A PRIME development site in Aberdeen which went into administration at the end of last year has been brought to the market.

The Countesswells scheme was established to deliver 3,100 homes at a significant new community to the west of Aberdeen, offering good access to the city centre, Westill and Kingswells.

Technology firm creates new jobs in Scotland

​LONDON-headquartered KultraLab is opening a new "product hub" in Edinburgh in a move that will double its workforce with the creation of 25 jobs.

The company, which uses behavioural science and artificial intelligence (AI) to help businesses build better workforces, has received more than £2 million of investment from Scottish investment syndicate Kelvin Capital and Scottish Enterprise to support the new development.

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