International interest in sophisticated research centre
THE world is already beating a path to the door of Plymouth's new Marine Building.
"We are very pleased with the take-up," Adam Corney (pictured right), marine commercial director at Plymouth University, said.
"We have done several commercial experiments already and we have got inquiries come in from all over the world."
He said that on Monday alone he had dealt with inquiries from Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, the United States and Australia.
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Earlier this year 40South Energy Ltd, a British-Italian wave energy company, became the first international client to invest in Plymouth's burgeoning marine renewables sector.
Mr Corney said: "We think it's the only tank in the world which can model waves and currents at the same time, and with the currents at any angle.
"It allows us to create all sorts of realistic sea conditions."
The tank can be used to test marine energy devices like the new Pelamis offshore wave energy device.
Developers of devices can constantly tweak and test the efficiency of their machines, something they could not do in the sea itself.
The main 'ocean basin' tank is 35 metres by 15 metres by three metres deep.
It can generate a one-metre wave, which means a wave that measures two metres from trough to crest.
A coastal basin tank, 10 metres by 15 metres by one metre deep, can take sediment or sand, allowing it to be used to model coastal erosion.
The third tank, a sediment wave flume, is 35 metres long by two metres, by a metre deep. It is used for testing "coastal armour" – the effect of waves on sea walls and other coastal protection.
The building also contains a world-class ship bridge simulator, with simulations of the world's major harbours.
"We are the only organisation in the world that is able to create new locations for the simulator," Mr Corney said.
Speaking during the opening ceremonies yesterday, he said: "These are exciting times to be involved in the marine industries in the South West, and particularly in Plymouth."