The Rt. Hon. the Lord Heseltine CH will be amongst the first to see some of the world’s most sophisticated marine modelling facilities in operation today when he officially opens HR Wallingford’s UK Ship Simulation Centre and the Fast Flow Facility at Howbery Business Park in Oxfordshire.
Developments in the ocean can be high risk; fast moving deep water, powerful waves and the ever shifting seabed present significant technical challenges. These new facilities will be used by HR Wallingford to simulate the conditions in coastal and offshore waters, allowing them to to assess and improve the way structures perform in the complex marine environment before they are built for real.
Professor Richard Whitehouse, Technical Director of the Fast Flow Facility, said: “What makes the Fast Flow Facility unique is the way we can simulate sediment movement, big waves and fast tidal currents at the same time. No one else can do this, certainly not at such a large scale.
“We can now look at the way waves and currents move sediment on the seabed in deep water at a large scale, and understand what this means for fixed or floating structures such as marine terminals, offshore wind turbines, wave and tidal energy devices, telecommunication and power cables and pipelines. Modelling large structures and arrays without compromising on scale will help us to reduce uncertainty, optimize designs and more effectively minimize project risks for our clients during the very early stages of a project.”
The Fast Flow Facility is the most recent extension to HR Wallingford’s extensive physical modelling facilities. The 75 m long, 8 m wide dual-channel flume can hold a million liters of water, generate 1 m high waves and produce fast tidal currents to simulate the way waves, tides, sediments and structures interact.