HR Wallingford’s Fast Flow Facility Wraps Up a Busy First Year

UK-based specialist engineering consultancy HR Wallingford today marked one year from the official opening of their Fast Flow Facility, a 75-meter-long flume designed to simulate the interaction of waves, currents and sediments at large scale and in more detail than was previously possible.

Since its official opening on 30 October 2014, the Fast Flow Facility has been involved in several commercial and research projects, including work carried out for Norfolk Marine and MeyGen on offshore wind and tidal energy developments in UK waters, as well as for Danish energy provider, DONG Energy, on an offshore wind development planned for European waters.

HR Wallingford helped Norfolk Marine in assessing the viability of their tyre-filled nets as a remedial measure for seabed scour at offshore foundations by simulating the strong tidal flows and challenging storm waves typically experienced at wind farm sites around the UK.

Speaking of the future plans, Richard Whitehouse, the leader of the team of engineers and scientists at HR Wallingford responsible for the Fast Flow Facility, said: “We are in discussion with a number of commercial clients about projects, both in the marine renewable and oil and gas sectors. The Fast Flow Facility is also an important research tool. During 2016 we will be collaborating with partners on a major European research projects that will exploit the full capabilities of the facility.”

This includes a collaboration with University College London on URBAN WAVES to investigate the resilience of coastal defences and urban environments against tsunamis. As part of the project, HR Wallingford is developing a tsunami simulator that, once installed in the Fast Flow Facility in early 2016, will be the largest tsunami simulator in Europe.

As part of the EUR 10 million EU-funded HYDRALAB+ project, HR Wallingford will also work with scientists and engineers from around Europe on research that will use the Fast Flow Facility to examine the impact of climate change at the coast.

Image: HR Wallingford