FloWave is built on a rich history of technological progress at the University of Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole. The story of how FloWave got here is one of innovation and collaboration spanning decades.

Scotland’s journey to net-zero

Scotland has been at the heart of renewable energy development for decades. With 97.4% of electricity in Scotland supplied by renewable sources in 2020, we are one of the best countries in Europe for sustainability of energy. Scotland hosts the most powerful tidal turbine in the world, one of the highest wind power outputs per capita and the first ever wave energy converter. This is due to the favourable conditions Scotland harbours for many renewable technologies, with high winds, reliable strong tides and great hydroelectric capacity.

University of Edinburgh

More specifically, Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh have been critical to the world's journey towards renewable energy with the Institute of Energy Systems being central to this. One great example of this that directly links to the founding of FloWave is Stephen Salter and the Edinburgh Duck. In 1974 as a response to the ongoing oil crises at the time, Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh invented “The Edinburgh Duck”, the first true wave energy converter. Since then the university has been at the heart of renewable energy development, particularly wave power, which FloWave directly helps to accelerate and advance.


Flowave is the final step in a long journey of test tank advancement, from the narrow tank and wide tank in the 70s, the first multidirectional wave tank, to the curved tank in 2003, a smaller FloWave-like concept but with only one curved edge (which is still used today for smaller scale projects). Edinburgh had shown it was the heart of wave energy and wave testing. Building on this history of marine energy established at the University of Edinburgh, funding was then granted by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University to build the FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility after significant proof of concept work by Professors Ian Bryden, Robin Wallace and David Ingram. It is the most advanced wave and current tank in the world and the first large circular tank with 360 degree wave and current control. The £12 million facility was completed in August 2013 after 3 years of construction and has been at the forefront of ocean energy research ever since, testing devices from wave, wind, tidal and ocean technology sectors and providing essential ocean research.

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An offshore wind farm with several turbines.
Offshore wind farm
The curved tank, precursor to FloWave
The curved tank, University of Edinburgh
FloWave under construction
FloWave Facility - Under Construction
FloWave facility completed, showing full tank.
FloWave tank