Storms bring record-breaking waves to Falmouth Bay

January 11, 2016, University of Exeter
Storms bring record-breaking waves to Falmouth Bay
The FaBTest marine energy testing site measured waves 9.3metres high. Credit: Shutterstock

The New Year storms that battered the British coastline brought record-breaking waves to the normally sheltered Falmouth Bay, it has been revealed.

The FaBTest marine testing site, located in the bay, measured 9.3metres high –more than 30ft - during one of the most ferocious periods as Storm Frank passed over the West Country.

The waves, recorded at 6am on December 30th, surpassed the previous largest wave in the bay which was seen on Valentine's Day 2014 and measured 8.75m.

The University of Exeter's Renewable Energy group, who are based at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall and who manage the FaBTest site in conjunction with Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, recorded the monstrous waves during routine monitoring at the site.

Jon Hardwick, an Associate Research Fellow from the Renewable Energy group said: "The large waves measured during the last couple of weeks demonstrate the extreme forces that devices experience out at sea, even when placed in normally sheltered areas such as Falmouth Bay."

Prof Lars Johanning, who leads the Offshore Renewable group added: "'The latest event shows the importance of the Falmouth Bay (FaBTest) facility as a Marine Energy demonstration site, where innovative technologies can be cost-effectively demonstrated in a sheltered bay with good access to shore facilities and relevant sea conditions."

The ground breaking FaBTest project, which is the only wave energy testing device of its kind in England, is a two square kilometre area in Falmouth Bay situated 7.5km from the Dock's entrance.

The lease and consent is managed by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners and the operational support of the site, as well as on-going monitoring and world leading research, is provided by the Renewable Energy Group from the University of Exeter (based at the Penryn Campus), and made possible in part thanks to an investment from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) supported by the Government's Regional Growth Fund.

The FaBTest 'nursery' facility enables up to three devices to be deployed and tested concurrently. Wave energy device developers can test components, concepts or full-scale devices in a moderate wave climate on the Falmouth site. The area, which is leased from Crown Estates, has a Marine Licence for testing device deployments on subject to permits issued by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners.

Explore further: Pioneering research offers new insight into improved wave energy testing

More information: The live wave conditions at the site are available to view online at

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