A "WORLD CLASS" engineering centre is to be built at Rosyth Dockyard at a cost of £2.4 million.

The Fastblade facility will be the first of its kind to carry out large-scale accelerated testing of tidal blades but there's scope to test materials for plane components and bridge sections too.

That will add to the "international appeal" of the state-of-the-art centre, which is being developed by Babcock International and the University of Edinburgh.

Neil Young, a technology director at Babcock, said: “For us, this really is a great industrial partnership.

"Our engineers, working alongside the university’s renowned academics, have shown what the art of the possible is, in engineering and in working together.

"Whilst we are still at the early stages of development, we are creating something that will have real benefits for all the companies using the facility in years to come."

Fastblade will test new materials within full-scale structures and use complex forces to simulate real environments, limiting the risks for product developers.

It aims to speed up the development of materials and structures for a variety of industries, including the marine, transport, nuclear and aerospace sectors.

Engineering researchers will use hydraulic technology that enables structures to be tested significantly faster and using less energy.

Pioneering measurement systems will also enable them to understand damage accumulation and optimise blade structures through data-driven design.

Mr Young said: "When the university approached Babcock, they were looking for specialist facilities and engineering design expertise to help get the project from research application to reality.

"At Rosyth, we had both these key requirements, which were not available anywhere else in a single location."

Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, head of the School of Engineering at the university, said: “This collaboration is an opportunity to develop a world class engineering facility to accelerate and support the development of new efficient technologies, and will be a great benefit to the tidal energy sector.”

Fastblade is part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, which includes targets to help improve digital skills across the whole of the region.

Funding has been received in part from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the University of Edinburgh.

Babcock is the principal designer and host of the facility. They also have industrial partnerships with the universities of Cranfield and Strathclyde, for through-life engineering, advanced manufacturing, composites and technology.