Photo: Blue Abyss

UK getting world’s largest pool for underwater tech testing

Blue Abyss is bringing what is said to be the world’s biggest and deepest pool to Cornwall, UK, for testing the latest underwater technology and advancing subsea robotics.

The £150 million Blue Abyss facility will be an extreme environment research, test, and training center serving the offshore energy, marine, defense, and space sectors.

The centerpiece of the facility will be the aquatic center featuring a 50 by 40 meter stepped pool with a 50-meter deep shaft, which will hold over 42,000 cubic meters of water, the equivalent of 17 Olympic size swimming pools, making it the largest and deepest indoor pool in the world.

The pool’s temperature, lighting and salinity can all be controlled to simulate different conditions, including different currents at varying depths. It is expected to help in the further development of remotely operated subsea robots and mini submersibles.

Blue Abyss is in the process of applying for planning permission at the Aerohub Enterprise Zone. Construction would take approximately 18 months to complete with plans to being open in 2023.

The center is also currently in negotiation with Cornwall Council to acquire four adjacent plots on the Aerohub Business Park, next to Cornwall Airport Newquay.

The 10-acre site would house the pool, astronaut training center, human performance center, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers, microgravity suite, training center with classrooms, workshops, onsite catering and accommodation facilities.

“We’re planning a globally unique facility with a wide range of potential uses that tap into so many of the industries that Cornwall and the South West are known for,” said John Vickers, chief executive of Blue Abyss.

“Blue Abyss will be a huge research asset for aerospace, offshore energy, underwater robotics, human physiology, defense, leisure and marine industries, and a fantastic education center for children and university students.”