Ever wondered how engineers check if their designs—from ships to wind turbines—will fair against an aggressive ocean? With something like this new facility at the University of Maine, which uses 32 fans and 16 paddles to simulate the most fierce of marine conditions.

The new rig, which is being formally opened today at the school’s W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory, will be able to mimic the effects of waves over 100 feet tall and winds of more than 200 mph. Built at 1:50 scale, the $13.8 million set-up includes the 100-foot pool that you can see in these images.

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The facility will be used to test everything from tidal power set-ups and wind turbine foundations, to boats, ports and bridges.

[PhysOrg]

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All images by AP