Curator Ellie Swinbank installs the Nova tidal turbine blade at the National Museum of Scotland. Image © Stewart Attwood (3)

Tidal turbine from Shetland goes on display at the National Museum of Scotland

The blade from a pioneering tidal turbine, previously used in the Bluemull Sound in Shetland, has gone on display in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The community owned Nova 30 tidal turbine paved the way for the development of the world’s first offshore tidal farm. It was produced by Nova Innovation who donated the blade to the National Collection.

Press images are available here.

The Nova 30 was the first tidal turbine to be largely funded by the community and created enough renewable energy to power critical infrastructure on Shetland’s Cullivoe Pier, an amount equivalent to powering 30 homes. The bright blue blade is over two meters long and was one of three attached to a huge underwater structure in the Bluemull Sound. 


This prototype was trialed for two years and provided invaluable learning into the design, offshore operations and commercial viability of tidal turbines. In 2016 the turbine was replaced with the world’s first offshore tidal array and began supplying electricity to the national grid. The blade has now gone on display in Energise, on the top floor of the National Museum of Scotland. This gallery explores the sources, generation and distribution of energy in Scotland over the last 200 years.  


Scotland is a key European hub for testing and demonstrating marine power technologies, and as part of the UK is Europe's leading generator of marine power. This rich source of clean, renewable energy is a critical contributor to international efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions.  


Ellie Swinbank, Senior Curator of Technology at National Museums Scotland, said: 


“The turbine blade is a strong example of Scottish engineering and energy, highlighting our position as world-leaders in tidal energy. I am thrilled to see it go on display at the National Museum of Scotland, thanks to the generosity of Nova Innovation. I hope the exhibit helps to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable energy technologies, inspiring the engineers and innovators of the future.” 


Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, said: 

“We are delighted that one of the blades from Nova’s very first tidal turbine is taking pride of place at the National Museum of Scotland. It is an appropriate way to celebrate Scottish innovation and engineering in our efforts to combat climate change.  Our blades have been capturing the clean predictable energy of our tides since 2014, powering homes and businesses across Shetland.” 


Notes to editors

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display. 


Twitter: @NtlMuseumsScot  


Instagram: @NationalMuseumsScotland 


2. Bheireadh Oifis nam Meadhanan eadar-theangachadh Gàidhlig den bhrath-naidheachd seachad do bhuidhinn mheadhanan bharantaichte. Cuiribh fios do dh'Oifis nam Meadhanan airson bruidhinn air cinn-latha freagarrach.