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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 00:06 GMT
Plan for 10m hyperbaric chamber
David Smith
NHC's David Smith said there is worldwide potential
A multi-million pound plan to build the world's largest and "deepest" pressure test chamber has been revealed by Aberdeen's National Hyperbaric Centre.

The project, costing up to 10m, would allow the testing of sub-sea equipment to the equivalent of three miles down.

The centre treats medical and diving emergency patients, carries out studies on topics such as a climate change and tests offshore equipment.

NHC announced the new chamber as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Our work is driven by the opportunities presented from the knowledge created by our experience of the North Sea's harsh environment
David Smith
NHC managing director

The centre offers decompression chamber cover all year round, with a team of diving doctors and hyperbaric intensive care-trained nurses permanently on standby.

Sport and professional divers are treated at the centre, in Aberdeen's Ashgrove Road West, for decompression sickness known as the bends.

The centre has also evolved to offer a wide-range of research opportunities and medical treatments.

Clients have ranged from the Korean Navy to Nato, oil companies, divers and even an ill newborn baby.

NHC said other medical conditions that can be treated by hyperbaric oxygen therapy include carbon monoxide and other gas poisonings, wounds and gangrene.

Divers doing underwater training at National Hyperbaric Centre
The centre offers sub-sea research and help for divers

NHC managing director David Smith said: "There may have been a perception, at one time, that the centre was just a bunch of dusty, rarely-used diving chambers.

"But the NHC is about much, much more than that and we are shrugging off that image now, emerging as a sharp, dynamic commercial entity.

"Our work is driven by the opportunities presented from the knowledge created by our experience of the North Sea's harsh environment. And it is that which is giving rise to potential to export such expertise around the world."

The centre's latest project now involves the plans to build the world's deepest hyperbaric chamber to test sub-sea control equipment at the equivalent of about 5,000m below the surface.

This is aimed at keeping Aberdeen at the forefront of sub-sea technology by providing a facility to attract business from around the world.

Former patients of the centre tell their stories

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