MERIC project was initiated by DCNS Energies and Enel Green Power supported by the Chilean Ministry of Energy, through the government’s economic development organization CORFO (Corporación de Fomento de la Producción). MERIC is a ground-breaking global centre of marine energy R&D excellence in Chile, that gathers highly motivated people with great experience to support six research projects related to marine energy, in which the research fields are resource assessment, site characterization, bio-fouling, bio-corrosion, environmental and social impact and technology adaptation to extreme ocean conditions. MERIC experts are developing tools to test and adapt MRE technologies to Chile’s unique natural conditions (seismic activity, rugged coastline, a particularly rich and diverse array of marine flora and fauna).
MERIC primarily aim is to establish a national and international center on marine renewable energy that allows the development of the industry through applied research, technological development and innovation in all of the sciences areas involved in the exploitation of marine energy resources. Particularly, the center aims to further understand the ecosystem dynamics of the coasts along the country for the adaptation of current MRE technologies to the extreme conditions of Chile and its hazards. MERIC is structured as a hub for innovation in marine energy in Chile and at global level.
Concurrently, MERIC examines international experience related to procedures, regulations, and public policies that could be adopted in a Chilean context. Researchers at MERIC are also looking to ensure an appropriate management of social and environmental impacts of marine renewable energy projects, with a focus on community engagement and the development of models and protocols to support the decision making process.
The research activities are carried out at:
- Marine Research Laboratory of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile ECIM (Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas), located in Las Cruces, Valparaíso region;
- laboratory of engineering y biotechnology of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) in Santiago, Metropolitan region;
- department of hydraulics and environment of PUC in San Joaquin, Metropolitan region;
- department of naval engineering of Universiy Austral of Chile (UACh) in Valdivia, Los Rios region;
- mathematical simulation lab of INRIA Chile in Santiago, Metropolitan region and,
in addition, other projects are led by Fundación Chile in Santa Maria, Metropolitan region, for fresh water resources production, and by ENEL GREEN POWER engineering office in Santiago, Metropolitan region for tests at sea and electric connections studies.
MERIC program is 8-year long supported by a contribution of around 17 million US dollars in cash as well as and in-kind funding, 53% of which will come through cash funding from the Chilean government’s economic development organization named CORFO. From 2019 onwards, MERIC is expected to have a consolidated infrastructure and experience which would allow providing knowledge to local and international industry who wish to test MRE technologies in the Chilean marine environment.
From 2019 onwards MERIC is expected to have developed and consolidated infrastructure with experience to provide services to local and international industry wishing to test sustainability and survivability of MRE technologies through Chilean environment.
Currently, the work at MERIC is focused on technical, ecological and socio-economic research in Marine Renewable Energy. The knowledge and data gathered will be used to increase the world knowhow for reducing risks on MRE designs at sea implementation step.