Enel Green Power (EGP) and DCNS have been selected by the Chilean government’s economic development organization CORFO (Corporación de Fomento de la Producción) to establish a groundbreaking global centre of Marine Energy R&D excellence in the country, named Marine Energy Research and Innovation Centre (MERIC).
The Centre will be supported by a contribution of approximate 20 million US dollars in cash and in-kind funding, 65% of which will come from CORFO. MERIC’s applied research and development work will focus on key sources of marine renewable energy such as tidal power and wave power.
Salvatore Bernabei, General Manager for Chile and Andean Region at Enel Green Power, said: “Marine energy is one of the most important frontiers in the renewable sector and innovation is key to unlock potential of this renewable energy source. MERIC, thanks to the support of all its Chilean partners, will revolutionize the way we produce energy from the oceans in Chile and at global level.”
Thierry Kalanquin, Senior Vice President Energies & Marine Infrastructure at DCNS, warmly welcomed the announcement: "The country has tremendous potential and can become the global laboratory for Marine Energy on Pacific coast. The creation of MERIC answers that objective and we have the ambition to turn it into an international centre for adaptation and qualification of Marine Energy technologies."
EGP and DCNS will bring their respective strengths to MERIC. EGP is a world leader in the renewable energy sector. It will contribute to MERIC giving the point of view of the end user by highlighting what are the most important factors in the installation, operation and maintenance of marine power plants in order to secure safe, sustainable and profitable projects.
DCNS is involved in marine renewable energy systems with a significant track record as well as technical expertise in Tidal, Wave, Offshore wind and Thermal energy conversions, and brings valuable experience in naval and marine industrial project management and methodology.
In addition, MERIC will be supported by the resources and substantial expertise of the Chilean development organization Fundación Chile, the R&D foundation INRIA Chile, research institutions Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and Universidad Austral de Chile, as well as Enel Group’s subsidiaries Chilectra and Endesa Chile.
During the first 8 year, the Centre will gather researchers to support work related to marine resource assessment, site characterization, bio-fouling, bio-corrosion, environmental and social impact, and technology adaptation to extreme ocean conditions. The experts will also begin developing tools to test and adapt MRE technologies to the country’s unique natural conditions (seismic activity, rugged coastline, a particularly rich and diverse array of marine flora and fauna).
MERIC will implement an innovative, integrated approach to R&D in the sector, which includes the installation of an experimental wave energy converter to serve as a “validation test bench” allowing comparison of theoretical results with real world data.
Press release; Image: DCNS (Illustration)