To comply with Chile’s objective of 100% Renewable Energy by 2050, the development of a portfolio of renewable energy technologies production adapted to Chilean environmental conditions, including marine energies is mandatory. More than 4000 km of Pacific Ocean shoreline with permanent availability of energy coming from wind, waves and tides make Chile an attractive country, not only for its energy potential production, but also as a unique natural laboratory, offering possibilities to study real extreme events’ impacts on systems at sea.
To address this opportunity, in 2015, the companies DCNS from France (today known as Naval Group) and Enel Green Power from Italy, joined to create Energía Marina Co. (EM) in Chile. The same year, Chilean Government authorities made a global call to create the first national Center for Research and Innovation in Marine Energy. This is how MERIC Center (Marine Energy Research and Innovation Center) was created, as a public-private Consortium with two prestigious universities (Pontificia universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Austral de Chile). EM & MERIC Center have the objective to turn Chile into a local and global benchmark for marine energy, accelerating the insertions of these technologies in the country, transforming knowledge into cutting edge technological services, creating business opportunities, as well as the way to adapt existing technologies to the extreme conditions of Chile. Such is the case of the Open Sea Lab project, based on the deployment of the PB3 buoy in Chile, first of its kind in Latin America.
As a Center of Excellence, MERIC is triggering knowledge exchange, gathering in Chile high level researchers in interdisciplinary fields and collaborating at national and at international levels. Its researchers and experts work on corrosion resistance, biofouling comportment, sustainability and survivability, environmental and social impact, together with technology design adaptations.