Memorial University said Tuesday it will establish a new Harsh Environment Research Facility (HERF) in St. John’s to strengthen the region’s infrastructure and expertise in technologies operating in harsh environments.
The research will benefit the ocean, energy, shipping and aerospace sectors, the university said.
A news release states the provincial government will contribute $2.4 million and the federal government — through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency — will provide $2.7 million. As well, Husky Energy is investing $1 million.
“At Memorial, we take pride in creating exciting teaching and learning environments for students and researchers alike, while simultaneously achieving an important goal of having a positive, practical impact on industry,” MUN president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski said.
“This includes better ways to operate in harsh offshore environments.”
The release states the HERF will be a world-class research and development facility for large-scale testing, research and development that is vital to the Canadian economy and environment.
It will include a multi-purpose facility to simulate harsh conditions with icebergs and sea ice, high winds, waves, sea water spray, fog, and other harsh climatic conditions such as freezing rain storms. The facility will have strategic importance to industrial research locally, nationally and globally with its capacity to simulate both fresh and salt-water conditions, which will be unique in the world.
Trevor Pritchard, senior vice-president Atlantic, Husky Energy, said Husky’s top priority is to reduce risk to workers and the environment.
“Having access to the Harsh Environment Research Facility and being able to collaborate with experts in the field will give us more opportunities to test systems and structures in conditions specific to our region,” Pritchard said. “Consistent with our commitment to continual improvement, the more we learn about the environment in which we operate, the better we can optimize our logistics and asset deployment, providing for more timely and effective interventions.”
Memorial University will work with other post-secondary institutions and industry partners to address engineering challenges in three core areas – icing of marine vessels and other structures such as overhead power lines, aircraft and wind turbines; ice-structure interactions including ice management and safety and; advanced material coatings and engineered surfaces.