Harsh Environment Research Facility

Lay Summary 

The Harsh Environment Research Facility (HERF) will support leading-edge research and further position Memorial as a global leader in technology development for the blue economy. HERF will have the capability of providing realistic large-scale data leading to innovative breakthroughs in the design and operation of marine, offshore structures and wind turbines in harsh weather conditions. It will allow the team to address the challenges and impacts of environmental hazards of freezing precipitation and marine icing conditions.


The new facility will strengthen Atlantic Canada’s infrastructure and expertise in technologies operating in harsh environments, such as the ocean, energy, shipping and aerospace sectors. The HERF will be a new world-class R&D facility for large-scale testing, research and development that is vital to the Canadian economy and environment. It will include a multi-purpose testing facility to simulate harsh ocean 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.


Improving the understanding of ice-structure interactions on marine vessels will also help engineers improve the safety and response methods to accidental offshore spills in harsh ocean conditions.HERF is also expected to include testing facilities to reduce future financial losses of ice-related damage, such as electrical equipment breakdown and power outages, as well as improve offshore safety through a reduction in marine and shipping accidents.


Memorial will work with other post-secondary institutions across Canada 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.


This project is led by Dr. Yuri Muzychka, professor, alumnus and head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Together with further funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Memorial, the total project investment is more than $16 million.


More information about this project can be found here and here


Adapted from https://gazette.mun.ca/research/innovative-breakthroughs and https://gazette.mun.ca/research/understanding-ice-wind-and-waves/

Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
Government Of Newfoundland And Labrador
Husky Energy Inc.
Memorial University
Canada Foundation For Innovation
Newfoundland and Labrador
Cold Ocean and Arctic, Science, Technology and Society
Start date 
27 Aug 2019
Lead Organization 
Memorial University of Newfoundland
York University
Concordia University
National Research Council Canada
Partner Organization 
Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering
Centre for Arctic Resource Development