Annual Report 2017
Country Reports


Rodolfo Silva-Casarín, Juan Carlos Alcérreca Huerta AND Elizabeth Rodríguez Aguirre Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


Through CEMIE-Oceano:

  1. The Salinity Gradients Group has been working in two main directions: a) investigating natural salinity gradient resources in the Mexican Pacific and Atlantic; and b) experimenting with the acquisition of energy from salinity gradients. Both research areas are new in Mexico and efforts have been directed towards investigating these fields elsewhere. The team has begun a) to characterize salinity gradients around Mexico: three coastal sites will be monitored in order to quantify temporal variations of the gradients and their energy potentials, and b) to test existing membranes, materials and prototype configurations. Using the method of Reverse Electro Dialysis (RED), the best cost-energy ratio (production-life) of these components is being determined.
  2. The Tidal and Current Group has been gathering existing information on bathymetry and currents for two test sites. For the Cozumel region, coastal bathymetric data is already available, and field campaigns are being organized to gather multibeam information for the Cozumel Channel. Acoustic current profiler data for a deep mooring (400 m) and a shallow mooring (15 m) from existing projects is also available. The assessments of these data show that the coastal current is too weak and too variable to be a viable energy source. The proximity of fragile ecosystems (coral reefs) also precludes the use of this energy source here. The deep water currents are a much better option, with unidirectional currents of more than 1 m/s 62% of the time. However, connection to the energy network is difficult at such depths. Field measurements of currents and ambient turbulence at 50 m and 75 m depths are planned, much closer to shore but deep enough to find stronger currents. For the Gulf of California field campaigns will be carried out. Instrumentation has been tested and the teams are ready to start the deployments. There are also advancements in materials for biofouling and on the development of new prototypes. Numerical modelling of ocean currents at national scale is being performed to assess this resource in areas previously overlooked.
  3. The Ecology Group has been working on the regional effects on the distribution and abundance of marine mammals following installation of alternative marine energy plants, lifecycle databases, the determination of regional effects of the installation of oceanic energy plants on key species and coastal ecosystems, detailed geological-geomorphological assessment of potentially suitable sites for the location of coastal power plants in Veracruz, the selection of potential installation sites to minimize the effects on the distribution and biodiversity of coastal species and the evaluation of the relationship of the sea with the bioclimate and with energy consumption in Mexico.
  4. The Wave Energy Group is verifying the operation of two WECs for possible installation in the Mexican Pacific. The design and operational conditions of these WECs have already been characterized for the whole country and possible ways for the integration of these devices to the electrical network are being investigated.