375 Weil Hall
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Renewable energy in Mexico through salinity gradients presented by Cecilia Enriquez
Harnessable energy is released when two water masses with different salinity concentrations are in contact. In coastal environments, high evaporation rates or freshwater discharge promote salinity gradients while mixing processes act against the gradients. A recent effort to explore salinity gradients as a potential clean energy resource in Mexico gathered a research group from scientific and academic institutions throughout the country with participation of international research groups. The aim is to conduct studies to: (i) evaluate the natural resource throughout the country, (ii) understand the processes controlling the resource, (iii) characterize the environments at selected sites with potential (iv) investigate the existing techniques to obtain energy from salinity gradients and (iv) promote new studies to improve the existing technologies. Mexico has rivers discharging to micro-tidal basins and low-inflow coastal lagoons, some of which develop hypersaline conditions during dry seasons. Theoretical estimates of the available energy in one of these sites through one year measurements, revealed higher potential (2-3 times more) than existing estimates at river mouths in the world.