Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Rodolfo Silva-Casarín CEMIE Océano


Main R&D activities conducted by CEMIE-Océano:

The Wave Group has been working on the development and laboratory testing of five wave energy converters; the installation of equipment in a Natural Laboratory in Bahía de Todos Santos is continuing; the evaluation of wave power availability in Mexican waters; a database is under construction, with in situ data and numerical model; a Blow-Jet and a floating mono-buoy WEC devices have been numerically tested; a 3D wave tank has been designed and the buildings completed, and; a series of projects “Physical Modelling in Large Infrastructure” were approved in a collaboration with institutions from Spain, Germany, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic.

The Tidal and Current Group has been carrying out numerical modelling evaluations of tidal and ocean current energy, thus identifying two regions where harvesting this type of energy is feasible: the northern Gulf of California, and the northern Mexican Caribbean. There are also seasonal maxima at other sites which could be harnessed in the Pacific (Baja California), and associated with the Campeche Bank cyclonic gyre. Measurements are needed to verify this in other regions of the country. Technical challenges have arisen since some of the most attractive sites in the Caribbean (strong, persistent and unidirectional currents) are where slopes are abrupt, or depths are large, despite its closeness to the shore. 

The Salinity Gradients Group is working on the electricity conversion by the RED technique (open and closed systems, both using Excellion membranes). The development of prototypes to obtain energy from salinity gradients is being promoted, exploring the use of new materials in the design and generation of membranes. Temporal and spatial variations of the naturally occurring salinity gradients hypersaline coastal lagoons and river mouths in Mexico are being intensively quantified.

The Ecology Group has been working on the following: a diagnosis of potential ocean power generation zones, based on the geomorphological characteristics of the coast; generation of information on the structure, composition and functioning of coastal and marine ecosystems and species, to determine the potential socio-environmental impact of the installation of new energy generating devices; inventories of flora and fauna at the potential sites of ocean power generation, and; where the sites mentioned have very important environmental assets, including fragile ecosystems such as coral reefs and endangered species (vaquita and totoaba), an evaluation of the environmental consequences of harvesting this energy is urgent. 

The Materials Group has been developing a new set of superhydrophobic and nanostructured ceramic and polymeric coatings for steel, as well as a nitriding process, which have proven to be successfully anti-corrosive. A new current energy device has been designed especially suited to the conditions of Mexican waters. The production of polymer matrix composite blades is underway and a magnetohydrodynamic energy generator prototype has been built and tested; from the evaluation of this, a larger prototype is now under construction. 

The Grid Interconnection and Energy Storage Group has worked in three main areas: I) Evaluation of theoretical and physical models of different ocean energy devices, which established the tensions required for the different ocean energy sources for its management or interconnection for a) high voltage offshore wind, b) medium voltage OTEC, tides and waves; c) low voltage salt gradient, waves; and d) micro-networks all ocean energies, including on-site storage and consumption systems for specific services such as lighting or cathodic protection;    II) Establishment of the battery storage limits for each of the above groups, some of which include the design of the marine device.

As a result of the investigations we have a technology to focus wave energy in specific points (TLR 4); an energy-independent WEC, for cathodic protection (TLR 6); an energy-independent WEC for lighting (TLR 6); an energy-independent WEC of 0.5 kW (TLR 6); an energy generator with marine algae biomass (TLR8); and development of super-hydro-phobic and super-hydrophilic coatings technology (TLR 3).