Energy yield assessment from ocean currents in the insular shelf of Cozumel Island

Alcérreca-Huerta, Juan Carlos and Encarnacion, Job Immanuel and Ordoñez-Sánchez, Stephanie and Callejas-Jiménez, Mariana and Gallegos Diez Barroso, Gabriel and Allmark, Matthew and Mariño-Tapia, Ismael and Silva Casarín, Rodolfo and O'Doherty, Tim and Johnstone, Cameron and Carrillo, Laura (2019) Energy yield assessment from ocean currents in the insular shelf of Cozumel Island. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 7 (5). 147. ISSN 2077-1312

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    Abstract

    Marine renewables represent a promising and innovative alternative source for satisfying the energy demands of growing populations while reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. Most technological advancements and energy yield assessments have been focused on promoting the use of kinetic energy from tidal streams with flow velocities higher than 2.0 m s−1. However, slower-moving flows from ocean currents are recently explored due to their nearly continuous and unidirectional seasonal flows. In this paper, the potential of the Yucatan Current is analysed at nearshore sites over the insular shelf of Cozumel Island in the Mexican Caribbean. Field measurements were undertaken using a vessel-mounted ADCP to analyse the spatial distribution of flow velocities, along with CTD profiles as well as data gathering of bathymetry and water elevations. Northward directed flow velocities were identified, with increasing velocities just before the end of the strait of the Cozumel Channel, where average velocities in the region of 0.88 to 1.04 m s 11 −1 were recorded. An estimation of power delivery using horizontal axis turbines was undertaken with Blade Element Momentum theory. It was estimated that nearly 3.2 MW could be supplied to Cozumel Island, amounting to about 10% of its electricity consumption.