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Estimation of the electric power potential using Pressure Retarded Osmosis in the Leon River's mouth: A first step for the harnessing of saline gradients in Colombia

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4 Author(s)
Alvarez-Silva, O. ; Grupo de Investig. en Oceanogr. e Ing. Costera (OCEANICOS), Univ. Nac. de Colombia, Medellin, Colombia ; Osorio, A. ; Ortega, S. ; Agudelo-Restrepo, P.

One of the fundamental requirements for harnessing osmotic power potential is to find an area where there is a strong salinity gradient in a short geographical distance and that such gradient is approximately constant year-round. This paper presents the results of the study of the spatial and temporal structure of the salinity in the Leon River's mouth, located in the Colombian Caribbean Coast. This study was made using field data and numeric simulation of the hydrodynamics of the river mouth, representing the different climatic seasons that occur in the region. It also takes into account the variability of the macroclimatic forcing due to the different phases of the ENSO -El Niño Southern Oscillation - phenomenon. The results show that the river mouth presents a strong vertical salinity gradient with seasonal variation. However, this variation still permits to have salinity differences of 35PSU between the surface and the 20m deep water during the whole length of the year, regardless of the influence of the ENSO. With these results, the theoretical, technical and ecological generation potential is calculated, assuming the use of the Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) Technology.

Published in:

OCEANS, 2011 IEEE - Spain

Date of Conference:

6-9 June 2011