Date Recorded: February 25, 2020
Major advances in technology offer unprecedented opportunities to bring the world together. However, recent mass migrations due to violence, lack of economic opportunity, and war have left many countries unprepared, and raised geopolitical tensions that led to man-made border dividers. About one-third of the countries around the world have built some type of border fence; physical barriers also generate internal disagreement in many countries and exacerbate the rhetoric of “us” versus “them”. Moreover, such issues call for alternatives that generate partisan-free, sustainable solutions capable of addressing the pressing socio-economic challenges of the border along the Southwest states and of Central America. In this seminar, we detail the rationale for leveraging natural resources to produce renewable energy and water to create an economic corridor along the USA/Mexico border (see figure 1) that will stimulate the economy and develop infrastructure that mitigates migration while also offering border protection. Moreover, a common worldwide atmospheric phenomenon characterized by a relatively low-tropospheric maximum in the vertical profile of the horizontal winds, known as low-level jet (LLJ), may offer unexplored benefits to wind energy, specifically in Texas and New Mexico. Despite that this phenomenon may be used to increase the capacity factor of wind farms, the intrinsic processes modulating the interaction between LLJs and wind farms remain obscure; these include the role of the positive and negative mean shear around the velocity peak. By producing a synthetic LLJ under well-controlled laboratory conditions, we show that this phenomenon may enhance energy entrainment in the wake of wind turbines and bring unique energy production in states along the USA/Mexico border.