"Kaafikim baNegev" - Overview of a National Water Alternative .

The "Fossil Water" Co. By: Chaim Scheff (IPRxxx@Gmail.Com) 14.04.2009 12:34
"Kaafikim baNegev" - Overview of a National Water Alternative .


The sealed "Nubian Sandstone" (NS) aquifer system exists 1-5 Km under the Sinai Peninsula and the Negev. Estimates by the Israel Geological Survey and by the Ben Gurion University Institute for Desert Research suggest that this aquifer contains from Two Hundred Billion (10**9) to "Several Hundred Billion" cubic meters of water. By virtue of wildcat oil drilling in Israel, there are some 50 wells that have penetrated into this aquifer. Most of these wells are in the Arad-Demona corridor, while a few are scattered from Yodvata to Beer-Sheva.




"Kaafikim baNegev"

- The "Fossil Water" Co. By: Chaim Scheff (IPRxxx@Gmail.Com)

Overview of a National Water Alternative


"Increasing the academic staff in the sphere of water, will also enable the expansion of research on subjects in which the existing know-how is insufficient, such as reducing the price of existing technologies for seawater desalination, and the development of new desalination technologies; the hydrology of natural resources, and their management; sewage treatment and its reclamation; and the viability of utilizing the fossil water, which is to be found in the Negev in unlimited quantities."[From: The Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on the Israeli Water Sector - Headed by MK David Magen – REPORT - Jerusalem, June 2002]

"Studies by myself (Prof. Arie Issar - BGU) and colleagues between 1973 and today have shown that a few hundred million cubic meters per year may be pumped out from the Judean Limestone and Nubian Sandstone aquifers underlying the Negev and Sinai. This pumping is guaranteed for at least the coming two centuries. The actual quantity and duration would be a function of the management policies and various economic factors."[From: "Water turning the wheels of history in the Middle East (Mining Fossil Water)" April, 2006 - http://www.gavaghancommunications.com/middleeastwater.html ]


The "Kaafikim baNegev" Technology Concept


The sealed "Nubian Sandstone" (NS) aquifer system exists 1-5 Km under the Sinai Peninsula and the Negev. Estimates by the Israel Geological Survey and by the Ben Gurion University Institute for Desert Research suggest that this aquifer contains from Two Hundred Billion (10**9) to "Several Hundred Billion" cubic meters of water. By virtue of wildcat oil drilling in Israel, there are some 50 wells that have penetrated into this aquifer. Most of these wells are in the Arad-Demona corridor, while a few are scattered from Yodvata to Beer-Sheva.


Urban Drinking Water preferably has a maximum salinity of about 50 ppm CL- (even if the WHO max is 250 ppm). The Dead Sea has a salinity exceeding 250,000 ppm. Eastern Mediterranean water has a salinity of about 40,000 ppm. The NS aquifer water has a salinity of 500-5,000 ppm - a broad variance which suggests that the some wells (in this geographically massive aquifer system) are bringing up water that has passed through local salt deposits.


At this stage, it appears that desalinating the lower-salt NS water will be considerably cheaper than desalinating the higher-salt Mediterranean water, presuming

that the same desalinization method is used. However, pumping the desalinated NS

water (from the Arad-Demona corridor) across to users (from Beer-Sheva to Rehovot)

will be considerably more expensive.


Now, if we can substantially lower the desalinization costs, specifically for the Nubian Sandstone (NS) water, then this water source will become a viable resource; even inclusive of the higher trans-Negev pumping costs.


Here are Twelve Economic Advantages for processing NS water:


Let's consider using best available Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology for the NS water. Let's also presume that our NS sources are in the Arad-Demona corridor and have 2,000 ppm Cl-. At this salinity, one can consider 65% recovery reasonable, meaning that 35% of the water must be discharged with higher salinity. However, this "salty" discharge water is essentially now a "light" sea water – which lends itself to (

Advantage 1) a new industry – Desert Aquaculture – the profitable growing of sea
weed and of sea fish! Given the remaining elevation drop to the Dead Sea, one can envision, in addition, a chain of aquaculture pools & lakes running down (through stratified ecologically-managed wadis) to eventual discharge of aquaculture waste water close to the Dead Sea – via unique (

Advantage 2) tourist-attraction artificial mangrove forests & salt-marshes (lush semi-tropical ecosystems typical of ocean-side estuaries). Inherently, this also means that there is (Advantage 3) no discharge pumping costs from the RO facility.

We must note that the NS water emerges pressurized from underground, so here the RO facility-typical (

Advantage 4) sea water supply pumping cost is free. Furthermore, the NS water (unlike sea water) is totally free of organic material, thereby requiring (Advantage 5) no front end filtering. Also, we note that the NS water temperature at the well-head is from 40-100*C, so there is a large heat recovery potential here, which can be fed-back into the appropriate stage of the RO facility; thereby substantially (Advantage 6) lowering desalinization energy costs.

Returning to the NS water well-head, this water contains many valuable byproducts which can be extracted prior to the RO desalinization. Because there is a large drop in pressure (between deep underground and atmosphere) dissolved gasses (methane, helium, etc.) in the water instantly bubble out and thus these (

Advantage 7) gasses can be recovered for sale. Again because there is a large drop in pressure (between deep underground and atmosphere) substantial quantities of dissolved minerals in the water instantly precipitate out, and can be recovered for industrial use (ceramic glaze, sintered metallurgy, paint pigment, cosmetics, drilling mud, grinding & polishing compounds, etc.), and likewise these (Advantage 8) ultra-fine particulate byproducts are saleable.

Furthermore, it is well understood (in electrochemistry) that each atomic metal will electroplate out of solution at a respective predetermined voltage. Accordingly, trace amounts of any toxic or independently valuable metals (in the NS water) may be electroplated out – and since each of these metals is separately removed, these (

Advantage 9) metallic harvests can be sold. Harvesting of trace quantity metallics from industrial sewage (e.g. Gold in Silicon Valley sewage or Silver from Dental Clinic waste water) has already proved independently profitable and likewise environmentally appreciated. Profitability of the metallic harvests substantially increases when the metal specific electroplating is directly onto industrial products rather than for the interim accumulation of bulk metal. [Please note that there is no precise data regarding the spectral signature of the NS water.] Nevertheless, use of metal specific electrochemical harvesting will considerably ( Advantage 10) improve the RO efficiency (beyond the 65% presumption), since the RO output water can then come all the way up to the 50 ppm Cl- level without exceeding toxic metal thresholds.

It is well known, in the electric power industry, that there are substantial electricity losses during transmission. These losses are directly proportional to the distance between the electric generator and the consumer. Given that the NS water processing will be in the Arad/Dimona corridor (almost next to the Dimona electric supply facility), we can expect to pay (

Advantage 11) lower per-KW electric prices. Furthermore, in the developed world, a commercial quantity energy customer who is willing to accept an interruptible energy supply will also be given a substantially lower per-KW electric price. This is because the electric company produces most electricity using large efficient production plants, but is forced to add small costly generators to meet peak load demands. Since the NS facility can power down, using well-known cogeneration methods (from the latent heat of the NS well-head water), the NS facility should be granted the lower per-KW interruptible-electric consumer rate too. Furthermore, the process interruptible character of the NS facility means that it is specifically designed to shut down as necessary; on demand (by the electric company or by Mekorot), for maintenance, for Shabat, etc.

Finally, the literature extensively discusses programs for using economics in the service of proper water management. So, just as there are tax incentives for industries to move to development areas, likewise, here it is appropriate to give (

Advantage 12) preferential water rates to water intensive industries that will relocate proximate to the NS water processing facilities and/or accept industrial quality water from it; particularly since they have minimal-distance pumping costs. Furthermore, it seems environmentally much more sensible to discharge industrial waste into the Dead Sea rather than into ground water or into the Mediterranean; so water pollution-intensive industries should be taxably targeted to migrate to the Dead Sea, particularly since their effluent processing costs will be radically reduced thereby. The societal advantage and economic benefit of saving ground water & costal water from toxic industrial contamination is immeasurable.

Accordingly, desalinization of the Nubian Sandstone water should be economically advantageous over similar domestic Sea water processing – because of: Lower Costs for discharge, supply, & energy within a Reverse Osmosis facility, and for local energy delivery; New Found Profits from spin-off aquaculture, mangrove tourism, gas recovery, mineral recovery, and industrial process goods; and Societal Benefits of environmentally sensible economic incentives. This should overcome higher desalinated NS water delivery costs to distant consumers in Rehovot and beyond!

 

"Kaafikim baNegev" – a National-Scale Infrastructure Project - will need broad political support to get reasonable contract terms for the NS water rights, for Mekorot to accept delivery (near Arad/Dimona) of fresh sweet NS water and of nominal-salt industrial/agricultural NS water, and for the creation of a new ecologically-managed tropical treasure-land.


[Special thanks to BGU Prof. Arie Issar for providing numerous NS related reprints.]

 

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