| M. ARİF DEMİRER: “TURKEY'S BRACKISH WATER POTENTIAL MIGHT BE AN ALTERNATIVE RESOURCE”
ORSAM Water Research Programme carried out an interview with Mehmet Arif Demirer, CEO of May-Su Inc. In the interview, the “Ekinambarı” project, in which “Brackish water treatment” technique was used and which also became a TÜBİTAK project, was handled. Mehmet Arif Demirer explained that desalinated brackish water can be used for irrigation, drinking and industrial purposes, and that waste water remaining from treatment could be turned to good account and no waste is left to environment. Stating that brackish water should be turned to account in a better way in Turkey, Demirer indicated that this potential might be an alternative resource for Turkey. M.Arif Demirer told that brackish water can be used for irrigation, drinking and industrial purposes. “Turkey's brackish water potential might be an alternative resource,” Demirer said.
ORSAM: Mr. Demirer, could you please introduce yourself in brief?
Mehmet Arif Demirer: I graduated from Cambridge University in Mechanical Engineering in 1961. I received a master's degree in the same subject in 1964, and I was given the title of professional engineer. The institutions I have worked in, and the projects I have carried out are respectively as follows;
- 1966 - 1972 Mersin Leyland Truck company. The last post; factory manager.
- 1972 - 1974 Contractor of a whole neighborhood composed of 30 dwellings in Saudi Arabia (infrastructure + furniture included). All materials of construction (iron/cement excluded, and furniture included) were exported from Turkey.
- 1975 - 1995 Turkey representative of the truck unit in the Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch company, construction of 55 thousand Steyr trucks in Adapazarı Agricultural Equipment plants, development of new models, coordination of after-sale technical services
- 1996 – 2011, research on membrane water desalination technologies with a family company called ALİNA co. ltd. established in 1986, and importation and marketing of Reverse Osmosis devices in various sizes. Appropriation of Ekinambarı salt (brackish) spring water from General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ) on September 7th 2007. - Appropriation: 400 lt/sec, 12.6 million ton/year
- 2007- 2011 Co-founder and CEO of MAY-SU Inc.
- 2009-2011 Project coordinator of TÜBİTAK Research & Development Project numbered 7090218 on Ekinambarı spring water.
What is "Brackish Water”? Is that a common water resource in our country?
In comparison with sea water, whose total dissolved solids (TDS) is 500 – 20 000 mg/lt, brackish water is less salty water. Brackish water is either extracted from underground by drilling wells and by consuming energy, or as in Ekinambarı example, it is extracted from underground with its own energy.
The known brackish water Resources of Muğla provincial borders are as follows:
-Ekinambarı (Milas) Flow Rate: 4 000 lt/sec, TDS: 8 000 mg/lt, sea-water component
-Savran (Milas) Flow Rate: 4 000 lt/sec, TDS: 12 500 mg/lt, very high-level sulphate content % 35
-Akyaka (Muğla) Flow Rate: 7 000 lt/sec, TDS: 3 000 mg/lt
-Ören (Gökova) Flow Rate: 1 000 lt/sec, TDS: 5 000 mg/lt
All this water can be turned into drinking/domestic/irrigation water by consuming 2 kwhr/ton (ton of product water) at most. Except for investment amortization, total amount of cost-inputs including electricity is at the level of 1 TL/ton. And the investment is approximately 20 krş/ton in 12-month consumption. I believe that General Directorate of DSİ has an inventory work of brackish water across the country. Information on ground water can be learned from the General Directorate.
Can “brackish water” be used? What are the areas of use?
Provided that it is desalinated, brackish water can be used as drinking/domestic/irrigation water. Discharge of waste water obtained after desalination process can pose a problem.
What is your project related to brackish water treatment? Where is it used?
MAY-SU Inc. Project aims at contributing to national economy by desalinating Ekinambarı spring water.
Could you tell us about your cooperation with TÜBİTAK? In addition to this, what are the quality features of brackish water treatment in terms of hardness and ph?
The TÜBİTAK Project numbered 7090218 was a Research & Development Project aiming at determining all technical features of Ekinambarı salt spring water, and also at conducting research on availability of remaining waste water in fish farming. The project began on 1.10.2009, and was submitted to TÜBİTAK on September 30th, 2011.
Let me inform you over the output.
A: Drinking-domestic-irrigation water, of which hardness is 2 degrees (French) and PH-value is 7.5. Its cost is the reflection of 1 TL/product water ton + Investment Financing per ton.
B. The remaining is the one that equals to waste TDS Black sea water (17 000 mg/lt). The PH-value of this water ranges from 8.0 to 8.5. The whole water was used in fish farming.
Thus, ZERO WASTE target was reached at 100 %, the patent application was made, and it was officially registered.
C. In fish farming; pool water, which was polluted with fish droppings and unconsumed fish-feed in organic terms and thus which was discharged into the sea, was cleaned by mussels brought from Black Sea coasts of Bosphorus, and it was used at a minimum level. Thus, both water and energy were saved. Mussels reproduced and baby mussels survived. This situation showed that besides fish farming, mussel farming is also possible in the area.
D. Ekinambarı raw spring water, which flows away, will be homogeneously provided with oxygen (by using oxygen generator), and it will be given to neighbor pools, instead of extracting water from underground.
What are the environmental effects of brackish water treatment? How are the residuals from treatment processed?
The residual waste water of each brackish water might not be used in another sector. For instance, the compound of brackish water extracted from neighboring village Savran contains high-level of sulphate. The sulphate content of residual waste water at the end of desalination process may not let using this water in fish farming.
Besides, as TDS value of Akyaka spring water is at a low level, after desalination of that water, only perch, which is not found in our country, can be farmed with the residual.
While evaluating brackish water, first of all a very detailed chemical analysis should be carried out, and features of both product water and waste water should be carefully detected.
As a result, it can be concluded that Turkey's brackish water potential might be an alternative resource. Therefore, this aforesaid potential deserves to be better assessed.
Could you compare brackish water with sea water? Could you make comparison of their treatments in financial and environmental terms?
Brackish water (in Muğla) is the water, of which TDS values range from 3000 to 12 500 mg/lt. The salinity rates of sea water in our country show changes as follows:
Black Sea: 17 - 18 000 mg/lt, Energy: 2 kwhr/ton on average
Marmara: 24 000 mg/lt, Energy: 2.5 kwhr/ton
Aegean: 26 000 to 38 000 mg/lt, Energy: 2.5 to 3 kwhr/ton
Mediterranean 39 000 mg/lt, Energy: 3 kwhr/ton
Other cost elements (except for investment) are constant.
Ekinambarı spring water: 1 750 ton/day. Reverse Osmosis device: 150 000 Euro + vat
Sea water: 1 750 ton/day Reverse Osmosis device: 500 000 Euro + vat
In general: Even though waste waters remaining as a result of desalination of brackish waters are not assessed in another sector as in the example of Ekinambarı; they could be discharged to sea without problem, as their TDS' would be lower than sea water.
On the other hand, deep see discharge should be made, as TDS of the remaining waste water obtained as a result of desalinization of sea water would be 60 000 mg/lt and higher. And this could be quite expensive.
Do you have some other projects?
In case obstacles we have faced on commercialization of Ekinambarı spring water are overcome, our next project is the assessment of domestic wastes (garbage) by decomposing in Bodrum Peninsula. Especially organic wastes of restaurants and hotels can very easily be turned into organic fertilizer. The research was conducted.
In addition to this, we also have a big project of olive grove irrigation with product water. This project will be handled with Bornova Olive Production Research Institute
Thank you for your time.
* This interview was carried out by ORSAM Water Research Programme Specialist Dr. Tuğba Evrim Maden, in ORSAM Ankara, on January 9th 2012.