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Med-Dead Seas Project
A hydro electric power generating syphon pipe[s] or canal from Mediterranean Sea to Dead Sea

Calculation of electricity to be generated, if just replacing what evaporates

This is

by Julian H. Stacey

Introduction 2022-12-13 I saw yet another documentary of how the Dead Sea on Israel/ Jordan border is still falling at one metre per year; & again wondered if anyone yet had costed out how much hydro electric power could be generated by a canal or syphon pipe from the Mediterranean ?
Best cut the Palestinians & Jordanians in too on the investment, building & maintenance work & profits.

Facts so far:

  • en . wikipedia . org / wiki / Dead_Sea
    • 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level
    • 50 km long & 15 km wide at widest point
    • "main, northern basin is 50 kilometres (31mi) long and 15 kilometres (9mi) wide at its widest poin" (50 x 15 = 750, less allowing for non rectangular, narrower at ends)
      "its surface area today is 605 km2 (234 sq mi), having been 1,050 km2 (410 sq mi) in 1930
      Question: is the 605 km2 just the main northern basin, or including the southern basin ? The Southern Basin seems to be about 50% of the Northern. Could that then be about 900 km2 ?
      Searching finds: www . saltworkconsultants . com / dead - sea - middle - east /
      "The Dead Sea water surface defines what is the deepest continental position (-420 m asl) on the earth's current terrestrial surface. It is our only modern example where bedded evaporitic sediments are accumulating on the floor of a deep brine body, where water depths are measured in hundreds of meters. Overall, this salt-encrusted depression is 80 km long and 20 km wide, has an area of 810 km2, is covered by a brine volume of 147 km3 and occupies the lowest part of a drainage basin with a catchment area of 40,650 km3.

      However, falling water levels in the past few decades mean the permanent water mass now only occupies the northern part of the lake, while saline anthropogenic pans occupy the southern basin so that the current perennial "Sea" is now only some 50 km long.
    • volume per year evaporating: = 605,000,000 cubic metre
    • A canal/pipe will need some gradient to flow - Guess a 30 metres drop ? (Later calculate the gradient & drop).
      One can't build turbines right down on the edge of the dead Sea, where shallow land is unstable with sink holes (+ the Dead Sea may rise not sink with this project!), so allow some loss of height for shallow run off after last turbine, & allow some extra height loss for intermediate pools, so allow 50 meters ? So drop for turbines is 350 metres.
    • volume per year x density x drop height = energy per year.
      Sea water is a bit heaver/ denser than pure water, but approx the same.
      1 cubic metre 1,000 decilitre, each decilitre is 1 kg.
      Assume gravity is 10 Newtons per Kg (its actually 9.8)
      1 year = 365 x 24 x 60 x 60 = 8,760 hours = 31,536,000 seconds
      1 newton metre = 1 joule
      1 joule / sec = 1 watt
      605,000,000 x 1,000 x 10 x 350 Nm / 31,536,000 secs =
      605,000,000 x 10 x 350 Nm / 31,536 secs =
      67,145,484 Watts
      ( 67 Mw is quite small, eg Hungary is planning 2 x 1,200 MW nuclear reactors. ) 67 Megawatt x 8,760 hours = 588,194 Mega-Watt hours
      x 50 US $ per megawatt hour ? = 29.4 million dollars per year.
      I invite checking of figures
    • LATER to search: generators are not 100% efficient, but largely so, no allowance deducted for that.
    • A big inefficiency would be if water was pumped up to a canal above sea level, but some of that expenditure of energy expense would be recovered on the Dead Sea end, as extra drop height. & The pumps would be running on cheap electricity supplied by the Dead Sea end.
    • if pipes too expensive. canals & viaducts (like Romans used) across flat higher land if one used electricity generated from the drop down to the red sea, to power pump up from Mediterranean to canal.
    • LATER to search: what are percentage efficiency losses in Large generators & pumps ?
    • If 430 metre drop is too much for strength of pipes of a syphon, no problem, either just use whatever drop is optimal, either direct on to first generators, then venting into a small lake then drop that water down another pipe to another generator station. Or have a first small drop from the syphon into a top pool, then pipe it in a drop down to 1st generators.
    • A Long tunnel
  • Electricity Prices
  • Pipe or canal Building Cost
    High. Not worth figuring how high, until we've calculated the value of electricity that could be generated. Only then can a return on investment be calculated.
  • Alternate Tunnel building cost.
    At 80km, I guess a bit more than the 57 km, depending on geology. OTOH a mere water tunnel wouldn't need all the expense of 2 bidirectionals tunnels & a central escape tunnel.
  • Gradient:

    Whether a tunnel or a syphon (ie sealed tube, with Dead Sea end lower than Mediteranen), some gradient is needed to keep a pipe flowing (& more gradient for more speed).
  • Side Effects

    • Could either stop Dead Sea sinking, or could raise the sea; stop or reduce ever more sink hole collapses; resume old tourist trade on a stable coast line.
    • However maybe rain has leached out some salt column support even up to old levels ?
    • Some of the water piped from the Med. could be desalinated anywhere along the pipe line, using surplus electricity from the Dead See generators, for agricultural/ industrial/ human use, anywhere adjacent to the Med-Dead pipe line, or anywhere preferably downhill from where the Med-Dead pipe delivers above the Dead Sea.
    • Local Climate mitigation around Dead Sea: delivering water of either or both Med Sea salinity & potable water would assist the arid desert type Dead Sea area.
    • Not damaging to world sea levels, it would fractionally help mitigate against melting pole caps.
    • An aborted project: en . wikipedia . org / wiki / Dead_Sea # Link_to_the_Red_Sea
    • Routing planning & buildingof canal or syphon pipe would need co-operation between jews, palestinians etc. they would need reminding to co-operate, as if they fail to agree, both sides will loose all benfits.
    • Politics
      • Israel & Jordan both adjacent to Dead Sea should discuss & co-operate,
      • invite all locals to invest money & labour,
      • invite also non local investors, as a moderating neutral force intent just on engineering & financial success, not aligned to local political/ national/ religious/ factions.
      • Consider securing a special status for the territory of the canal/pipe, to secure co-operation between rivals, & secure the operation. Consider adopting some clauses from political arrangements of eg Suez & Panama Canals & Straits of Bosphorus, & Arctic Treaties etc.

    Extra facts, corrections & links welcome by email

    If you want a forum to discuss & develop numbers, let me know, I could create a mail list under mailman . berklix . org / mailman / listinfo perhaps naming it med-dead@
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