“Non-freezing Asphalt Project” from Koç University Tüpraş Energy Center …Turkey's first privately supported energy center Koç University Tüpraş Energy Center (KUTEM) Director Prof. Dr. Stating that they are working on a non-freezing asphalt project, Can Erkey said, "It is thought that this method, which was developed to prevent and delay icing on the asphalt surface, will eliminate the need to apply salt to the surface in the long term, not have harmful effects on the environment and human health, and be economical."
Answering the questions of the AA reporter, Erkey gave information about how the idea of KUTEM was born.
Erkey said that the increasing importance of energy in the world and Turkey's current account deficit is mostly made by imported energy.
Thereupon, Erkey informed that the foundations of KUTEM were laid with the signing of the Joint Working Framework Protocol in March 2010 as a result of the negotiations with Koç Holding Energy Group Presidency and the companies affiliated to the Energy Group. announced that the project has been initiated.
Stating that after the promising results obtained in these pioneering projects, the rector of Koç University, the vice-rector in charge of research and Tüpraş - Koç Holding Energy Group came together again and decided to carry out the works from a center, Erkey said that he was in constant communication and ideas with Tüpraş in the construction and arrangement of the center. He said they exchanged.
Erkey, who informed that studies are carried out on three subjects at KUTEM, continued his words as follows:
“In the first of these, fossil fuel studies, we focused on increasing the efficiency of fuel production technologies, developing processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and helping imported technologies to be produced in Turkey. The second field of study, biofuels, is expected to become one of Turkey's renewable energy sources in the next 5-10 years. Today's biofuels such as ethanol are causing food prices to rise, deforestation and hunger. Therefore, we have created research projects to obtain fuel from algae, forest wastes and fast-growing reeds in order to obtain fuel from biomass that is not consumed as food. Another working area of KUTEM is solar fuels. After the depletion of fossil fuels in the world, we have started to research ways to obtain hydrogen from water by using solar energy today. Currently, 8 projects are being carried out in our center.”
– “We aim to produce 25 projects per year”
KUTEM Director Erkey said that they aim to produce 25 projects a year in the next few years at the center.
Stating that the door of the center is also open to faculty members and students working at other universities, Erkey noted that their aim is to make KUTEM a world-class energy center.
Emphasizing that they believe that they need to work with organizations both in Turkey and abroad for this, Erkey said, “We have already started to take some steps for this. As you know, TÜBİTAK has determined priority areas for our country and provides project support on these issues. Energy is one of these areas. We prepare projects and apply for these calls together with other universities and research institutes such as TÜBİTAK MAM.”
Expressing that the center is working on a non-freezing asphalt project, Erkey said the following about the project:
“Non-freezing asphalt project is a polymer composite design project developed to prevent or delay freezing on the asphalt surface, compatible with asphalt, trapping salt and providing controlled release of this salt. The ability of this polymer composite to be mixed with asphalt comes from the polymer added into the bitumen material in asphalt, also known as pitch among the public. The trapping and controlled release of salt in the polymer composite is provided with the help of nanoparticles. Thanks to the controlled release of salt from this composite, which can be mixed into the asphalt, it is aimed to lower the freezing point of the water on the asphalt surface, thus preventing or delaying the freezing of the water.
Stating that they officially started the project in February 2011, Erkey said, “In the preliminary studies we carried out in the laboratory with the designed polymer composite, salt release occurred, and in the freezing tests performed in the temperature and temperature controlled cell, the freezing time of the water on the bitumen containing the composite was up to 2 to 3 times compared to the bitumen surface alone. observed,” he said.
Stating that the first phase of the project is planned to be completed in February 2014, Erkey underlined that in the next phase, it may be possible to apply the composite material in real life after further research and development of its ability to prevent or delay freezing on the asphalt surface.
Erkey, who also gave information about the benefits of non-freezing asphalt compared to other asphalt types and the economic transformation it will provide, continued his speech as follows:
“Various methods have been tried to prevent accidents that frequently occur as a result of icing on the roads in cold weather. Among these methods, heating the roads or melting the ice by salting the roads are common, energy-intensive and costly approaches. The application of salt to the surface, which is the most widely used in our country, also has negative effects such as being harmful to the environment, human health and vehicles, and causing loss of time and workforce. It is thought that this method, which has been developed to prevent and delay icing on the asphalt surface, will eliminate the need to apply salt to the surface in the long term, have no harmful effects on the environment and human health, and be economical.
Erkey, who informed that they have developed some software for the control and optimization of the units in refineries, as their most applicable project in real life, apart from the non-freezing asphalt, said that these are at the stage of testing by Tüpraş.
Emphasizing that they have developed a number of catalysts in the refinery to convert worthless heavy hydrocarbons into fine and valuable products such as jet fuel and diesel, and that they are at the testing stage, Erkey said, "Apart from that, we have succeeded in producing fuel from algae on a laboratory scale."