dead sea weather station.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
An ambitious multidisciplinary research initiative into alternative, sustainable energy resources is being launched by the Weizmann Institute of Science, with the goal of significantly advancing the search for solutions to the world's most pressing energy problems. The Rehovot institute plans to raise significant funds for its Initiative for Research in Sustainable and Alternative Energy, which will support innovative scientific projects in the field.
"Developing alternative means of producing energy is a necessary step for dealing with the continuing energy crisis," says institute president Prof. Ilan Chet. "Creating fresh, sustainable methods of producing energy in the required amounts will only be possible if we can gain the knowledge to invent completely new technologies. The Weizmann Institute has an obligation to take a lead in the global effort in this field. We believe we can help shape the planet's future."
Among the major global energy challenges confronting researchers and policymakers is the sharp rise in demand for energy in recent years, fueled by rapidly rising standards of living and expanding populations, especially in China and India. Experts predict that if nothing is done to change current patterns, energy demand will rise nearly 60 percent by the year 2030.
In addition, non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuel are running out, petroleum-based fuel supplies could be held hostage to political upheavals, affecting the peace and security of Israel and the entire world, and the continuing upward spiral of oil prices threatens the stability of the global economy. Burning fossil fuels is a major cause of air pollution and increases the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the upper atmosphere, which may already be causing global warming.
As Weizmann Institute scientists are concerned about this state of affairs, said Chet on Tuesday, several of them have committed themselves to help search for solutions.
Chemistry faculty dean Prof. Mordechai Sheves added: "The special nature of the Weizmann Institute, with its emphasis on multidisciplinary scientific cooperation, makes it one of the most promising places to pursue such solutions."