The search for a practical alternative fuel source for gasoline and diesel has long been considered the Holy Grail of the energy industry. MayMaan Research LLC, the recipient of this year’s Jerusalem Post Innovative Technology Award, has captured the imagination of energy experts around the world with a new solution for this age-old problem. MayMaan Research has developed a system that operates a traditional piston engine with a combination of 70% water and 30% ethanol (or any other alcohol) – no gasoline or diesel required. This revolutionary system can be applied, say its founders, with simple yet sophisticated modifications of existing engine designs, all while reducing fuel costs by 50%, producing far fewer emissions than gasoline or diesel, and is up to 60% more efficient than gasoline. MayMaan has built four operating prototypes to date, including a car, a generator and various engines.The MayMaan system requires only alcohol and water, where the system itself produces hydrogen and other components as a result of the operation of the engine, and from its own power in a closed system. The water mixture is converted into a clean-burning fuel, which powers the engine and produces a very high torque, enabling efficient and powerful performance. The MayMaan system offers additional benefits, including a longer engine lifespan due to lower temperatures and clean combustion, reduced engine weight, and the elimination of the need for an engine cooling system. MayMaan’s technology is fully developed, and its intellectual property is protected with numerous patents.MayMaan began as a family operation, headed by Yehuda Shmueli, along with sons Eitan and Doron. Together, they have assembled an impressive executive management team, including Joe Nakash, a prominent businessman and the founder of a multi-national conglomerate that manages airlines, hotels and real estate; Yedidya Ya’ari, company chairman and former president and CEO of Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority; Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents; and other distinguished individuals, including Rafael and Avi Nakash. MayMaan’s disruptive technology plans to revolutionize the world of power generation and transportation, from passenger cars, to trucks, locomotives and even ships.MayMaan’s ultimate mission, says Eitan Shmueli, company president, is to improve the quality of the air we breathe. “Whether you are rich or poor, anywhere in the world, we all breathe the same air. Every year, more than seven million people around the world die from emission-related diseases (source: World Health Organization). If we can make a small difference in controlling emissions, we will be extremely happy.” Shmueli adds that a more energy-independent world can also lead to a lower cost of living. “Today, there is one body in the world that controls oil prices and can change economies – OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). If one could drive a car for half the cost due to the lower cost of fuel, or have electricity in Nigeria for half the cost, it would make a big difference, especially in developing countries.”Shmueli says that the first practical application of MayMaan technology will be in the area of replacing the diesel engines in generators. “The world has realized that the diesel engine is a very polluting and toxic engine that produces toxic fumes,” Shmueli explains. “Some countries are not allowing diesel engines at all in operation. In India, for example, the government is working very hard to reduce the use of diesel both in public and private transportation.” Furthermore, the mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens say they will prohibit the operation of all diesel-powered cars and trucks in their cities by the middle of the next decade. Shmueli adds that the pollution produced by large cargo ships that run on diesel fuel is even more severe. In addition to the dangers to the environment caused by diesel engines and generators, Shmueli points out that diesel is not produced in most countries, and must be imported, whereas the two ingredients in the MayMaan solution water and ethanol – can be obtained almost anywhere. Ethanol can be produced from sugar or corn, and methanol can be obtained from wood, natural gas, or even garbage. Despite the pollution that diesel engines and generators cause, they are still used a great deal, especially in third-world countries, says Shmueli. “Big diesel generators are everywhere,” he notes, “and diesel is used in the majority of farming equipment as well.”MayMaan’s generators work with a specially designed custom engine, and it is anticipated that they will be in production within the next year. The generators will be sold as a prime power generator for mid-sized businesses, and as a generator for remote locations around the world, to help supplement electrical production.Doron Shmueli, Maymaan’s senior vice president, says that one of the primary target markets for the generator will be developing countries like Nigeria, where 80% of the country’s electric power is produced by diesel generators, and Brazil, which has the largest fleet of diesel trucks in the world. MayMaan is in discussions with organizations in China and India as well. MayMaan’s system is extremely flexible and can work equally well with standard engine drive trains, hybrid motors and electric motors.MAYMAAN’S technology is “green” and environmentally friendly. Unlike diesel and gasoline engines, MayMaan’s technology eliminates emission of virtually all sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. Doron explains that one of the primary challenges of advancing alternative fuels is the high cost of infrastructure modification needed for implementation. By contrast, MayMaan’s system uses the proven and popular internal combustion engine, and the liquid fuel can be transported and pumped just like traditional fuels. Best of all, it costs far less to run than any other energy solution, including fossil fuels. The name MayMaan, explains Eitan, comes from the Hebrew word for hydrogen, one of the main components of the fuel. He also credits a second meaning to his more religiously observant brother Doron, who suggests that the name is a combination of the Hebrew word for water and the Biblical manna, which the Jews ate in their desert wanderings before coming to the Land of Israel. In that sense, he explains, MayMaan is like the water from the biblical manna.Yehuda Shmueli and his sons think that change is just a matter of time. MayMaan is seeking additional partners to help realize its vision to change the world.