Israeli inventions that could shape the next green century

Israeli inventions that

tamarisk trees 248.88 (photo credit: )
tamarisk trees 248.88
(photo credit: )
A biomass that could replace coal, a new type of engine that runs on a fifth of the gas of the internal combustion engine, a smart faucet that saves water and energy. These are some of the practical, clean technologies nearing production that will be presented at the Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow 2009 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center next week. These three technologies are all in advanced stage development - starting to be marketed, and undergoing final testing and prototype production - and will appear as part of the Tomorrow's Industries Exhibition. They are also exportable technologies that could make cleantech the next hi-tech revolution for Israel. Mihar Bio-Energy Israel has developed a plan to use Tamarisk trees, which can only be found in Israel, as a biomass renewable energy source to replace coal. The TE, as they named the tree, can be grown in large numbers using brackish or recycled waste water and has a high caloric content that makes it very efficient, according to the company. As an agricultural product, there is no need to rezone land to grow it and it could stimulate a troubled agricultural sector in Israel, according to a presentation the company will give at the conference. Within five years, it could produce 12-13 percent of Israel's energy needs from renewable sources - thus exceeding the 10%-by-2020 goal set by the government. It could also replace 12% of the coal used in the country's coal-fired power plants. Co-firing of biomass in coal plants is becoming more common around the world. "The new coal-fired power plant the Israel Electric Corporation is planning for Ashkelon could be a biomass plant," Vardit Nir, a spokeswoman for Mihar Bio-Energy, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. "Yes, it's still a burning process, but there are none of the metal-based emissions that come with burning coal and it actually has a negative carbon balance because of all the carbon the trees would soak up as they grew," Nir said. Mihar also argues that it is far cheaper to produce than other green energies such as solar and wind. The firm is currently setting up a project in India, though its flagship project is in Israel. Mihar has presented the idea to the relevant government ministries, which are checking its feasibility. The company is also examining three potential sites on which to build a 50 MW plant. Agam Energy Systems, based in Hod Hasharon, is working to complete a prototype car engine that relies on a turbine instead of pistons. The founders, scientists from the Hebrew University and the Technion-Israel Insitute of Technology, hold a US patent for the liquid ring compressor/turbine. According to their presentation, the engine would use just a fifth of the gas that internal combustion engines do today. That could amount to tremendous reductions in the use of fossil fuels. They plan to have a working engine in three to four years. The National Infrastructures Ministry has named Agam one of the winners of the 2008 "EZNEK" competition for revolutionary technologies. Moving out of the field and the car and into the house, Madgal-CSF Ltd. is in the last phase of testing for a smart faucet which would save water and electricity. The faucet saves water by bringing exactly the right temperature water to the shower. Rather than running the water until the hot water kicks in, and then adjusting the temperature, the faucet forces the hot and cold water to mix to the right temperature within the pipes. Using existing pipes, the faucet reroutes the cold water back into the system so that it is not lost down the drain. The faucet also saves energy by "learning" the family's washing patterns and heating water accordingly. Though not relevant really in Israel, the faucet will also prevent pipes freezing and bursting without having to let them drip, according to the company. Once internal testing is complete, Madgal will be marketing the faucet worldwide. Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) told a UN climate change mini-summit recently that Israel could become a center for climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies. Perhaps, these are some of the technologies he was referring to. The Presidential Conference will draw participants from around the globe. About 1,500 people from abroad are expected to join 2,500 Israelis. Notable attendees or speakers are to include: American futurist Raymond Kurzweil, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Skype Ltd. President Josh Silverman, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, French economist Dr. Jacques Attali, banker Baron David de Rothschild, Chinese Information Minister Chen Wang and Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.