Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has partnered with the University of Johannesburg and the University of California, Los Angeles to conduct scientific research into the fields of water purification and microalgal biotechnology, according to a press release last month.
“This is an international partnership that will benefit the peoples of South Africa, Israel and other countries around the world,” said BGU’s Vice President for External Affairs Prof. Amos Drory on occasion of the signing. Drory and Prof. Derek van der Merwe, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, signed the research collaboration agreement in South Africa.
“The two universities will become involved in extremely important, evolutionary research that will mainly benefit third world countries throughout the world,” said Dr. Bertram Lubner, Vice-Chairman of BGU’s Board of Governors and president of the SA Associates of Ben-Gurion University (SAABGU).
Prof. Sammy Boussiba and Prof. Yoram Oren from Ben Gurion University’s Blaustein Institute for Desert Research will head up the projects in Israel working together with Prof. Bhekie Mamba, leading the South African research teams. They will be assisted by Prof. Eric Hoek, an expert in the fields of water purification and microalgal biotechnology at UCLA. (more…)
Monday, September 28th, 2009
Water agencies facing droughts and shortages of freshwater, such as in coastal California, have been turning increasingly to desalination this year.
However, current desalination methods can be expensive and energy inefficient. Watchdog groups prefer water conservation and efficiency efforts, and charge that tapping the oceans for potable water can pollute waterways and kill marine creatures.
Yet could desalination become more viable and efficient? The Global Cleantech 100 list anointed several companies with that aspiration as technology innovators earlier this month. (more…)
Sunday, September 20th, 2009
Even the CEO was initially skeptical about BioPetroClean’s simple and effective solution for cleaning up industrial wastewater, but it works; and now Dow Chemicals is onboard.
The idea that microscopic bacteria could cheaply and efficiently cleanse oceans of industrial wastewater may seem far-fetched. But it is just this premise that launched BioPetroClean, a Texas-based cleantech company with research-and-development facilities in Tel Aviv.
In fact, the technology is so effective that $57.5 billion industry giant Dow Chemical just announced a global commercial agreement whereby it will market and distribute the Dow-BPC Water Treatment System internationally. The agreement includes exclusivity across significant oil drilling and refining markets.
Thursday, August 27th, 2009
For the first time, scientists have discovered chemicals used in a controversial natural gas drilling technique in water wells near the gas sites.
Scientists for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), testing wells near a major gas drilling area in Wyoming, have found traces of drilling chemicals in three wells, and other contaminants — including oil, gas, and heavy metals — in 11 of 39 wells recently tested, according to the Web site Pro Publica.
The chemicals are used in a process called hydraulic fracturing, in which drilling fluids and sand are injected under high pressure to break up rock and release gas.
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Chris Tobias recently wrote about waste to energy in Singapore, illustrating the city’s exemplary response to fly ash left over from the incineration process. I just read an interesting French book on water, and one of the most interesting parts of the book was about Singapore.
Written by Erik Orsenna, a member of the prestigious Académie française, L’Avenir de l’eau (Water’s future) enables us to travel all around the world (albeit reading) and gathers facts and figures on how water issues differ from country to country.
Perfectly located between East and West Asia, Singapore is an important local hub for 4,000 international companies. The city’s geostrategic importance led to an important population boom, with the number of inhabitants climbing from 1.5 million at the time of independence in 1965 to more than 4.5 million today.
Despite receiving a lot of rainwater (there are 2,415 mm of precipitations per year, compared to roughly 500 mm for San Francisco and 1,200 mm for New York City), the city lacks water.
The precious liquid comes from four main sources: rain, water treatment, desalination and imports from Malaysia. (more…)
Thursday, August 20th, 2009
Tonight, Imagine H2O will be hosting a Water Efficiency Ideation Workshop in Palo Alto, California. While this announcement might come at short notice to you, it’s worth considering participation.
When: Thursday August 20, 2009, 6:00-8:30pm
Where: Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, 3715 Hanover St., Palo Alto, CA 94304
Imagine H2O is a non-profit organization that spurs entrepreneurship and investment in the water sector by running business plan prize competitions with an incubator program for water entrepreneurs. This year’s inaugural competition is a $50k prize for water efficiency businesses, and Imagine H2O is kicking this off with tonight’s event. The workshop offers entrepreneurs, innovators, and the public a chance to hear from customers of water efficiency products and services. You’ll be identifying water customers’ needs, brainstorming ideas and building teams.
Monday, August 17th, 2009
The NATO Science for Peace Program and the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) recently awarded grants to researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev to continue working on a novel desalination method. In a region where potable water sources are so scarce, these methods are crucial to water independence and reducing reliance upon imported water sources (which require a lot of fossil fuels).
The team, lead by Dr. Jack Gilron (Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research) and Professor Eli Korin (Department of Chemical Engineering), has developed a desalination method by reverse osmosis that exploits “the finite kinetics of membrane fouling processes by periodically changing the conditions leading to membrane fouling before it can occur.”
Friday, August 14th, 2009
Water technology, solar innovation, Israel’s electric cars: I’d originally written this story for ISRAEL21c a few months ago when we were planning on launching its new Environment channel. The new channel was finally up this week. Consider it a good starting point if you’d like to know more about Israeli technology and investment opportunities and what the future may hold:
When green evangelist Al Gore visited Israel last year (and Green Prophet was there) he gave a clear message. “The people of Israel can lead the way to renewable energy,” he told audiences. With its unique geographical position, and clean tech know how, he announced, Israel is a natural leader in the field.
It’s a view that is echoed by many. Ian Thomson, the Californian co-founder of CleanTechies, a web site launched for clean technology professionals, agrees.
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
A pair of satellites that measures changes in the earth’s gravity has shown that the intense irrigation of a 1,200-mile swath of northern India is depleting groundwater at a rate of 1.5 to 4 inches per year.
The satellites, part of a joint U.S.-German mission known as GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), show that the region — inhabited by 600 million people heavily dependent on irrigated agriculture — is withdrawing 13 cubic miles of water per year from underground aquifers.
Reporting in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, U.S. and Indian scientists analyzed satellite data from 2002 to 2008 and concluded that Indian farmers are pumping out groundwater 70 percent faster than estimated by the Central Ground Water Board of India in the 1990s.
Friday, June 26th, 2009
Supreme Court watchers are hitting the refresh button often as the term wraps up and decisions are released in bunches.
Monday saw a significant ruling for the clean-tech observer as the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold an Army Corps of Engineers ruling that allowed an Alaskan mining company to dump slurry waste into a nearby lake as a permanent disposal method.