CNN has named Yosef Abramowitz, president and cofounder of the firm responsible for Israel’s first solar field, as one of six global “Green Pioneers.”
A program about the six pioneers will appear on CNN for the first time on Friday, highlighting the significant environmental achievements of “men and women with big ideas to change the world.”
The show is part of an overall CNN “Going Green” series being broadcast throughout 2012.
Abramowitz, 48, made aliya with his wife and five children from Massachusetts in 2006, and soon after founded Arava Power Company at Kibbutz Ketura with partners Ed Hofland from the kibbutz and David Rosenblatt from New Jersey.
Now dubbed “Captain Sunshine” by his colleagues, Abramowitz had spent time volunteering on Kibbutz Ketura 30 years ago, and last summer he was able to inaugurate a 4.95-megawatt, medium-sized photovoltaic field on that very same land.
Today, Arava Power is developing a large-sized, 40- megawatt solar field directly across Road 90 from the first field, whose power supply will be equivalent to one-third of the electricity needs of the city of Eilat, according to the company.
Arava Power is also in the process of developing hundreds of megawatts of projects in the Arava and Negev deserts, and this spring, the firm closed on eight medium-sized projects worth NIS 800 million.
In addition to advocating solar development rights for the Negev’s Beduin population, Abramowitz has been instrumental in bringing solar capabilities to other underserved communities around the world. In Haiti – which was ravaged by the 2010 earthquake – Abramowitz is a partner in a forum led by former US president Bill Clinton to help develop a solar energy industry for the island, the company said.
Meanwhile, only last week, Abramowitz and his family traveled to Rwanda to volunteer in the Aghozo-Shalom Youth Village, where among other activities, he taught young people there about the potential of employing solar energy.
“It is an honor to represent Israel as a Green Pioneer,” Abramowitz said. “The choice of an Israeli for a program focused on environmental issues is proof that [the] world looks to us as an example for environmental technology and innovation. With the help of the government of Israel and its support for solar energy, we will continue to be a renewable light unto the nations.”
In a 5-minute clip previewing Abramowitz’s participation in the program, the anchor describes his target as “to bring solar power to Israel on a commercial scale.” During the same preview, Abramowitz himself says that “this land was made for solar power” and that solar work performed there can “become a catalyst to work with other countries.”
In addition to Abramowitz, another of the pioneers is Ikal Angelei from Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya, who was among the winners of this year’s San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Prize.
She also receives funding from American Jewish World Service for her work combating the construction of a huge dam in southern Ethiopia.
Three of the other pioneers include David Stubbs, head of sustainability for the London 2012 Olympics; Princess Sayyida Tania Al Said, president of the Environment Society of Oman; and Erin Schrode, founder of United States-based organization Turning Green.
CNN will first air the “Green Pioneers” program on Friday, July 13 at 6:30 p.m. local time, followed by additional broadcasts on Saturday, July 14 (4:00 p.m., 11:30 p.m.), Sunday, July 15 (12:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m.), Monday, July 16 (6:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.), Tuesday, July 17 (12:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.) and Wednesday, July 18 (7:30 a.m.)
A delegation of America’s senior decision-makers in the energy sector is currently visiting Israel (June 17-24) to investigate best practices and potential collaboration in the field of renewable and alternative energy.
The week-long visit, organized by Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC, will showcase Israeli advances and is intended to establish strategic partnerships, foster professional cooperation, and encourage information-sharing between US energy specialists and their Israeli counterparts.
The delegation features some of the US energy sector’s most prominent figures, including Mark Brownstein, Chief Counsel, Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund; Scott N. Paul, Founding Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Brian Wynne, Chair, President, Electric Drive Transportation Association; Stephen Walz, Director of Energy Planning, Northern Virginia Regional Commission; Jorge Junquera, Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico; and other top energy experts from government and the business world.
“Israel is on the front lines in the fight for energy security and against the worst consequences of global warming,” Brownstein said. “Some of the world’s leading clean energy ideas and technologies were born in Israel, and I am looking forward to learning about ways Israel and the United States can work together to accelerate a global transition to a low-carbon, clean energy future.”
The energy specialists will meet with leaders of Israeli companies on the cutting edge of alternative and clean energy solutions, including solar, electric car, wave and renewable energy technologies. The delegation will visit sites showcasing ground-breaking Israeli technologies, such as the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Sde Boker; BrightSource Energy, Inc.’s Solar Thermal Development Center in the Negev Desert at Dimona; the water desalination plant at Ashkelon; and SDE Energy Ltd., developer of a technology that produces electricity from ocean waves.
Paul said he is “very excited to see what is happening in Israel on clean energy and electric vehicles. Israel is a nation that has moved forward very aggressively on a clean energy economy by necessity. Some of those lessons can certainly be applied to the United States. This visit will spark ideas, cooperation, and better understanding. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Participants will benefit from expert briefings on a range of complex political, societal, and strategic issues facing Israel, Israel’s global and regional relationships, and Israeli humanitarian efforts around the world.
The delegation is also due to visit Ramallah, learn about Palestinian society and visit Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city now in development; learn about Bedouin society and meet with the co- executive director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development; and visit a Jewish settlement, all to better understand the complexities facing the region.
Project Interchange Executive Director Sam Witkin noted, “Israel has historically had a dearth of natural resources, and therefore its alternative and efficient energy industry has been a priority. In creating this seminar,
“Project Interchange is showcasing leading aspects of Israeli alternative energy industry-wide progress to America’s leading energy decision-makers, creating opportunities for them to engage with their Israeli peers and collaborate for the betterment of all,” he added.
A new Israeli solar technology is able to transform greenhouse gas emissions from the dirtiest of pollutants into a useable fuel for automobiles.
Israeli startup NewCO2Fuels Ltd., in partnership with Australian firm Greenearth Energy Ltd., has acquired the license for a technology developed by Prof. Jacob Karni, head of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Energy Center in the department of environmental sciences and energy research, as well as supervisor for the institute’s solar program.
The innovation uses concentrated solar energy to dissociate carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen, as well as water into hydrogen and oxygen, allowing for the synthesis of the carbon monoxide and hydrogen into a gaseous hydrocarbon mixture called Syngas.
The Syngas, in turn, can be converted into methanol for vehicular use.
Karni’s research, which was conducted in partnership with Dr. Avner Rothschild from the Technion, received a $200,000 grant from the Silicon Valley-based organization Israel Strategic Alternative Energy Foundation in 2010.
Logistically, the solar heat generation occurs on parabolic dishes, which reflect the light captured to a reactor, a focal point of the parabola that allows for extremely high temperature generation, explained David Banitt, the CEO and major shareholder of NewCO2 Fuels. At the reactor site, the carbon dioxide enters and splits due to the heat, with carbon monoxide exiting through one pipe and oxygen through a second, Banitt told The Jerusalem Post. The same process applies to water, for hydrogen and oxygen.
“The process becomes much more effective if it’s performed at much higher temperatures,” he said.
The hydrogen and carbon monoxide can then come together to form Syngas, which in turn can be converted into methanol for fuel.
Methanol is already in use for vehicle propulsion in several countries around the world, and a Dor Chemicals and Ten Gasoline partnership is currently performing an experiment in Israel with a blend of methanol and benzene.
“We would like to produce methanol that would be cost competitive to gasoline,” Banitt said.
Full story via JPost
The government approved Sunday the appointment of Eyal Rosner as director of a national initiative to develop technologies that reduce the global use of oil in transportation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “The government is working to encourage the development of technologies that will reduce our dependency on oil.”
A dedicated team led by the head of national economic council Prof. Eugene Kandel formulated the guidelines for the national program to encourage both academic research and business entrepreneurship to examine alternatives for the use of oil.
The program was approved by the government in 2011. It was budgeted ay NIS 1.4 billion ($365 million) for 10 years, with the purpose to invest in the development of new oil-replacing technologies.
Prof. Kandel revealed to the ministers that more than 100 alternative energies start-up companies are active in Israel today, in addition to 100 university-based research groups.
Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said his ministry is already encouraging research and development of natural gas fuels, hoping to present their results by the end of the year.
Rosner (46) was a naval officer, and have degrees in economy and business from Tel Aviv University. Earlier this week he was a group leader in the Harvard Business School CEO Workshop. Between 2003 and 2007 Rosner was the CEO of the Borovich Mozes Group.
An unlikely partnership between the high-tech and ecology communities in Israel formed the first ever sustainable technology conference – TentTech.
The camps’ participants, who represent various disciplines such as science, technology, art and agriculture combined their talent and resources in order to build projects and develop innovative blueprints for environment friendly living.
The group’s aim is to rethink sustainability in four different domains – water, energy, shelter and communication.
The conference, called by many a non-conference, was established by a group of high-tech entrepreneurs headed by Ilan Graicer and Gilli Cegla.
Among the Israeli activists taking part in the project was Muhammad Almaki, a student from Mali who came to Israel in order to learn Hebrew so he could translate the bible into the local Mali language. Almaki presented the camps’ participants with one of the major issues the Mali people face – one water well shared by 5,000 residents.
Almaki asked some of the high-tech experts to search for the technology which could improve access to drinking water in Mali. He further asked for them to find affordable solutions for well building, rain harvesting and pumping and water purification.
One of the camp’s participants, Oranit Avidar, who works for WaterWays, a local Israeli startup seeking to find fitting solutions for rural locations lacking access to water sources, approached Almaki soon after he spoke, in effort to help him with the life threatening challenge his country faces.
The conference further held discussions concerning challenges of developing countries in the fields of water and sanitation, shelter, communications and energy.
Moreover, several discussions concerning existing global innovation challenges took place followed by possible projects and solutions addressing these needs.
Among the technological developments presented during the conference was Moti Cohen’s aquaponics prototype, which is a sustainable food production system that combines the traditional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment.