The southern branch of the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center is rapidly progressing to become Israel’s “Silicon Valley” for research and development of renewable energy. The Science Center researchers are a major component of this developing trend.
Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed specializes in on-board hydrogen production by hydrolysis of boron steel, as the product of the hydrolysis – boron-oxide – is reduced back to pure boron using electricity provided by solar panels. Thus, Dr. Abu Hamed hopes to produce the batteries of the future that will be charged by solar energy and will power hydrogen engines. Another project Dr. Abu Hamed is leading is the potential to produce methane using organic household waste within the Bedouin population. In addition, Dr. Abu Hamed is performing research in cooperation with a Jordanian researcher in an attempt to raise the efficiency of photovoltaic cells by cooling and preventing dust from accumulating on their surface.
Dr. Ilan Stavi specializes in pyrolysis: turning plant-based biomass into “biochar” by heating it at high temperatures without oxygen. The biochar has beneficial chemical properties – first of all, it holds the carbon. In addition, biochar easily absorbs cations. This feature makes the biochar a quality soil amender.
Dr. Bennett specializes in growing algae and cyanobacteria as a source of biofuel. In his research, Dr. Bennett isolated thermophilic algae from Hamat Gader and Tiberias Hot Springs. These he proposes to raise in specific reactors; they are intended to absorb high CO2concentrations. Dr. Bennett is also developing a unique photo-bioreactor in which the algae should absorb the CO2 exhaust gases more efficiently.
Dr. Alexander Gusarova is leading research in the field of solar energy. His current project focuses on developing cheap technologies to create sun filters in order to increase efficiency of photovoltaic panels by managing the fluorescence spectrum. Also in the field of solar energy, Dr. Frizant has begun developing unique thermal-solar systems that could form the basis for various uses: desalination, bio-diesel production and electricity using solar energy.