But getting there will take a solid backbone of sound scientific research. These are the thoughts conveyed by Booky Oren, president of the new Arison Water Initiative in Israel.
Oren, a veteran in the cleantech biz, who has grand plans to turn Israel into the Silicon Valley of water, chaired part of the cleantech symposium held at Tel Aviv University this week. On “display” were about 20 different clean technology solutions nurtured at the university – ones that could dampen the human impact on earth.
Consider the research of Hadas Mamane, who is investigating the use of UV radiation to eradicate prescription drugs from our drinking water – a massive concern for Americans today: “Even the best treatment technology does nothing to treat those contaminants,” says Mamane.
“More crop per drop,” was the subject of Tal Sherman’s presentation which focused on how plants sense and seek out water. He proposes a technology at the root architecture level to increase water intake efficiency in plants.
“Plants that can sense water in a better fashion will be high in economic value in the future,” Sherman told the audience, comprised of international and local investors, and venture capitalists.
Other projects available for commercialization were the more efficient wind turbine technology presented by Oksana Stalnov, Prof. Itai Benhar’s research on producing hydrogen fuel for cars from plant life: “To make the world non-dependent on fossil fuels forever,” he says.
There was also the impressive research presented by Esti Kramarsky-Winter on methods for rearing corals in the lab for improving coral reef health in the world.
The showcase offered Prof. Judith Rishpon’s biosensors for detecting trace amounts of pollutants; soil remediation solutions by Prof. Amos Ullmann; as well as alternatives to cash crops for biofuel using kenaf, a fast-growing plant being investigated by Prof. Roni Aloni:
Hosted by Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Studies, the showcase offered the perfect marriage of pure scientific research and how it can be applied to benefit mankind.
Among the participants were Jonathan Shapira, author of the Cleantech Investing in Israel blog, who reports steadily on Israel’s cleantech industry. He tells ISRAEL21c, “I was impressed by both the breadth and depth of the research related to ‘cleantech’ that is taking place at the university.
“Building connections between academics and businesspeople seems essential to the future growth of the cleantech industry in Israel, and it is great to see the Porter School play a leading role in making that happen.”