Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

An Israeli-invented toilet that needs no water and leaves no waste caught the interest of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded parent company Paulee CleanTec $110,000 “to create next generation sanitation technology to help make sanitation services truly safe and sustainable for the poor.”

The toilet is based on the same principle as the high-tech pooper-scooper invented by renowned Hebrew University biotech innovator Prof. Oded Shoseyov.

Solid waste, which also can include toilet paper, will be mixed with chemical formula for not more than 30 seconds, instantly turning it into odorless, sterile fertilizer. The fertilizer will be automatically dropped into a removable canister where it can be collected from time to time and then be used for field and/or home crops.

The liquid waste will be sterilized separately in another reservoir, and then pumped up to flush the toilet – powered by heat energy created from the solid-waste process and stored in a battery. According to the still-secret drawings of the patent-pending device, the internally created heat would even power a light inside the stall.

Just to back up the energy source, a small solar panel will be installed on the roof. There is no need for any sewerage or electricity infrastructures or connections. No need for water to flush. No special maintenance — the chemicals can be put in its dispenser once a month and the cost of one use is only a few cents.

These features are a good fit for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” which aims to improve on the limitations of the 18th-century toilet still in use today, for 2.6 billion people lacking access to sanitation. According to the foundation, reinventing the toilet could save millions of lives and help end poverty. About 80 percent of human waste goes into rivers and streams untreated, and 1.1 billion people don’t use a toilet.

The winning solution must be hygienic and sustainable, with an operational cost of no more than five cents per user, per day. It may not discharge pollutants and must generate energy and recover salt, water and other nutrients. It may not rely on water to flush waste or a septic system to process and store waste.

The one-year Gates grant is first-phase funding. If the foundation likes what it sees, Paulee CleanTec will then submit a second proposal for a $1 million or $1.5 million grant to complete development and build a prototype.

In addition, Paulee CleanTec is considering opportunities for raising funds from private and strategic investors as it looks to widen its potential applications to hygienic solutions for trains, airplanes, boats, motor homes and other modes of transportation.

Source: Israel21c

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Japan Seeks Israeli Experts to Rehabilitate Fukushima

The Fukushima project is in need of Israeli CleanTech experts, especially in the field of recycling and water management.

The March 11, 2011 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan was one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record keeping began in 1900.The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters (133 ft) and which travelled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland. The tsunami caused a number of nuclear accidents, primarily the ongoing meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex.

The Japanese company heading the rehabilitation efforts has sent a delegation to confer with Israeli experts and look for local entrepreneurs willing to take on the daunting task. 

Israeli companies that become part of the project will receive tax breaks to the amount of NIS 50 million (approximately $12.8 million).

Politics and cultural differences previously stood in the way of Israel developing closer relations with Japan. Japan imports 90 percent of its oil from Arab countries hostile to Israel. Also, Japanese culture, conservative, polite and centered on the value of tradition, is in many ways an opposite of the Israeli start-up, pioneer ethos. Independent, tenacious Israeli entrepreneurs generally prefer uncensored opinions and minimal ceremony. 

Source: YNetNews

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Israeli Teens Rescue Endangered Plant from Extinction

Rumex RothschildianusStudents at the Environmental Leadership class at Ha'kfar Hayarok High School in central Israel have been able to produce seeds for Rumex Rothschildianus, which is on Israel's endangered plants list.

Over the past few months, as part of a class science project, the students gathered a few dozen seeds of the rare plant, sprouted them in the school lab and eventually produced 100,000 seeds, effectively enabling the Rumex' re-plantation en masse.

The seeds were given to the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority (NNPA), which is now planning to plant them in its parks.

The high quantity of seeds produced has given the plant a new lease on life, and once its re-introduction to nature proves successful – which the NNPA is certain it will be – the Rumex will be safely on its way out of the endangered plants list.

The students' success has a global impact as well: Rumex Rothschildianus is indigenous to Israel and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Should the Rumex disappear from Israel's landscape, it will become extinct.

The project was part of the students' "seeds bank," created in collaboration with the NNPA and the Tel Aviv University Botanical Garden.

In view of the project's success, the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority has decided to enlist the students' help in the rescue attempts of other endangered plants. The next plant to be rescued from the threat of extinction will be the Yellow Lupin (Lupinus luteus).

Source: Ynetnews

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

UN Cites Israeli Wastewater Treatment Plant as Global Model

Out of just 30 from around the world chosen by the United Nations , the Dan Region Waste water treatment plant was selected to demonstrate the ability of local authorities to deal with environmental challenges.

The plant's unique method of treating sewage using natural filtration with sand earned it a spot on the coveted list. After routine purification in an ordinary facility, it then undergoes natural, underground filtration through sand, improving the quality of the water so that it can be used for irrigation.

Due to the higher concentration of people and pollution in urban areas, the UN has determined that it is important for local authorities to get organized and deal with local environmental issues without any dependance on federal funding.

Mekorot, Israel's national water company has recently begun to develop even more advanced methods of purifying sewage before it goes underground to be filtered through sand.

Read more about it here.

Looking forward to a day in the sand by the ocean tomorrow, till next time!