Friday, June 10, 2016

E- Mobility Revolution: Country’s First Electric Road in Tel Aviv

Electric recharging lane
The multi-billion dollar public transit bus industry is under increasing regulatory and public policy pressure to adopt clean transportation solutions that will reduce CO2 emissions and dependence on oil without compromising the fleet’s service, and yet curbing the rise of operating costs. Electric mobility can fulfill these desires.

The common approach today is an electric vehicle based on a battery. The main challenge concerning this approach is the limitation of the energy storage capacity. The battery weighs 1/3 of the vehicle and is prohibitively expensive. It reduces the usable space, yet still cannot produce enough power for long distances. To make matters worse, the need for costly battery replacements every few years decreases adoption of electric public transportation even further.

Israeli startup ElectRoad has developed a technology designed to revolutionize E- mobility by producing dynamic wireless electrification system for urban transportation and large-scale adoption of purely electric buses.

Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) developed by ElectRoad allows charging electric cars while they drive over a chain of copper loops embedded into the asphalt and connected to a power converter at the side of the road.

Benefits of the DWPT are many:
  •     Zero emission without any need for a battery or charging spots
  •     Reduction of the total cost of operation by 75%
  •     High efficiency that exceeds 88%
  •     Energy sharing between vehicles within the grid reaching 90%
  •     Easy implementation with minimal changes to existing infrastructure at a rate of one kilometer of electric lines per day
Tel Aviv will become one of the first cities to test under-the-road electric charging beds. Buses will be able to travel for up to 5 kilometers on a regular road after being charged on the electric road. An average electrified road is expected to pay for itself within three years.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Methuselah Update: “He Is a Big Boy Now”

Methuselah, a Judean date palm
Seven years ago, we published a story about Methuselah, a Judean date palm cultivated from a 2,000-year-old seed found during excavations at Herod the Great's palace on Masada in Israel.

When Jews were expelled from their ancestral homeland by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple s in 70 CE, world-famous Judean date palms became extinct.

Dr. Elaine Solowey, a specialist in rare and medicinal plants at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, was able to germinate an ancient seed and bring back a single living representative of the Judean date palm, a tree extinct for over 1800 years.

"He is a big boy now," says Elaine Solowey. "He is over three meters [ten feet] tall, he's got a few offshoots, he has flowers, and his pollen is good," she says. "We pollinated a female with his pollen, a wild [modern] female, and yeah, he can make dates."

In the years since Methuselah first sprouted, Dr. Solowey has successfully germinated a handful of other date palms from ancient seeds recovered at archaeological sites around the Dead Sea. "I'm trying to figure out how to plant an ancient date grove," she says.

To do that, she will need to grow a female plant from an ancient seed as a mate for Methuselah. So far, at least two of the other ancient seeds that have sprouted are female.

Genetic tests indicate that Methuselah is most closely related to an ancient variety of date palm from Egypt known as Hayany, which fits with a legend that says dates came to Israel with the children of the Exodus, Dr. Solowey says.

"It is pretty clear that Methuselah is a western date from North Africa rather than from Iraq, Iran, Babylon," she explains. "You can't confirm a legend, of course."

In addition to Solowey's hopes of establishing an orchard of ancient dates, she and her colleagues are interested in studying the plants to see if they have any unique medicinal properties.

The other date palms sprouted from ancient seeds look similar to Methuselah; distinguishing characteristics include a sharp angle between the fronds and spine.

Source:  National Geographic