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Ben-Gurion U. part of expert consortium to create Israeli Renewable Energy Center

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, July 7, 2011 -- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) will be part of a new consortium designated by the Israel Council for Higher Education that will be creating the Israeli Center for Research Excellence (I-CORE) focusing on renewable energies.

The group of 27 senior researchers will include nine researchers from Ben-Gurion University who are leaders in production of biomass; photo-catalysis of CO2 and water to fuels; gasification of biomass; and production of liquid fuels from biomass and mixtures of CO2 and water. The Technion and the Weizmann Institute of Science are partners in the consortium.

The BGU team is led by Vice President and Dean for Research and Development Prof. Moti Herskowitz, and Prof. Sammy Boussiba, director of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands. Prof. Herskowitz, a chemical engineer and director of the Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development researches cutting-edge alternative fuels. Prof. Boussiba is world-renowned in the field of algae biotechnology and leads several major European FP7 projects.

The group also includes BGU Prof. Dr. Taleb Mokari, who was recently awarded a grant from the European Commission for 1.5 million euros to further his groundbreaking work in photovoltaic nanomaterials.

The I-CORE program areas that BGU researchers are involved in are:

  • Development of plants, algae and cyanobacteria genetically selected or engineered for large-scale production of energy-rich biomass as a biofuel feedstock.

  • Efficient and cost-effective direct conversion of solar energy into liquid fuels by photoelectrolytic and photocatalytic water splitting and CO2 reduction.

  • Non-catalytic conversion of low-grade biomass of any type into a mixture of H2 and CO2 that will serve as a feedstock for liquid fuel production by a catalytic process.

  • Development of catalysts and catalytic processes for sustainable and environmentally friendly liquid fuel production from a variety of feedstock materials.

"We are excited that BGU's world renowned renewable energy experts are working together with other Israeli researchers to help develop viable alternative energy alternatives," explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "We are optimistic that innovations that emanate from our research initiatives will solve future energy problems."

Sponsored by the Israel Science Foundation and the Council of Higher Education, I-CORE's goal is to develop a series of national research centers of excellence to strengthen Israel's role as a world leader in scientific research and stem the brain drain that has led to thousands of Israeli scientists working abroad for lack of opportunity.


Contact: Andrew Lavin
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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