A recent Jewish Telegraphic Agency article by Dina Kraft on clean technology takes a good look at a number of projects by Israeli clean tech industries and Israel’s military branches in the realm of renewable and alternative energy.
“Beating swords into green plowshares in Israel,” the article talks about solar energy energy companies such as Bright Source Energy, which is involved in building solar energy plants in California’s Mojave Desert and other locations; and Rotem, which utilizes technologies developed in Israel’s aeronautical defense industry.
Rotem (we covered their work with the solar power company Aora here) is working on a number of commercial renewable energy projects involving solar and wind power, hydrogen fuel power, and biofuels. Some of Rotem’s many projects involving the environment and renewable energy are a hydrogen storage research center, a center for geology and hydrology applied research, a center for environmental sciences, and a thermal solar energy applications technology center.
The Bright Source solar energy plants in California and a wind turbine farm located near Kibbutz Ein Zivan on the Golan Heights (pictured above ) are utilizing technology that formerly was used in developing and manufacturing rotor blades for military helicopters.
Israel’s Aircraft Industries are now involved in developing technology to produce cleaner and greener commercial aircraft that will be able to taxi on the runways of commercial airports without using their jet engines, according to Kraft’s article. This will not only be more environmentally friendly, but will result in a big fuel savings.
In the automotive sector, Israeli company Better Place is working on more efficient batteries for electric cars, and has now entered into joint ventures with automobile companies Renault and Nissan. The technology used in developing these batteries is derived from the aerospace industry.
Meni Maor, vice president for development at Rotem, commented that these kinds of projects have resulted from a need to both preserve the environment as well as due to the increasing cost of oil.
“We definitely leverage a lot of know-how in a variety of disciplines — including materials, chemistry, thermal dynamics — accumulated from our experience with military and homeland security technology for developing renewable energy technologies,” Meni Maor told the JTA.
Former IDF military officers, including retired General Yom-Tov Samina, are involved in many of these projects, putting knowledge learned during their military careers into raising funds for these development projects as well as being involved directly in the projects themselves. An example of their direct involvement is former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplansky, who is now holding the position of CEO of Better Place’s Israel operations.
The former military generals are very enthusiastic about their new careers and are happy to be making their contribution to preserving the environment.
“Our training involving the importance of learning how to follow through on a mission has contributed to being successful in these new projects,” a former intelligence unit head was quoted as saying.
Article by Maurice Picow appearing courtesy Green Prophet.
[photo credit: Karin Kloosterman]