Archive for Green Technology from Israel

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

by on April 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I have been coming to Israel since 1970 and most of us who are Vatik (veteran) Israel visitors are well aware of the Tel Aviv/Jerusalem divide within Israel. In a sense each represents a different vision of the values of the State of Israel?kind of like how we environmentally aware/self-actualizing selves in Northern California view our water-wasting, materialistic brethren in Southern California :-).

Tel Aviv is a secular, Western, fashionable urban center striving to be hip, cool, thoroughly modern and global. Jerusalem is a religious matrix for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is a magnet for tourists who seek spiritual connection. Yet, the city’s citizens, both Arab and Ultra- Orthodox, are becoming poorer, more strife-riven, and divided.

My experience this visit in Tel Aviv, where we have spent most of our time, has been very positive. Going through the historic neighborhoods of Neve Zedek and Neve Shalom (areas built before municipal Tel Aviv in the late 1800’s) and the new hip district by the port, I can see that renovation and historic preservation have begun to be taken seriously. Reminds me of SOMA (South of Market ) in San Francisco. Most of the tech development is in Tel Aviv and most of the bloggers, entrepreneurs, and VC’s we have met are based in Tel Aviv.

This time I only had a day in Jerusalem (you can see my blog entries for extended time in Jerusalem in jefffinisrael.wordpress.com

Much of our tour in Jerusalem is beautifully documented by the other bloggers. Jerusalem did its magic for the participants and some were visibly moved. Hopefully, Jerusalem will be able to benefit from transition to peace. But I am not holding my breath.

Solel on Solar Energy

by on April 15, 2008 at 5:00 am

Solel I know very little about solar energy, partly because I have my head buried in Internet stuff and partly because I live in a country that doesn’t understand the urgency of alternative energy solutions. So, while the Googles of the world and wealthy visionaries pay attention to this issue, its not a topic of discussion in small towns throughout America.

We remain a wasteful country and have never been hit hard by rations, whether its energy, gas or water in the same way others have experienced around the world. Prices go up but we continue to overuse our natural resources.

Living in South Africa in the 80s, two and sometimes three children would use the same bath water, and then we’d use the same water to feed our gardens. People were always conscious about electricity since they had so many power outages and it was expensive.

Spain is doing the right thing by investing in solar infrastructure. It’s not rocket science. Solar thermal power is inherently local, is a free and secure resource, is widely available and its highly predictable. Most people understand that solar essentially uses reflectors to concentrate the sun’s energy and create heat.

After these tubes cool down however, its tricky to keep things warm for long, even though you can store some of this heat using molt and salt, which takes the heat from the oil and then stores it for 5-6 hours so it can be usable in the evening.

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Let’s look at the facts and what our options are. Coal is expensive. Once you pay off the loans from solar, its free. Those who think about the long term picture and benefits that can be derived will win in the end.

I went to Solel’s plant today, a world leader in the development and implementation of solar thermal technology in northern Israel. Solel’s technology converts sunshine into useful thermal energy and subsequently into electricity by way of parabolic mirrors that concentrate solar energy onto solar thermal receivers containing a heat transfer fluid.

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The heat transfer fluid is circulated and heated through receivers, which is then released to a series of heat exchangers to generate super-heated steam. From the moment the sun rises until it dips over the horizon, all of its rays are captured and converted into usable energy. Solel is doing remarkable things and attempting to change the way we think about energy.

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