Home March 2013 Divesting from Oil Dependency

Divesting from Oil Dependency

What if someone told you that when you flush your toilet, you could create usable energy?  That as the water runs through the pipes, the flow of water could generate electricity.  Would you believe it?

That’s exactly what Israeli scientists are doing these days.  Thinking “outside the box.”  Researching the power of water in every imaginable way beyond possible.  And, according to Dr. Daryl Temkin, who spoke recently for the Bureau of Jewish Education’s Dinner with a Scholar at the home of Yael and Eyal Aronoff, they are exporting solar energy that’s already in use around the world.  Such is the power and genius of tiny Israel’s technology wizards.  The dinner, one of many held around the county to support BJE programs, had 56 guests.

Temkin is the founder of Innovations Consulting and an authority on Israeli alternative energy sources as founder-director of the Israel Institute for Alternative Energy Advancement.  But he also has a deeper agenda, and that is to debunk the worldwide delegitimization of Israel through his talks and his Israel Education Institute.  California, he noted, leads all the states in solar energy developments and commercial installations, and every major installation in California is based on Israeli technology.  These include Bright Source, the company whose products are so visible in the Mohave Desert.

Temkin said we have to divest ourselves of the dependency on foreign oil: “We are so dependent on foreign oil that by 2009, 69 percent of our oil came from foreign sources,” even though we produced so much oil of our own.  “When gas prices go up, [as they are doing today] that’s when we get concerned.”  Here in America, we actually produce a lot of oil, and besides transportation, it is used in many products, including cosmetics.  He said it is important to remember, that “every time we fill up our cars with gas, we are supporting our enemies.”  Hence the importance of research and promotion of solar energy, and the reason for Israel’s intense interest in this field.

What is little known outside of Israel is that Tsvi Tabor is the father of solar energy and the first to make it work.  Today, Israel leads the world in solar energy.  His successor is Professor David Faiman, who is considered the “new” father of solar energy.  Faiman came up with the idea of using 8 inch by 8 inch pieces of silicon to heat water in a unique process.  Now the BF Solar Company, based just outside of Tel Aviv, uses this technology.

Temkin said that Brazil is now oil free, “while the Western world sleeps.  Brazil has its own source of energy: sugar cane, which is cheaper to grow, and uses less water.  We tried corn,” but that has proved a poor source of ethanol, and too expensive.  As far as water is concerned, Israel was the first to use drip irrigation, as opposed to 70 percent of the world’s fresh water used by farmers everywhere to flood their acreage.  He said that “Israel is famous for drip irrigation” and now saves billions of gallons of water each year.  With this type of irrigation, the plant grows faster and more robustly.  Moreover, recycled water is used in agriculture, added Temkin, and there again, Israel is a world leader in recycling water.

In Eilat, the desalination of water has been going on for years. Thinking outside the box, again!

Factoid: Did you know that Israel created the first cherry tomato?

Israel’s produce can be found around the world, despite embargoes by many countries.  Temkin told his audience that several weeks ago authorities in Lebanon found a huge amount of green peppers that had been grown in Israel in a grocery store.  How did they get into Lebanon?  Big question.  The Army was called in to investigate.  But the fact remains that Israeli produce is getting into Muslim countries.  The Muslim world is very different from the Western world where healthy, life-saving food is important.  Anything coming from Israel is de facto destroyed by Muslim countries.  Better sickness or death than to eat anything produced in Israel, Temkin noted.

The Jewish people have to change positions, he said, and “to understand that to be free means not free, but freedom with responsibility,” and that’s what Israel is doing: being responsible for everything it creates to help the world.

Some of the other environmental-oriented companies he mentioned and pictured are Pythagoras, which uses solar energy for windows in commercial high-rise buildings; and, by the way, he said, it’s an Israeli law that all high-rise buildings must be powered by solar hot water.  Solaris, which gathers solar energy from large bodies of water, and Leviathan Turbines has created a round windmill, which can be seen demonstrated outside Eilat.

Factoid: Did you know Israel created the first microprocessor?

A woman researcher at the Technion has been investigating creating energy from the movement of cars on a road.  She figured that placing sensors in a roadbed could be activated by the weight of cars driving over the road and squeezing the sensor, thereby creating an electrical pulse just waiting to be harvested for energy.  Then, following her instincts, she figured this could work for railway ties, planes on the tarmac, plus any other type of vehicles.

Billionaire Warren Buffet, one of the most prominent American leaders to invest major billions in Israel, said that if you are going to the Middle East for oil, don’t stop in Israel, but if you are going for brains and energy and integrity, then stop.  But according to recent news reports, that suggestion may not work now.  Latest reports are that Israel is sitting on shale holding 250 billion gallons of oil and natural gas, possibly more than Saudi Arabia.  This is sitting on top of a water aquifer.  Temkin says that Israel would use a new, unique technique to extract the product, sort of like laparoscopic surgery in the operating room, unlike the devastating fracking process used in the United States, which can ultimately contaminate the water.

So now one should question why Time Magazine printed on its front cover a few years ago: “Why Israel Can’t Win.”  Temkin says the big question should be: “Why Does the World Need Israel to Lose?”

The Jewish people have taken on a big responsibility to try and save lives in so many different ways, he said.  “We have to keep crossing that sea and bringing new ideas to this world.”  He enumerated the patents garnered by Israel in comparison to other countries. Between 1980 and 2000:

Egypt, 77 patents in a country of 80 million people

Saudi Arabia, 171 patents in a country of 27-30 million people

Israel, 7,652 patents in a country of 2.8 million people

Let’s see what happens in the next 20 years, Temkin concluded.

“Israel is the place that can make the impossible possible,” said Netanyahu at the Machar Conference in Israel, while some there quipped, “If you don’t believe in miracles, then you are not a realist.”  So, Israel continues to make miracles happen day by day.

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