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Energy Initiative



Professor Moti Herskowitz is a professor of chemical engineering and researcher in the fields of advanced materials, catalysis and multiphase reactors, was appointed Vice-President and Dean for Research and Development on September 2003. Prof. Herskowitz is responsible for promoting and facilitating all aspects of fundamental and applied aspects of R&D, including the diverse infrastructure, the marketing and management.      

Prof. Herskowitz received his B.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis. He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at BGU in 1979 as lecturer and was promoted to Full Professor in 1992.   

Prof. Herskowitz has served as the chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering. He established and became the director of the Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development in 1995 leading many of its research programs. He published over 120 papers and 20 patents based on basic and applied research. Some patents deal with novel renewable and clean fuels as well as processes for their production. Others are related to environmental catalysis and green chemistry. Prof. Herskowitz has been associated with Exxon (Mobil) Research and Engineering Company for 25 years and was a consultant for a number of companies.     



Professor Sammy Boussiba is director of the Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. Prof. Boussiba is President of the International Society of Applied Phycology, Director of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands since 2008 and a member of the Governing Council of the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences in Israel since 2009. Prof. Boussiba spearheads the study of microalgae for the production of high value products such as carotenoids or PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and biological waste-water treatment under production of algal biomass for fodder or energy and recovery of water, waste nutrients and carbon in integrated waste management systems. This approach is especially relevant in drylands where food and water resources are scarce.



Professor David Faiman, Chair of the Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and Head of the Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center, focuses on the development of affordable solar energy. Prof. Faiman has performed pioneering research in the area of Concentrator Photovoltaics, is widely published and has chaired, or been a member of, numerous national and international committees. He is currently Israel's representative to the Task 8 Photovoltaic Specialist Working Group of the International Energy Agency and has co-authored their latest book: Energy from the Desert: Socio-economic, Financial, Technical and Environmental Aspects.


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Dr. Eugene Katz, Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, focuses on applied solar energy; photovoltaics; fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and nanostructures for photovoltaics and optoelectronics; synthesis of carbon and inorganic fullerenes and nanotubes by concentrated sunlight; photovoltaic characterization of nanocrystalline, fullerene-based and organic solar cells; photovoltaic characterization of high-efficient solar cells under ultra-high concentrations of sunlight.

Eugene A. Katz received a MSc in Materials Science (1982) and Ph.D. in solid state physics (1990) at Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys. In 1995, as a visiting scientist at the National Solar Energy Center of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), he started to investigate growth, structure and photoelectrical properties of fullerene thin films. In 1997, he joined the BGU's Institute for Desert Research and have been working in the Department for Solar Energy and Environmental Physics ever since. In 2006 he became a member of the Ilse-Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at the BGU. His research interests include photovoltaics based on non-traditional semiconductors (fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, conjugated polymers), photovoltaic characterization of concentrator solar cells and solar synthesis of nanomaterials. He has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals on these topics as well as popular scientific book and a number of articles on history of science and 'fullerene-like structures in nanomaterials, living organisms and architecture'.



Dr. Daniel Feuermann, Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, focuses on high-concentration photovoltaics; production of nanomaterials using highly concentrated solar radiation; energy in buildings.

Research Interests:
High-concentration photovoltaics. Production of nanomaterials using highly concentrated solar radiation. Application of non-imaging optics to illumination and irradiation problems in high-tech industry. Design of optics for concentrating solar collectors.

Research Projects:
High-flux infrared radiation and solar energy concentrators - approaching the thermodynamiclimit to optical concentration with practical, compact devices. Tailoring illumination optical systems to prescribed flux distributions at maximum radiative efficiency. High temperature furnace design for production of inorganic nanomaterials by concentrated noncoherent light. In collaboration with J. Gordon and Weizmann Institute. Testing of solar cells. Selective coatings with A. Kribus, Tel Aviv University, D. Mandler, Hebrew University.


Prof. Isaac A. Meir is an architect and town planner (B.Arch.T.Pl. and M.Sc., Technion, I.I.T.; Ph.D., BGU) and has been Chair of the Desert Architecture & Urban Planning, and Dept. of Man in the Desert (2005-2010). His current research interests include sustainable, environment conscious design in arid zones with special focus on energy and other resources conservation; Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) in buildings; Life Cycle Energy Assessment (LCEA) of building materials, systems and buildings; uptake and integration of green technologies; the microclimate of open spaces; evolution and adaptation of building technology and types, with special focus on the vernacular and low-cost low-tech retrofit; urbanization among the Bedouin of Israel; proactive contingency planning; and alternative information dissemination and education. He is co-author of Energy Aspects of Design in Arid Zones (Hebrew 1990, 1994, English 1998) and Design Manual for Bio-Climatic Construction in Israel (2010), an online interactive e-book on energy conserving, environment adapted, green design. In recent years he has headed a number of multi-disciplinary teams working on green technologies integration and implementation.



Prof. Eli Korin, Department of Chemical Engineering, focuses on Energy storage: thermal energy storage in phase change materials and in unsaturated soils for application in solar green-house.

Professor Eli Korin received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in1982. He was then awarded a Bantrell Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1984-1986). During 1986-1990, he worked at the Applied Research Institutes of BGU and joined the Chemical Engineering Department of BGU in 1990. He served as the Chairman of the Department during 2002-2008 and was reelected for the period 2011-2014. Since 2007, he has held the Lady Cohen Podium Chair of Chemical Engineering Processes.

Professor Korin's research team is engaged in the development new electrodes based on the incorporation of metals, alloys and metal oxide nanoparticles into porous carbon substrates for fuel cells and water treatment applications. Recently, the team has extended its research activities into the field of photoelectrochemical production of fuels, with emphasis on two subjects: a) the production of solar hydrogen by water splitting, and b) the reduction (electrochemical - at this stage, and photoelectrochemical – at later stages) of carbon dioxide to fuels.
Recently, the team has renewed its R&D activities in the area of thermal energy storage in phase-change materials for solar heating and energy conservation in buildings and the control of the operating temperature of electronic equipment. The research focuses on the development of new energy storage materials and improvement of the heat transfer rate for specific applications.
The team is also engaged in R&D directed at increasing the recovery and reducing the volume of the by-product concentrate solutions of water desalination by reverse osmosis. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the team of Dr. Jack Gilron (Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research). The research has led to the establishment of a start-up company, Rotec Ltd. 



Prof. Ira A. Weinstock, Department of Chemistry, received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1990, after which he led a team developing water-based catalysts for biomass utilization for the United States Department of Agriculture. He joined Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 2006. 

Research in the Weinstock laboratory focuses on the use of metal oxygen cluster anions (polyoxometalates, or POMs) as well defined molecular and supramolecular catalysts and as components (building blocks and templates) for the self-assembly of functional nanostructures. Energy-related research includes fundamental studies of electron transfer and oxygen reactivity, POM-based energy-storage systems, and the development of multi-functional metal-nanoparticle assemblies and POM-protected semiconductor nano-crystals as photochemical and photo-electrochemical catalysts for artificial photosynthesis.