Mar. 12, 2020

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New energy-efficient technologies will focus on water desalination, purification and reuse

 

EVANSTON, Ill. and BEER-SHEVA, Israel — Northwestern University and BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announced today the initiation of a U.S.-Israel consortium led by both universities for the development of new technologies to solve global water challenges.

 

The multi-institutional, international program, called the Collaborative Water-Energy Research Center (CoWERC), has a total budget of $21.4 million, including a $9.2 million grant over 5 years from the U.S. Department of Energy and Israel's Ministry of Energy together with the Israel Innovation Authority. CoWERC is part of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center program administered by the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation.

 

Working at the intersection of water and energy, the team will research, develop and commercialize technology in three areas: energy-efficient enhanced water supply, wastewater reuse and resource recovery, and energy-water systems. All CoWERC projects are binational and include university, national laboratory and industrial partners. Technology development efforts will culminate in pilot testing at water and wastewater facilities in both Israel and the U.S. After being validated, the new technologies could potentially be implemented around the world.​


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“We are excited to launch this unique water-energy binational initiative together with our partners," said Amit Gross, professor of environmental and water sciences at the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and director of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at BGU. "Since desalination technologies were developed at BGU, we are ideally positioned to help research and solve some of the world's most challenging water issues."

 

“Water and energy are inextricably linked: water purification and distribution are primary uses of energy, while water is essential for energy production," said Aaron Packman, professor of civil and environmental engineering in McCormick School of Engineering and director of Northwestern's Center for Water Research. “CoWERC will enable us to develop new technologies that will reduce the energy needed for desalination, improve recovery of water and energy, and support safe water reuse."

 

"Interestingly, urban wastewater contains more energy than the amount needed for its purification," said Moshe Herzberg, professor of environmental engineering at ZIWR. “Our aim is to recover this energy, along with nutrients, and reuse the treated water."​


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Professors Packman and Herzberg co-direct CoWERC.

 

The highly collaborative consortium includes partners from leading research institutions, water utilities and private companies. Led by Northwestern University, the U.S. team includes Argonne National Laboratory, Yale University, DuPont Water Solutions, Evoqua Water Technologies, Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, CycloPure and Current. Led by Ben-Gurion University, the Israeli team includes the Technion Israel Institute of Technology,

Mekorot-Israel National Water Company, Fluence Corporation and the Galilee Society.​


About Northwestern University

Founded in 1851, Northwestern University is one of the country's leading private research and teaching universities with an enrollment of approximately 8,000 full-time undergraduate students and approximately 8,000 full-time graduate and professional students and approximately 2,000 part-time students on campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, and Doha, Qatar. Northwestern combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. Northwestern provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth in a setting enhanced by the richness of Chicago.

 

About BGN Technologies

BGN Technologies is the technology company of Ben-Gurion University, Israel. The company brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN Technologies has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, hi-tech, and cleantech as well as initiating leading technology hubs, incubators, and accelerators. Over the past decade, it has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, IBM, PayPal, Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, Merck, Sigma and Bayer, securing value and growth for Ben-Gurion University as well as for the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.​


MEDIA CONTACTS:

Amanda Morris (Northwestern) at 847-467-6790 or amandamo@northwestern.edu

Tsipi Haitovsky (BGN Technologies) at +972-52-5989-892 or tsipihai5@gmail.com​​