Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and the Weizmann Institute of Science have won the tender to create an Israeli Center for Research Excellence (I-CORE) focusing on renewable liquid fuels.
The group of 27 senior researchers will include nine researchers from Ben-Gurion University who are leaders in production of biomass, photo-catalysis of CO2 and water to fuels, gasification of biomass and production of liquid fuels from biomass and mixtures CO2 and water.
The BGU team is led by Prof. Moti Herskowitz, Director of the Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development and Vice President and Dean for Research and Development, and Prof. Sammy Boussiba, Director of the French Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands. Prof. Herskowitz's research focuses on cutting-edge alternative fuels and Prof. Boussiba is world-renowned in the field of biotechnology of algae, leading several major FP7 projects. The group also includes Dr. Taleb Mokari, who has recently been awarded an ERC grant from the European Commission for 1.5 million Euros to further his related, pioneering work in the field of photovoltaic nanomaterials.
The BGU team participates in four of the five topics of the CORE program:
✔ Development of plants, algae and cyanobacteria – genetically selected or engineered – for large-scale production (under conventional or dryland growth conditions) of energy-rich biomass as a biofuel feedstock by exploiting recent advances in metabolomics, genetics, genomics and agrotechniques - S. Boussiba, S. Barak, N. Lazarovitch, M. Sagi;
✔ Efficient and cost-effective direct conversion of solar energy into liquid fuels by photoelectrolytic and photocatalytic water splitting and CO2 reduction - T. Mokari, I. Weinstock, M. Bar-Sadan;
✔ Non-catalytic conversion of low-grade biomass of any type into a mixture of H2 and CO2 that will serve as a feedstock for liquid fuel production by a catalytic process - E. Bar-Ziv, M. Herskowitz, S. Boussiba;
✔ Development of catalysts and catalytic processes for the sustainable and environmentally friendly production of liquid fuels from a variety of feedstock materials - M. Herskowitz, M.V. Landau.