Director of the Center for Energy Research
The Energy Research Center was established in 1980 to promote and encourage research in all aspects of energy-related research. Energy research covers a broad range of disciplines, and all the Faculties in the Institute are involved. The basic philosophy of the Center is to keep the various energy projects within the framework of the departments in which they originated as long as possible and to promote close contact between scientists working in the various fields, thereby encouraging innovation.
The Center provides facilities shared by all the research groups, holds seminars and disseminates information.
Most of the energy research work done in the Institute is related to the exploitation of solar radiation. There are research projects in the direct conversion area, in thermal electricity generation, in thermally driven chemical processes, and in photochemistry.
Within the commissioning of the Canadian Institute for the Energies and its Solar Research Facilities Unit, and the operation of the Schaeffer Solar Furnace, it became possible to carry out many new projects.
Research on the gasification of carbonaceous materials was continued. In this program, concentrated solar light is used for gasification of low value materials like heavy oil, coal and urban waste. At high temperature of the solar receiver, the carbonaceous materials are reacted with Zn oxide to produce CO and Zn vapor. The reaction products are then reacted with water to produce hydrogen and recover the Zn oxide.
High temperature receivers
A new generation of receivers that can reach higher temperatures by direct heating of compressed gas is being developed. The goal of the research is to achieve temperatures above 2000°C. These receivers will be used in the future to operate a new generation of thermal machines or chemical systems that are now under development.
Novel solar optical systems
The goal of this project is to achieve peak solar concentrations above 20,000 in solar central receiver systems. This goal will be achieved by closed loop continuous tracking of the sun by heliostats, improved imaging optics and new concepts of nonimaging optics. High peak solar concentration will improve the performance of existing solar thermal systems, and will allow in the future achieving higher temperatures with the newly developed solar receivers.
Work on solar-pumped lasers continued. The focus of the present research is to develop phase conjugate mirrors for high power solar lasers to improve beam quality that will support in the future transmission of high power lasers, and communication in space systems. In another research, gas phase solar molecular dimer lasers are being developed. These lasers will be the first generation of tunable directly pumped solar lasers.
Technology transfer to industry
The following major activities took place during last year:
An industrial consortium, with four Israeli industries and two universities, which was established in 1995 as part of the MAGNET Program of the Israeli Ministry of Industry for the industrialization of the solar technologies that were developed under the framework of the Energy Research Center, completed its successful second year of operation. The goal of these projects is to develop the technologies of small- and large-scale solar thermal and solar photovoltaic electric systems, and solar lasers.
An industrial consortium based on the cooperation between American and Israeli industries was formed under the framework of the Joint Israeli-American Commission for Advanced Technologies. The goal of this project is to develop solar thermal plants based on the concept of the solar reflective tower.
An industrial consortium based on cooperation between Israeli and European organizations was established under the Fourth Framework Program of the European Union. The goal of this organization is to develop advanced solar-assisted systems that will use synthesis gas obtained by solar reforming to operate gas turbines and fuel cells.