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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Energy Matters: February 2019



Israel's spacecraft Beresheet (Genesis) successfully launched from Florida, beginning its seven-week journey to the moon. (AP/Terry Renna)

New U.S.-Israel Energy Center to be Managed by BIRD Foundation

On Feb. 22, the U.S. Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy—in conjunction with the Israel Innovation Authority—announced that the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation had been selected to manage the newly established U.S.-Israel Energy Center. The U.S. and Israeli governments will each allocate $8 million for the initial two-year launch of the new center. The total value of the center’s awards could reach $80 million. “We are proud to announce the BIRD Foundation to manage the U.S.-Israel Energy Center. This Center represents another strand in the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “The partnership between our two countries built on our shared values has advanced the cause of human freedom, dignity and peace, and with the help of the BIRD Foundation managing the new Energy Center, the joint quest for science and innovation.”

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Israel Aims to Become Fourth Nation to Land on Moon

On Feb. 21, Israel’s first spacecraft to the moon successfully launched from Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket, beginning its seven-week journey. Aiming to become just the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the moon, the 1.5 meters high and two meters diameter lander is expected to reach the moon on April 11. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine praised the launch, calling it a “historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon.” NASA is providing key support to the mission, including communications support and observations from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

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Outer Space Tech Used by Israeli Startup to Find Water Leaks on Earth

Israeli startup Utilis has discovered a method for detecting water leakages in national water infrastructure, the Times of Israel reported on Feb. 24. The company views the Earth’s surface from outer space, using technology initially created to search for water on Mars and Venus. According to The World Bank, 32 billion cubic meters of fresh water are lost to leakage every year. Additionally, it found that the amount lost to leakage in developing nations alone is enough to meet the water needs of 90 million people.

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Israeli Company Creates New Home Device that Extracts Water from Air

Already known for extracting water from thin air to help water-scarce nations around the world, Israeli company Watergen is introducing a new at-home device that could alter the water industry, NoCamels reported on Jan. 28. Called “Genny,” the new water generator can produce between 25-30 liters (6.6-7.0 gallons) of water per day and is the company’s first at-home and office appliance. “From an environmental perspective, we are one of the few companies in the world that can have a drastic impact on the use of plastic around the world. We want to roll out a program in the United States that will bring WaterGen units to college campuses that are seeking to become more plastic free and environmentally aware,” said President of Watergen USA Yehuda Kaploun. Over the years, Watergen has been used in the United States to help first responders and emergency workers respond to natural disasters, including in California, Texas and Florida.

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Type: Energy Matters