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The National Institute for Sustainable Energy

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, said that Israel would face three main challenges to its survival: security, water—and energy. How right he was.

The perils of reliance on traditional energy sources are today an accepted fact, in Israel and throughout the world. Non-renewable sources of energy are costly to produce; with the world’s energy demands projected to quadruple by 2050, a dependence on finite resources will soon become too expensive to sustain. Equally worrisome are the destructive effects of fossil fuels on our planet, the extent of which has in recent times become unavoidably clear.

But for Israel, a small country in a fragile region, the problem is especially acute. Reliance on its neighbors’ oil and natural-gas supplies is unreliable during peacetime and dangerous in times of conflict. With its centralized electricity grid, natural disasters or global supply shortages can easily bring the country to its knees. And while its newfound natural gas fields may have shifted the regional balance of economic power for the better, a heavy investment in gas infrastructure means shackling the country to a single form of energy for decades, instead of developing safer and cheaper alternatives.

Building on our faculty’s vast expertise in the fields of sustainable-energy sources, large energy storage, and hydrogen economy, as well as on its successful experience in technology transfer, Bar-Ilan’s National Institute for Sustainable Energy is making ambitious strides toward meeting Israel’s energy challenge, and proving that academic excellence paired with industry is an unstoppable engine for innovation.

 

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A Secure Israel and a Sustainable World

Founded in partnership with the government of the State of Israel, the National Institute for Sustainable Energy (NISE) is a first-of-its-kind, cross-disciplinary research-and-development center designed to maximize the potential of Israel’s top energy scientists, entrepreneurs, and engineers. By collaborating with an array of Israeli researchers and startups, international companies, and UnBox, Bar-Ilan’s program for facilitating researchers’ transition into entrepreneurs, NISE helps to move energy technologies from the lab to the production line in the shortest possible time. The results—from cars that run on clean energy sources to cities powered by microgrids based on photovoltaic cells—can both meet and reshape global market needs and help Israel lead the way to a sustainable future.

NISE works in five areas with key implications for energy innovation:

  • Batteries: To make central power-supply systems more efficient and distributed and to mitigate the effects of global warming, NISE is developing new electro-chemical power sources for large energy conversion and storage. For example, our scientists are developing rechargeable aqueous and non-aqueous batteries based on abundant elements for use in Li ion and Na ion batteries, both of which provide extremely effective energy turn-over per cycle and excellent safety features at low cost.
  • Electro-mobility: Together with industry leaders such as GM, BASF, and the Volkswagen Consortium, energy scientists at Bar-Ilan are developing next-generation advanced batteries for electric vehicles, small vehicles such as scooters and electric bicycles, and unmanned vehicles such as drones. They’re also working on new electrodes materials and electrolyte solutions, and have composed nearly practical battery prototypes in cooperation with an engineering start-up on Bar-Ilan’s campus.
  • Hydrogen Economy: Bar-Ilan is home to a world-renowned fuel cells lab, led by Israel’s leader in the field. Together with partners from academia, industry, and security from Israel and around the world, the lab is developing new materials for fuel cells and advanced fuel cell technologies, which convert the energy stored in hydrogen into electricity both efficiently and with a by-product of pure water. The lab has also succeeded in developing a disruptive fuel cell technology for decentralized power storage and supply
  • Network Science: Bar-Ilan scientists are analyzing the structure and dynamics of the networks at the heart of modern society, from transportation infrastructure to power systems, with an eye toward identifying their architectural bottlenecks, Achilles heels, and potential for cascading failures. They then use this information to ensure the resilience of networks in the face of potential threats and enhance their efficiency during routine operations.
  • Smart Transportation: Together with researchers at The Bar-Ilan Smart Cities Center, a one-of-a-kind R&D program that uses the university campus as a living lab, NISE offers researchers, industry partners, and entrepreneurs an opportunity to implement and assess a range of smart-transportation innovations, including collaborative transportation, the operation of autonomous vehicles, the mechanics and logistics of charging of electric vehicles, and the design and management of smart public transportation models.

 

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The (Fuel) Choice is Ours

By making Bar-Ilan a beacon for sustainable-energy players around the world, you can help bring clean, cost-effective sources of power to the millions of people around the globe who lack it—and attain Ben-Gurion’s goal of energy independence at the same time.
Support Bar-Ilan’s new sustainable-energy ecosystem