International partnership between New York State and the State of Israel to grow nanotechnology industry

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today  announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an  international partnership between New York State and the State of Israel,  through a collaboration involving the College of Nanoscale Science and  Engineering (CNSE) and the Israeli Industry Center for Research &  Development (MATIMOP), that will significantly expand business, technology, and  economic relations in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, while enabling  billions of dollars in new investments and the creation of thousands of  high-tech jobs in New York and Israel.
“I am so proud of the partnership between the State of Israel  and College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which continues to be the  leader in the global nanotechnology industry,” said Governor Cuomo. “This  partnership will strengthen our state’s relationship with the State of Israel,  while also investing in a thriving industry that will create jobs and expand the  economy right here in New York.”
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, “This partnership is yet  another example of how Governor Cuomo has strengthened New York State’s global  reputation as an attractive place to do business and create jobs. I thank the  State of Israel for partnering with New York State to ensure the continued  growth of the global nanotechnology industry. New York State is at the forefront  of this industry, and I commend Dr. Alain Kaloyeros for his leadership and hard  work on this agreement. Through this partnership, the College of Nanoscale  Science and Engineering can continue to drive this emerging and rapidly growing  field.”
Nili Shalev, Israel’s Economic Minister to North America, said, “This agreement is the first significant step to stimulate scientific and  industrial collaboration in areas where both states excel. The partnership will  enable Israeli companies access to CNSE’s renowned facilities and collaborate  with leading American and multinational companies on campus. It introduces many  other opportunities, including industrial R&D and commercialization joint  ventures, natural synergy between the two G450 Consortia of both states, and the  enhancement of academic research in Nano scaling. I would like to congratulate  Governor Cuomo, Lt. Governor Duffy and Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, the CEO of CNSE, for  supporting this initiative.”
Dan Vilenski, Former Chairman of Applied Materials’ Israeli  subsidiary and Board member of the Israeli National Nanotechnology Initiative,  said, “Nanotechnology is one of the major areas in which both Israel and New  York have a great deal to offer. Israel is the leader in metrology and  inspection in the semiconductor market, and the State of New York has built one  of the leading facilities in the world for Nano scaling research and will play a  significant role in shaping the future of this industry.”
State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said, “The  governor has fostered an innovation environment in New York that is drawing top  scientists from around the world, and through SUNY’s globally renowned  NanoCollege, the potential for advancement and discovery is limitless. Only a  world-class university system like SUNY can generate an international  collaboration and investment of this magnitude. I want to welcome our new  Israeli partners to New York and to the SUNY system. I am sure our combined  expertise and passion for academic excellence and high tech innovation will  yield tremendous results.”
CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros said, “As  further testament to the pioneering leadership, strategic vision, and critical  investments of Governor Andrew Cuomo, which have truly established New York as  the epicenter for the global nanotechnology industry, the NanoCollege is  delighted to enter into this partnership with the most prestigious Israeli  Industry Center. In harnessing the power of nanotechnology innovation to bring  together corporate and university partners from the U.S. and Israel, this  collaboration sets the stage for leading-edge advances in nanoscale  technologies, and opens the door for high-tech growth that will provide exciting  career and economic opportunities for individuals and companies across the New  New York.”
The partnership announced today between CNSE and MATIMOP, acting  on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in the ministry of Industry  Trade and Labor, builds on and leverages the multi-billion dollar investments in  New York’s nanotechnology industry under the leadership of Governor Cuomo. This  partnership will facilitate and promote bilateral and multilateral research,  development, and commercialization programs in innovative nanoscale technologies  between corporations and academic institutions in the U.S. and Israel.
Through the agreement, the Israeli government has allocated up  to $300 million a year to fund access for Israeli companies and universities to  CNSE’s state-of-the-art 300mm wafer and 450mm wafer infrastructure, facilities,  resources, and know-how, which are unparalleled worldwide. In addition, a  publicity and marketing campaign is being prepared to generate interest and  participation from Israel’s corporate and academic entities.
The centerpiece of the collaboration is the NanoCollege, the  most advanced nanotechnology education, research, development, and deployment  enterprise in the world. With more than $14 billion in high-tech investments,  over 300 global corporate partners, and a footprint that spans upstate New York,  CNSE is uniquely positioned to support this first-of-its-kind partnership.
The agreement is designed to enable a host of nanotechnology  research and development (R&D), prototyping, demonstration and  commercialization activities, including the facilitation of partnerships to spur  collaborative projects targeting industrial R&D and commercialization;  exchange of technical information and expertise to promote global development of  next-generation nanoscale technologies; and the organization of joint seminars  and workshops to enhance cooperation between corporate and academic entities in  New York and Israel.
Specific technology areas targeted for initial collaboration  include sub-systems, sensors and accessories for deployment in the nanoscale  cleanroom environment; simulation and modeling for next-generation tools and  technologies; and tools, processes, and testing technologies essential to  accelerate critical innovations in the multiple fields enabled by  nanotechnology, including nanoelectronics, energy, and health care, among  others.
Congressman Paul Tonko said, “This partnership between New York  State and Israel is yet further proof that the Capital Region is not only  renowned on a national stage, but indeed on the world stage. Clean energy  innovation jobs and long-term economic growth require investments, and Tech  Valley laid that foundation years ago. As a fast-growing region for high tech  jobs and all the ancillary benefits that follow, these sorts of partnerships led  by Governor Cuomo will ensure we remain a bright spot for continued education,  research, development and deployment by some of the most cutting edge  innovators, entrepreneurs, small businesses and large companies in the world.”
Senator Neil D. Breslin said, “This is a fantastic partnership  between New York State and the State of Israel that will create jobs, further  leverage a proven investment, and continue to let the Capital Region shine as  the forefront of the nanotechnology industry. I commend Governor Cuomo for  championing the growth in nanotechnology in New York, and the State of Israel  for choosing to enter into this great partnership.”
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy said, “I am pleased that this  partnership between New York State and the State of Israel will not only create  jobs, but add immensely to a much-needed boost of economic development in the  Capital Region. I congratulate the Governor for bringing global attention to New  York State in the field of nanotechnology, and the State of Israel for choosing  to do business in New York.”
Mayor Jerry D. Jennings said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his  leadership in developing Albany’s nanotechnology sector, and thank the State of  Israel and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for their hard work  in making this partnership a reality. This is great news for the Capital Region,  which has already seen immense growth in this industry, and I look forward to  ensuring that this progress continues.”
Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said, “Governor Cuomo has  done a great job leading the way toward greater economic development, and this  partnership between New York State and the State of Israel is just another  example. I applaud the Governor, the State of Israel, and the College of  Nanoscale Science and Engineering for their hard work in developing this  partnership that will spur job creation, economic development, and greater  international attention for our state.”
Source: College of Nanoscale Science and  Engineering

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Desalination + Solar Energy + Nanotechnology = Potable H2O

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Note to Readers: A great update article on “Mid to Mega Desalination Water Projects throughout the world. One thing these projects will all need is plentiful, inexpensive (comparatively) ENERGY! We have been following “3rd Generation Solar Cells” (QD Solar Cells) from the perspective of cheap, abundant energy conversion capability AND the ability to mass produce the eventual solar delivery module.
Add to this, as one of our long time “science-guru-visionaries” shares with us, “the ability to accelerate and make more cost effective, the ‘filtration process’ by using nanotechnolgy in the desalination process, in addition to the energy supply component … that is what they call in baseball “a double play!”                          – Cheers! – BWH


Larger scale desalination plants are coming online as a result of increased water scarcity and lower cost membranes. With the largest facility in the world – 1,025,000 m3/day – set for operation in 2014, what challenges and benefits come with such large scale infrastructure? Corrado Sommariva reports.

There is a lot of emphasis today on mega ton water systems. This trend is clearly driven by the gigantic development of cities. The number of cities that will exceed five million residents in 2015 is going to be in the order of magnitude of 40-50. Clearly, in such an environment, water shortages and the pollution of water resources become serious problems.

Taking into consideration that the majority of these cities are located close to the sea and in arid areas, desalination plants assume extreme importance and are, in fact, critical strategic assets necessary for the community to sustain and support life.

Although large plants may offer opportunities in terms of economy of scale, there is a question as to whether the mega solution is automatically the best option. This is especially true in the case of Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) plants.


At its time of opening, the Hadera SWRO facility is one of the largest membrane plants in operation, with a capacity of 456,000 m3/day

While large unit size is typically an advantage for thermal desalination, the modularity of the SWRO technology makes it practically insensitive from the cost standpoint if the plant capacity is greater than 100,000 m3/day. This feature allows two advantages. The first benefit is that the plant can be designed for installation in more decentralized locations closer to the utility point, therefore decreasing the associated transmission and distribution costs and the energy footprint.

A second advantage is that the risk profile of a medium- to large-sized project is clearly more moderate than the risk profile of a mega ton project. This becomes an important factor in addressing the difficulty in securing the necessary level of investment associated with such developments in the current and near-term financial climate.

The particular advantage of SWRO is that it allows modularity of installation, whereby an infrastructure designed for long-term expansion could be enlarged gradually and according to the demand for

additional capacity. In this scenario, limited recourse or non recourse loans could be easily made available for small- to mid-size plants. This type of investment presents a much more moderate risk profile and could be revisited for expansion or reduction in size in accordance with demand development. However, producing this large amount of water imposes again, and with a much higher emphasis, the necessity to meet the dual objectives of a sustainable management of water resources and high competitiveness


Membranes stack up: With a capacity of 624,000 m3/day, IDE Technologies’ Soreq plant in Israel will be one of the largest desalination plants in the world

Putting this into context, if we think about the large numbers, the operation of a mega SWRO desalination plant (for example, capacity of 1,000,000 m3/day) would involve a quantity equivalent to three to four million m3/day of seawater abstracted from the sea, and two to three million m3/day of brine disposal discharging back to the sea. With today’s state-of-the-art technologies, the energy required to power this plant would be equivalent to 200 MW.

Things change dramatically if we think about a similar size plant driven by thermal technology. This would involve a quantity equivalent to eight to 10 million m3/day of seawater abstracted from the sea and seven to nine million m3/day of brine disposal with a thermal discharge. In this case, the energy required to drive this plant would be equivalent to 1,500 MW.

However, the majority of this energy – 1,000 to 1300 MW – would be discharged as low grade heat into the sea.

Both scenarios pose dramatic questions on the environmental load related to mega ton water projects and energy conservation.

If addressing the environmental aspect is a clear goal, today’s technology would not enable the installation of such facilities for less than US$1 to 2 billion per mega project, with estimated annual running costs of not less US$200,000,000 per plant. This is not an easy deal for today’s market.

Our generation needs to be aware that building plants to simply satisfy our water needs for tomorrow is not enough. Now is the time now that we must contribute to solving global water problems by establishing novel desalination and water treatment technology that would enable us to achieve the ultimate goal of solving the global water-energy-food problem.

However, we are still far from this situation. Mega projects are a solution for today and perhaps tomorrow, but we need to act to ensure that the day after tomorrow we have a solution at hand that is revolutionary if we compare it to the traditional approach.

Desalination is a fast-moving and dynamic industry as far as research and development is concerned. There are countless papers on the advantages of: Forward osmosis; Carbon nanotubes; Membrane distillation; Biomimetics and Renewable water generation associated to LT distillation or renewable power.

In reality, however, the chance of having one of these technologies installed and operating in one of the future mega projects is very slim. While we are currently installing projects on a “need oriented” drive, we need to “seed drive” the technologies that are going to make these projects viable In the future. We cannot delegate this work to future generations; the time available is short. We need to have a set of small to medium size plants online by 2014-2015 in order to have a sustainable mega project operational in 2020.

This will also be needed to have a bank that will be willing to finance a deal with some of the new concepts that the research and development sector is now cultivating.

These plants will need to be capable of validating the technology, providing feedback to operation and further design refinement. All stakeholders need to be engaged in this endeavor. The government needs to have a solution that is going to address long-term problems in a financially and environmentally sustainable way without compromising the robustness and consistency of the solution.

The importance of this approach needs to be understood and embraced at all levels and all stakeholders need to follow up on this call. Industry and developers need to find ways to invest in these solutions with an equitable distribution of risks between themselves. Banks must also find investment in new water technologies a reasonable deal – as was the case with investing in new renewable power generation technologies a long time ago.

There is a lot of work needed to make sure that desalination is “a promise for the future”. However, it is a promise that can be kept if all stakeholders are willing to think ahead and recognize the potential of new configurations, new technologies and new shared responsibilities for addressing our future water challenges.

Author’s note: Dr. Corrado Sommariva is President of the International Desalination Association (IDA). He can be reached at For more information about IDA, visit