Ten joint British-Israeli research projects which tackle global challenges in Energy and the Environment have been selected to receive funding through the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership, BIRAX. The projects were selected for their innovation, the strength of the collaboration and the long term prospects for continuing the project and its potential impact. General information about BIRAX is available here.
Read our Press Release about the announcement.
Advances in chemical fingerprinting and technical diving will be used to investigate, for the first time, the relative scale of demographic connectivity among populations of fish species that inhabit coral reefs of the Gulf of Aqaba (the Red Sea). This model system is a regional resource that is coming under increasing anthropogenic pressure. The study will contribute both to the understanding of connectivity among populations of fish that inhabit the grossly understudied mesophotic coral-reefs and will provide information for conservation and management efforts that target the entire reef ecosystem.
Dr. Bendikov and Prof. Perepichka are developing a novel class of organic electronic materials - selenophene-based conductive and semiconductive polymers - that will act as light absorbing materials for energy conversion in photovoltaic cells. These new materials for solar cells are expected to have significantly improved energy conversion efficiencies that will contribute to the development of efficient clean energy sources.
Lithium-ion based batteries surpass all others for performance, and are now being increasingly used in battery electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. Battery performance and durability is a significant challenge to the widespread uptake of this technology. This collaboration will, for the first time, link one of the world's leading groups involved in developing lithium ion batteries (based in Israel) with one of the leading groups for mapping battery microstructure (based in the UK), to carry out new measurements of battery electrode structures and the link to performance and lifetime. This will enable new, improved battery electrodes to be designed for application in electric and hybrid vehicles.
Nanoporous cells are a type of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Compared to other photovoltaic cells used today, these cells are intrinsically cheap: both in cell cost and in the energy cost of manufacturing the cell. The aim of the project is to understand the movement of electrons in and through the various interfaces of the cells, thereby understanding the processes involved in the generation of electricity by the cells and improving their efficiency.
Dead Sea Basin sediment and pollen deposition records from historical periods and modern times will be used to resolve the flash-flood seasonal regime during relatively wet periods and to reconstruct a high-resolution regional climatic record. The research will provide understanding about the regional climatic pattern, its implications to historical human communities that flourished and declined in the Levant, and will bear important information for future water resources management.
This collaborative research aims at the development of new catalytic systems and methodologies for production and expansion of the range of applications of Poly(lactic acid), a new biodegradable polymeric material made from biorenewable sources, which can replace non-degradable petroleum-based plastics.
The zero discharge system is an innovative mariculture system which produces marine fish with no pollutant discharge using natural microbial processes to control water quality within the system. The aim of the project is to understand the processes of phosphorous removal from the system and its conversion by bacteria into apatite, a stable mineral, which can be reused as a fertilizer in agriculture.
In this collaboration, a geospatial information systems scientist and a geostatistician from Israel and the UK will study the controlling factors of soil quality in the Harod catchment, Israel. The research will establish methods for dynamic mapping and prediction of soil quality over wide areas, allowing the determination of factors that affect soil quality and crop productivity in order to support considered land management and to safeguard sustainable agriculture.
The largest area of natural global methane production is thought to be submarine sediments, but virtually none of this methane escapes from the sediment because it is entirely consumed shortly after being produced, by sulphate reduction, a process that occurs in bacteria in the marine sediments. The collaborating groups will explore this critical process using a geochemistry-based approach in order to elucidate the natural mechanism for the production and consumption of the greenhouse gas methane. The research is also expected to contribute to our understanding of microbial energy use and the transformation of carbon in the deep biosphere.
Focusing on the transport sector, this research will explore the barriers for better use of advanced modelling in the practice of policy making and it will provide an analysis of the likely implications of basing policies on models and analyses which are not ‘state-of the- art’. The research findings can be generalized to other locations and other sectors facing energy and environmental challenges.
Prof Shulamit Ramon, Anglia Ruskin University and Dr Shira Hantman, Tel Hai Academic College