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Joint teams are inventing new energy-efficient technologies with a focus on water desalination, purification and reuse.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Northwestern University were chosen earlier this month by the Collaborative Water-Energy Research Center (CoWERC) to develop new technologies to solve global water challenges, Israel’s Minister of Energy Dr. Yuval Steinitz and U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced.

CoWERC is part of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center program administered by the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation.

The joint team will research, develop and commercialize technology to create energy-efficient ways to improve water supply, reuse wastewater, recover resources and develop energy-water systems. Pilot testing will be done at water and wastewater facilities in both Israel and the US. Once validated, the new technologies could be implemented worldwide.

“Promoting innovation in energy technologies is a mutual objective of Israel and the US,” Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, said in a statement. “These winning collaborations bring significant value for the development of the energy industries in both countries as well as the promotion of additional sectors through effective energy management.”

Moshe Herzberg, professor of environmental engineering at Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at BGU, said that “urban wastewater contains more energy than the amount needed for its purification. Our aim is to recover this energy, along with nutrients, and reuse the treated water.”

The goal of the research is to enable the development of “new technologies that will reduce the energy needed for desalination, improve recovery of water and energy, and support safe water reuse,” Aaron Packman, professor of civil and environmental engineering in McCormick School of Engineering and director of Northwestern’s Center for Water Research explained.

The project’s total budget is $21.4 million, including a $9.2 million grant over 5 years from Israel’s Ministry of Energy together with the Israel Innovation Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The U.S.-Israel Energy Center is a premier hub for innovative energy research, and sends a strong signal of the long-standing special relationship between the U.S. and Israel,” said Secretary Brouillette. “From our collaboration through the Energy Center, we expect to see market-moving technologies that will strengthen our energy security and strengthen our economies. We look forward to continue fostering deep institutional relationships through this groundbreaking initiative.”