Tag: Energy

Zombie Appliances

Zombie Appliances

Zombie Appliances


“What happens when used appliances are resold on the black market in The Global South?”


Electric appliances have a limited shelf-life. But their discarding may not be the end of their use. Often times, these appliances are loaded up and shipped out from the global north to The Global South. Here, they are sold on the black market, use 2 – 3 times more energy than their more updated counterparts, stress the electric grids, are mechanically volatile, and contribute to climate change by releasing now banned chemicals into the atmosphere. These Zombie Appliances are a major threat to the world and nations all over the world are teaming up to fight this exploitive system.

Image credit nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com

Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity

Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity

Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity


“Why does energy source placement have to take into account racial equity?”


Energy is the lifeblood of modern society. From the servers that power our internet to the refrigerators that keep our food fresh, so much of our critical infrastructure relies on energy. However, historically most of this energy has come from pollutive sources, which were frequently sited in or near systematically disempowered racial minority communities. This only exacerbates racialized oppression, and as a result, Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity must be thought of together.

And don’t forget, #BlackLivesMatter

Why the Increase in Extreme Weather May Offset Energy Efficiency Improvements

Why the Increase in Extreme Weather May Offset Energy Efficiency Improvements

Why the Increase in Extreme Weather May Offset Energy Efficiency Improvements


“How may the increase in more extreme weather offset energy efficiency improvements?”


With the advent of climate change, extreme weather is going to become more and more common. Areas that used to barely see a scorching day in Summer may now have to deal with weeks of extreme heat. This will make people more reliant on internal temperature control, increasing energy usage, and offsetting some of the gains made by energy efficiency improvements. This is Why the Increase in Extreme Weather May Offset Energy Efficiency Improvements.


Image credit http://www.weaa.org

Why Did Oil Prices Drop Below Zero So Rapidly?

Why Did Oil Prices Drop Below Zero So Rapidly?

Why Did Oil Prices Drop Below Zero So Rapidly?


“Why did oil prices fall below zero on April 20th, 2020?”


On April 20th, 2020, prices for West Texas Intermediate oil, the U.S benchmark, dropped below zero for the first time ever! This was caused by the fact that holding excess oil has become more and more expensive in the wake of the coronavirus and that investors did not believe that the new production cut signed on by Saudi Arabia and Russia would be effective in curtailing supply imbalance, causing prices to shoot negative. This is Why Did Oil Prices Dropped Below Zero So Rapidly.

Why Energy Resilience is Vital for Hospitals

Why Energy Resilience is Vital for Hospitals

Why Energy Resilience is Vital for Hospitals


“Why do all hospitals need to think about energy resilience?”


Hospitals are the lifeline for a community. Whenever someone becomes seriously ill or is giving birth, they get rushed to one of these facilities. However, if the power goes out and no generators are available, everything will turn to ruin. From ventilators to ICU beds to HVAC systems, every vital piece of hospital infrastructure runs on electricity. To prevent a catastrophe from happening, hospitals will need to make emergency operations plans. This is Why Energy Resilience is Vital for Hospitals.

How Oil Prices Can Go Negative

How Oil Prices Can Go Negative

How Oil Prices Can Go Negative


“How can oil prices become negative?”


Oil is thought to be one of the most valuable commodities in the world. However, like all physical materials, it needs a place to be stored. If an oil producer has more oil than it can hold, it may pay others to take its surplus assets. If this happens at a national level, this is How Oil Prices Can Go Negative.

How Higher Gas Prices Can Lower Emissions

How Higher Gas Prices Can Lower Emissions

How Higher Gas Prices Can Lower Emissions


“How can higher gas prices lower carbon emissions?”


Gas quite literally fuels much of our civilization. Whether it be the cars we drive or the planes we fly, gasoline makes us move. Since gas is a commodity, it has a price to it. And when the prices become higher, the more necessary it will be to conserve. As a result, higher gas prices cause people to burn less fuel and therefore fewer emissions into the atmosphere. This is How Higher Gas Prices Can Lower Emissions.

How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage

How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage

How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage


“How do power shutoffs cause economic damage?”


Power shutoffs are common in the developing world and are becoming frequently more common in the industrialized one due to climate change. When these do occur, all modern society of operations ground to a halt. Food goes rotten from lack of refrigeration,  shops and workplaces have to close due to a lack of power access, and even interdependent infrastructures such as transportation and water can go down. All of these combined lead to great economic damage through lost commodities and working hours. This is How Power Shutoffs Cause Economic Damage.

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

We here at Isaac’s Science Blog are pleased to be hosting our sixth professional interview, this time with Elad Orian! Elad is the co-founder of Comet-ME, an Israeli-Palestinian organization providing renewable energy and clean water services to off-grid communities in some of the most marginalized parts of the Palestinian Territories using environmentally and socially sustainable methods.

1. Tell us about yourself and your educational/professional background.

I studied physics and later environmental science/policy. I’ve been doing my current work for 10 years now.

2. What inspired you to work in energy?

I’m a political activist along with my partner (Noam Dotan). We started thinking about something more proactive and using our abilities and know-how and energy was a very natural conclusion

3. Why did you help found Comet-ME

We actually started doing this type of work before we officially established Comet. It just so happened that these activities were relatively successful and grew really fast to the point that we needed an organization/framework that can handle this. As a result, Comet-ME was born.

4. Tell us about some of the challenges that of the Palestinian residents that you worked with.

We work with Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. In the Oslo accords the West Bank was divided into three areas (A under control of the Palestinian Authority, B under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control, and C, which happens to be the majority of West Bank under control of the Israeli government). We work in an area where the Palestinian Authority cannot provide electricity/water to communities. There are communities in A/B that have no electricity but we made a strategic decision to not replace the position Palestinian Authority.

5. What does the life-cycle of an average project look like?

One of the first things we do is to build trust with the community. We know what we do and why we do it, but the people we work with need proof. It is important that we go into a community when we know that we have the funding. We are lucky to have so many long-term donors trust us so when we start a project/budget cycle we don’t know where we are going to work because we need to do a survey of the community, conditions of each place, and then we do a detailed design of system and then we will purchase all the equipment that is required. There are some long-lead items so we do work in houses of the villagers and then once we have everything we install it. Once the installation is finished the hard work is started when service is provided. Because Comet is about providing service and we make sure service is running for a long period of time. In this way, we are like a utility. Every system brings service.

6. What technology does Comet-ME use to help communities establish energy independence?

We always use solar systems. Sometimes wind/diesel hybrids. Our systems can be designed to work from 1 family up to 40/50 families.

7. Tell us about your water program

After a few years of working exclusively with electricity, we decided that we had the organizational capacity to do something else. This is a very different program since many of them already have water, just not enough. Our system is a pump attached to a filter to obtain clean water, it’s a simple single-family system that collects rainwater and pumps it. We developed a system that pumps and filters rainwater using electricity when the batteries are full. There is also a stewardship component where water quality is sampled from all the users on a regular sample schedule to make sure systems are doing what they are meant to do.

8. Is Comet-ME looking at the Water-Energy Nexus and if so how is it?

Very much. Our water systems are dependent on our electricity systems for operation.

9. Have you received any interest from universities on the work that you do?

We have some collaborations with some universities. We also have a few students that have written master’s degrees with us. We don’t do much advertisement so we’re not really a household name.

10. Is Comet-ME looking at how to deal with climate change resilience?

Although we don’t title it, our work is directly tied with climate resilience due to providing an independent source of energy

11. How do you see your organization fit into a long-term Israeli-Palestinian peace partnership?

If there is a peace agreement signed and the West Bank becomes a Palestinian state then we would gladly hand over systems to a Palestinian organization to handle it. I don’t think it would be a problem.

12. Do you think that the Comet-ME model has any application outside of the Palestinian territories?

There are many components that certainly are and some that are idiosyncratic to conditions/politics of the West Bank.

13. What can someone do to help out with your organization?

One can always donate money, also if you’re technically inclined and interested in such issues we do have volunteers from time to time. Feel free to reach out and join us!


So there you have it! Elad, we are very grateful for giving us your time to talk about this very important work. Your organization’s work is a textbook example of how people can apply their scientific knowledge to make the world a better place.


If you would like to connect with Elad and Come-ME, you can find their website here and their facebook page here.


Image credit DW.com