Tag: Physics

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!

Conclusion

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

Why Tempered Glass is Used for Cooking Lids

Why Tempered Glass is Used for Cooking Lids

Why Tempered Glass is Used for Cooking Lids

03/17/19

“What type of glass is used for cooking lids?”
Cooking food is one of the most intricate parts of human life, whether it be meal-prepping for the week or dining with friends. And if one is using a pot then one of the most useful things is to see what is going on underneath. That way, we can monitor what processes are occurring and what to do if something goes wrong. Usually, translucent covers are made of glass. However, since cooking involves high changes in temperature and pressure, the glass needs to be extremely strong and sturdy. As a result, tempered glass with its thermal strength is used. This is why Tempered Glass is Used for Cooking Lids.

Quantum Dots for Solar Panels

Quantum Dots for Solar Panels

Quantum Dots for Solar Panels

02/25/19

“Why are quantum dots for solar panels so useful?”

 

Quantum dots are bringing a revolution into the world of semiconductors. And since semiconductors are the backbones of solar panels, things will be greatly changed for them as well. The extra emissivity offered by quantum dots means that two and possibly three electrons can be generated for every photon received, vastly increasing its potential! Quantum dot solar panels can achieve as much as 65% efficiency, nearly double of the theoretical limit of normal panels. This is why Quantum Dots for Solar Panels are so exciting.

Image link https://upload.wikimedia.org

Quasistatic Processes

Quasistatic Processes

Quasistatic Processes

07/14/18

“Can a thermodynamic process be so slow that it’s almost static?”

 

Thermodynamic processes can happen over any period of time. Sometimes they happen so slowly that they almost seem to be static. These Quasistatic Processes are often used in analysis of Iso-Processes due to their stable nature.

Dither

Dither

Dither

07/07/18

“How can we fix signal noise by inducing noise?”

 

When converting a signal from a higher-bit to a lower-bit resolution, unpleasant noise can be induced. To fix this, we can add in some low-volume noise called Dither before the conversion, effectively eliminating the truncation error. Dithering is commonly used in audio sampling during file compression.

Demodulation

Demodulation

Demodulation

07/05/18

“How can we extract information from a signal?”

 

Modulation is amazing for transmitting signals along great distances. However, in order to retrieve their information we have to revert them back to their original form. This can be done with Demodulation, usually done by multiplying the received signal by a signal identical to the Carrier Signal to rectify it.