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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Greece Talks About Ties with Iran

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Greek and Iranian government officials met this week in Athens for talks on developing economic, trade and industrial ties between the two countries.

Such a move could become a threat to the Jewish State, which has worked hard to develop closer ties with Athens. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem awarded an honorary doctorate to Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos during his state visit to Israel on March 30, citing his “warm relations with the State of Israel and the Jewish world.”

Iranian leaders have consistently maintained that government’s determination to “wipe the Zionist state off the map.”

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi met with Greek Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis, and Minister of Environment of Energy Panos Skourletis, according to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Both sides “declared their political will to develop ties in different fields” according to the news outlet.

Greece has an embassy in Tehran, and Iran is represented by its embassy in Athens. A small Christian Greek community exists in Iran; there is a Greek Orthodox church in Tehran which opens mostly during the Greek Holy Week. But relations that date back millenia between the two nations — at one point, two empires — have laid dormant for decades.

The officials discussed development of oil and gas and renewable energies, pharmaceutical industries, “modern technologies,” shipbuilding and shipping, tourism and “promoting banking relations.”

Both nations allegedly expressed willingness to implement a document that was signed following a February 7 visit to Iran by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, according to the Iranian news agency.

Hana Levi Julian

Weizmann Scientists Engineer Bacteria Making Sugar from Greenhouse Gas

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

All life on the planet relies, in one way or another, on a process called carbon fixation: the ability of plants, algae and certain bacteria to “pump” carbon dioxide (CO2) from the environment, add solar or other energy and turn it into the sugars that are the required starting point needed for life processes, reads a press release of the Weizman Institute headlined, “Eating Air, Making Fuel — Weizmann Institute scientists engineer bacteria to create sugar from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.”

At the top of the food chain are different organisms, such as humans, that use the opposite means of survival: they eat sugars (made by photosynthetic plants and microorganisms) and then release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This means of growth is called “heterotrophism.”

Is it possible to “reprogram” an organism that is found higher in the food chain, which consumes sugar and releases carbon dioxide, so that it will consume carbon dioxide from the environment and produce the sugars it needs to build its body mass? That is just what a group of Weizmann Institute of Science researchers recently did.

Dr. Niv Antonovsky, who led this research in Prof. Ron Milo’s lab at the Institute’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, says that the ability to improve carbon fixation is crucial for our ability to cope with future challenges, such as the need to supply food to a growing population on shrinking land resources while using less fossil fuel.

The Institute scientists rose to this challenge by inserting the metabolic pathway for carbon fixation and sugar production (the so called Calvin cycle) into the bacterium E. coli, a known “consumer” organism that eats sugar and releases carbon dioxide.

The metabolic pathway for carbon fixation is well known, and Milo and his group expected that, with proper planning, they would be able to attach the genes containing the information for building it into the bacterium’s genome. Yet the main enzyme used in plants to fix carbon, RuBisCO, utilizes as a substrate for the CO2 fixation reaction a metabolite which is toxic for the bacterial cells. Thus the design had to include precisely regulating the expression levels of the various genes across this multistep pathway.

In one way the team’s well-thought-out plan was a resounding success: The bacteria did indeed produce the carbon fixation enzymes, and these were functional. But the machinery, as a whole, did not “deliver the goods.” Even though the carbon fixation machinery was expressed, the bacteria failed to use CO2 for sugar synthesis, relying instead on an external supply of sugar. “Of course, we were dealing with an organism that has evolved over millions of years to eat sugar, not CO2,” says Antonovsky. “So we turned to evolution to help us create the system we intended.”

Antonovsky, Milo and the team, including Shmuel Gleizer, Arren Bar-Even, Yehudit Zohar, Elad Herz and others, next designed tanks called “chemostats,” in which they grew the bacteria, gradually nudging them into developing an appetite for CO2. Initially, along with ample bubbles of CO2, the bacteria in the tanks were offered a large amount of pyruvate, which is an energy source, as well as barely enough sugar to survive. Thus, by changing the conditions of their environment and stressing them, the scientists forced the bacteria to learn, by adaptation and development, to use the more abundant material in their environment. A month went by, and things remained fairly static. The bacteria seemed to not “get the hint.” But in a month and a half or so, some bacteria showed signs of doing more than “just surviving.” By the third month the scientists were able to wean the evolved bacteria from the sugar and raise them on CO2 and pyruvate alone. Isotope labeling of the carbon dioxide molecules revealed that the bacteria were indeed using CO2 to create a significant portion of their body mass, including all the sugars needed to make the cell.

When the scientists sequenced the genomes of the evolved bacteria, they found many changes scattered throughout the bacterial chromosomes. “They were completely different from what we had predicted,” says Milo. “It took us two years of hard work to understand which of these are essential and to unravel the ‘logic’ involved in their evolution.” Repeating the experiment (and again waiting months) gave the scientists essential clues for identifying the mutations necessary for changing the E. coli diet from one based on sugar to one using carbon dioxide.

Prof. Milo noted that “the ability to program or reengineer E. coli to fix carbon could give researchers a new toolbox for studying and improving this basic process.”

Although currently the bacteria release CO2 back into the atmosphere, the team envisions that in the future their insights might be applied to creating microorganisms that soak up atmospheric CO2 and convert it into stored energy or to achieving crops with carbon fixing pathways, resulting in higher yields and better adaption to feeding humanity.


Turkey’s President Erdogan ‘Waiting for Israel’ to Respond on Gaza

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is waiting for Israel to grant permission for Turkey to construct energy and water transfer infrastructure in Gaza, according to a report published Saturday (May 21) in the Hurriyet Daily News, quoting an earlier broadcast.

“I expect that something will happen this month. It’s my wish that we’ll reach a conclusion in a short time,” Erdogan told a news broadcast by A Haber on May 19.

“In regards to [lifting] the embargo, they say, ‘We are open to allowing goods into Gaza through Turkey, but we are not open to those coming from places other than Turkey.’ But the problem is not only this. We have some other demands,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader said Ankara has demanded that Israel allow provision of continuous energy to Gaza, “as the enclave has only three to four hours of electricity per day,” Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey’s proposal to provide electricity to Gaza through a naval vessel was rejected by Israel.

“But they proposed something else: We told them that we are ready to construct all the infrastructure [of energy]. They viewed the proposal positively,” Erdogan said.

The second demand, he said, was that Turkey be allowed to provide water to Gaza either by desalinating the sea water or by drilling wells. “There are positive developments with regard to this issue as well,” he said.

Turkey’s third demand from Israel, said Erdogan, was regarding construction projects in Gaza.

“Our third offer is about building schools and hospitals. The construction of a hospital has been completed and necessary equipment is being provided. ‘These must be done,’ we told them. ‘If these would be done, then we’ll immediately appoint ambassadors and improve our relations in the right direction.’”

According to the report, Israeli and Turkish diplomats are expected to meet in the near future to finalize an agreement between the two countries.

But it’s impossible to know what the final outcome will be: Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is set to meet at a nationwide Congress on May 22 to choose a new prime minister.

Incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hand-picked by Erdogan, resigned his position earlier this month.

Hana Levi Julian

Shabbos Energy

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Last week I spent Shabbos with my brother Rav Eckstein, a rav in a yeshiva in central Israel. He was planning a special Oneg Shabbos for his talmidim with the honored presence of the rosh yeshiva so we knew that our Shabbos seudah would be shorter than usual to allow him to get back to the yeshiva in time.

We were asleep when he returned, but the next morning, although he claimed that the Oneg Shabbos had been a tremendous success, it was obvious that something was bothering him.

As I’m also the menahel of a boy’s school he decided to confide in me and ask my advice.

A few weeks ago a group of boys had decided to organize their own Oneg Shabbos. They had bought some drinks and snacks and after they had finished learning on Leil Shabbos they went into a room and sang together for a while. The Mashgiach who happened to be there heard them and joined them, and together they spent an inspiring evening singing and telling divrei Torah into the early hours of the morning.

Rav Eckstein decided to ask Shimon, who seemed the leader of this group of boys, to be in charge of organizing their upcoming class Oneg Shabbos. He gave him money and his credit card in case it wasn’t enough and instructed him to buy some cakes, nuts, nosh and some drinks apart from energy drinks and to set it all out in the room where they would be holding the Oneg Shabbos. He had heard that at their previous Oneg Shabbos they had all been drinking these energy drinks which were definitely not suitable for an official yeshiva Oneg Shabbos.

When Rav Eckstein arrived back at the yeshiva on Leil Shabbos, he opened the door and to his horror he saw the table nicely laid with an energy drink next to every place setting. He immediately called Shimon over and, although he was seething inside at the boy’s chutzpah, this wasn’t time for a confrontation; the rosh yeshiva was due any second, so he simply told him to get rid of all the cans of drink. He and his friends opened all the cans and poured the drink into the waiting cups and threw all the cans away.

Apart from that, the Oneg was a great success with inspiring divrei Torah and singing until late.

“But what should I do?” my brother asked me. “Apart from the outright chutzpah of the boy in buying something I distinctly told him not to buy, those drinks also cost a lot of money, far more than the usual drinks we have on such occasions.”

I told him he was right not to make a big scene at the Oneg itself. By having to get rid of the cans, all the boys had understood that these drinks were just not suitable for such an occasion without him having to hammer it home and it wouldn’t happen again. What to do about the boy? I suggested he waited to see what he says when he returns his credit card and the receipts on Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon my brother called me and said, “You’ll never guess what happened. Shimon brought me back my credit card and the receipts for what he’d bought. As I feared, it was quite a hefty amount. I asked him why he had bought the exact drinks I had told him not to buy. He stared at me totally blankly as though he didn’t understand what on earth I was saying. So I repeated, I told you to buy any drinks apart from those energy-drinks. And in any case, didn’t you realize just how expensive those drinks are.

Ann Goldberg

Leviathan’s First Deal Signed With Israeli-Turkish Consortium

Monday, February 1st, 2016

The Leviathan natural gas field is launching its debut into the world of domestic production and foreign export, simultaneously.

The mammoth natural gas field will supply two private companies with its natural resource in a new $1.3 billion contract signed with Edeltech Group (owned by the Edelsburg family) and its Turkish partner, Zorlu Enerji. The partnership purchased six billion cubic meters of gas to be supplied over 18 years.

The field is being developed and is controlled by Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group. It is believed to contain approximately 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

“We continue to work with all our might to make progress on developing the Leviathan reservoir and to bring the gas to the Israeli economy and its industry,” Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu said. “This deal is a harbinger of things to come, and we intend to further promote sales contracts with customers in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey,” Abu was quoted by Globes as saying.

Two new power stations will be built for the purpose in Israel. The Tamar station will be located in the Negev next to the Haifa Chemicals plant at Mishor Rotem. That project will cost an estimated $250 million. The Soldad Energy plant will be located nex to CHS in Ashdod, for approximately $125 million.

Contracts have already been signed between the two partners to build the Ramat Negev Energy station, Dorad Energy plant in Ashkelon and the Ashdod Energy station.

Despite the recent plummet in oil and gas prices, Noble Energy’s Israel Country Manager Bini Zomer told Globes on Sunday that if enough contracts are signed, “Despite those challenges, Noble believes that the Leviathan project can move forward based on domestic and export opportunities and because of the positive climate created by the Natural Gas Framework.

“With the continued cooperation and mutual commitment of the regulators, the State of Israel and the lease holders, a Final Investment Decision (FID) can be achieved by the end of 2016 with the flow of gas to domestic and regional markets within 3-4 years from FID and as early as the end of 2019 in accordance to what was articulated in the Framework and the Leviathan leases.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Terrorists Tried to Attack Israeli Gas Rig during War in Gaza

Monday, December 7th, 2015

A security official told a Knesset committee the attack during Operation Protective Edge missed its objective of blowing up the rig.

Terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza tried to blow up an Israeli oil-shore gas rig during the Protective Edge counter-terror campaign last year, a government official told a Knesset committee.

During the war, as JewishPress.com reported, Hamas claimed to have targeted the Noa offshore gas rig.

Yossi Cohen, who heads the National Security Council, revealed to the Knesset Economics Committee that there have been several attempts to attack offshore rigs, according to Globes.

The Knesset hearing was focused on the controversial gas agreement that Opposition parties are fiercely protesting. Cohen said that Israel must protect the rigs and explained:

We are procuring naval warfare vessels designed for this. The navy is prepared to protect the rigs…. Already during Operation Protective Edge there were attempts to hit our rig but fortunately their weapons are not accurate enough and did not succeed in hitting the rig.

But the weapons in the hands of the terror organizations surrounding us are already more sophisticated and accurate and our vulnerability has increased.

A direct hit on an offshore platform would scare investors away from Israel, sink the shekel, cripple offshore gas supplies and exports and throw the country into a deep recession.

Hezbollah is considered one of the major enemies that would try to wreak havoc with the Israeli economy if war breaks out across the northern border.

Lebanon has claimed rights to Israel’s oil and gas discoveries and has threatened to use force, which practically speaking means using Hezbollah’s advanced weapons and intelligence.

The Jewish Press.com reported here last week that Israel has developed a missile designed to protect offshore rigs not only locally but also for the global energy industry.




Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Erdogan to Quit If Putin Proves Claim Turkey Imports Oil From ISIS

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed back at claims by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ankara buys its oil from Da’esh (ISIS).

The exchange took place on the sidelines of the COP 21 global conference on climate change taking place in Paris.

“We have received additional data which unfortunately confirm that this oil, produced in areas controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist organizations, is transported on an industrial scale to Turkey,” Putin said, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, a Turkey-based newspaper.

“We have all grounds to suspect that the decision to down our plane was motivated by the intention to secure these routes of delivering oil to ports where it is loaded on tankers,” Russia’s TASS news agency also quoted Putin as saying during a news conference on the sidelines of the climate talks.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Erdogan denied the claims, saying Turkey obtained all its oil and gas imports “through the legal path… We are not dishonest so as to do this kind of exchange with terrorist groups. Everyone needs to know this,” he said. “If evidence of this kind is found, let those who find it present it,” he added, according to TASS.

Erdogan labeled the accusations “slander” and vowed to resign if the claims were in fact proved.

“I will say something very strong here. If such a thing is proved, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office,” he was quoted by the state-run Andolu news agency as saying. “I am asking Mr. Putin, would you stay in that office? I say this clearly.”

Nevertheless, Erdogan clearly was also mindful that his nation cannot afford to alienate mighty Russia, and appeared to be working hard to avoid it. In his remarks he described Moscow as a “strategic partner,” adding, “Even if it is just a piece of string remaining … we don’t want ties to be cut. How Russia will proceed, I cannot know.”

Ultimately, however, Erdogan said that continued Russian sanctions against his country would be met with those of Turkey – but not yet.

“Let’s act patiently and not emotionally,” he told reporters. “Let’s let their chips fall as they may, then if we have our own chips, we’ll let those fall.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/erdogan-vows-to-resign-if-putin-can-prove-claim-turkey-imports-oil-from-isis/2015/12/01/

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