Tel Aviv University together with the Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University (CFTAU) announced a $407,000 gift from The Asper Foundation, one of Canada’s largest private foundations, intended to bolster the work of TAU’s Water-Energy (WE) Lab to further develop technology that produces safe drinking water in the developing world.
Headed by Prof. Hadas Mamane of TAU’s Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, the WE Lab is among numerous research teams devising solutions to address global water scarcity. It has developed a patented technology that uses LED lighting and solar energy to disinfect water. The laptop-sized device—dubbed SoLED—operates without any chemicals or electricity to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in the water, making it cheaper and easier to use than existing solutions in remote areas.
At least 2 billion people around the world use water from contaminated sources, and unsafe water is linked to the deaths of an estimated 800 children each day. This predominantly affects people in the developing world, where access to clean water resources is often unaffordable or inaccessible. By 2025, as the impact of climate change increases, water scarcity will affect nearly half the world’s population, according to expert estimates.
The support of The Asper Foundation, a leading force in Jewish and general philanthropy in Israel and Canada, will enable Prof. Mamane and her team to expand the capabilities of their innovative technology and field-test the device. Their ultimate goal is to produce a scalable version that could be manufactured for mass distribution.
The gift enhances the existing partnership of philanthropic support and collaboration between the Asper Family, based in Winnipeg, and the University.
Gail Asper, President and Trustee of The Asper Foundation, said: “My late parents, Israel and Babs, would be incredibly proud of this endeavor which will make such a positive impact on people’s lives. The research at Prof. Mamane’s Water-Energy Lab and Tel Aviv University aligns with our Foundation’s commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and to creating a better world. We are excited to embark on this journey to advance innovative ideas and change lives.”
Tel Aviv University President Prof. Ariel Porat said: “As Israel’s largest research university, TAU places great importance on creating solutions to global challenges to the environment and society. We are thrilled to welcome The Asper Foundation as a partner and look forward to working with its team.”
Prof. Hadas Mamane, Head of the Water-Energy Lab at TAU, said: “My team and I are delighted and honored by The Asper Foundation’s support. This gift will accelerate our efforts to provide underserved populations with access to clean water—a basic human right and an endeavor that stands to save thousands of lives.”
Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University, Chief Executive Officer (Ontario & Western Canada) Stephen Adler said: “CFTAU is proud to be a link between the great Canadian family and Israel’s leading research university. We look forward to seeing the fruits of this research and identifying ways to maximize its impact in Israel, Canada, and around the world. We thank The Asper Family Foundation and the Asper Family for their continued support and friendship.”