Within 18 months, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) plans to build the first desalination plant of its kind to demonstrate an innovative method for desalinating water, IAI VP strategy and planning Baruch Mevorach disclosed at an aerospace technologies conference in Jerusalem.
Mevorach said that IAI think tanks marked the water infrastructures industry as a sector that will have strong global demand, due to the expected water shortage. "The global water industry is going to be very strong, due to the expected increase in demand for clean water, which is a diminishing resource," he told "Globes". "We intend to bring to this world a new approach, which will enable the desalination of seawater in a way that is different from current methods, using a more effective and economical method."
Seawater desalination is an expensive process, mainly because of its high energy consumption, a fact which raises questions whether building desalination plants is economically worthwhile. Mevorach says, "IAI has the best chemists and engineers who can lead new thinking and development methods in the field. There is already an interesting direction, which can greatly reduce energy consumption for desalination."
Mevorach added that the first facility to be built will demonstrate IAI's new desalination abilities. Later, if the company wants to develop these abilities into a product, it will link up with another company, either Israeli or foreign, that will focus on the marketing of the new facilities, mainly overseas.
In addition to seawater desalination, IAI has begun to examine the development of innovative technologies to constantly monitor water infrastructures, especially pipelines, in an effort to prevent leaks from aging or damaged infrastructures, by using methods to identify the problem in advance.
IAI is seeking to add civilian fields to its core business. Six months ago, it announced collaboration with a European company to develop, produce, and build innovative wind turbines for the generation of electricity. As part of the feasibility work, the companies decided to build two experimental wind farms at a cost of €43 million. IAI said that each turbine can generate three megawatts of electricity. The wind turbines will be built on rigs offshore or onshore. The companies' joint venture will manage the production, marketing, and maintenance of the product.
IAI's decision to enter new fields is part of CEO Yitzhak Nissim's strategy to respond to the decline in the company's civil aviation division since the global economic crisis of 2008.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 30, 2011
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