25 Oct 2017
Haifa, Israel
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Ripe with humor and determination two of the InnergHarvest team talked about energy engineering, mirroring Israel’s strife to cut down on the use of fossil fuels. Founder Heba Jaraysi launched her company in 2016 at the Climate Launchpad competition. She learned about the competition through an email that landed in her spam folder.

The competition, according to Jaraysi, stated: “If you have a great idea that as a result of implementing it, you help with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, apply to the competition!” Jaraysi’s idea revolved around the concept of reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions from cars. She also added that the automotive industry is 30% responsible for air pollution and 16%  responsible for manmade CO2 emissions.

The idea of InnergHarvest was just that: an idea, but one that the competition board liked. Jaraysi then attended a two-day workshop in Israel and by the end of it, a pitch competition took place to land Jaraysi the second place and a trip to Estonia for the final round.

A team of engineers turn car engine heat into electricity using organic solvents | The Switchers

Where’s InnergHarvest today?

InnergHarvest is operated by a team of engineers, academics and scientists. “We have myself, with an environmental engineering background and a marine research experience,” Jaraysi said. Daniel Sfez the company’s COO has a mechanical engineering background with a 25-year experience planning and designing power plants.

“I am the representative of General Electric in Israel, and recently, I joined Heba’s team,” Sfez says. The COO joked about how the project was promised to get him involved for only 4 hours a week. “Instead, I’m now free only 4 hours a week.”

“Professor Tolga Yasa, the company’s CTO has over 15 years of industrial and academic experience in turbine aerodynamics,  environmental testing of gas turbine,  mechanical and structural design, Gas Turbine Engine Cycle analysis at various Institutions in Turkey and the world, like Istanbul Technical University, Von Karman Institute, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Anadolu University,” Jaraysi said of her team member. “We also have a material engineer and a physicist, Mrs. Hanan Kandalaft Abaya, who is leading the innovative research of the organic fluids.”

Can CO2 emissions, coming out of a car, be reduced?

Akin to InnergHarvest’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions, the Ministry of Environmental Protection agreed to implement the Haifa Bay Action Plan, in 2016. The plan constitutes the reduction of pollution emanating from vehicles. Most specifically, the government went for the funding of natural gas-run garbage trucks and providing gas stations with tools reducing vapor, and recovering it at an 85% rate of it during the tank filling.

“Car engines are truly inefficient because they lose 60% of the fuel’s energy as heat, which can be used,” explains Jaraysi. “We’re trying to take this heat and transform it into electricity that will bring the power to all the electricity-demanding systems in the car.”

Jaraysi added that such power can also be used to charge batteries, maximizing the car efficiency and adding 3,000 kilometers to the car’s efficacy per year. “That way, we’re reducing CO2 emissions by half a ton per car, per year,” says Jaraysi. “We create the electricity by using the vehicle’s wasted energy to turn an organic solvent, of a low boiling point, into vapor. Once the vapor is created, it turns a turbine-generator, which creates electricity.”

“The internal combustion engines (ICE) are used daily for transportation and energy production beside their low thermal efficiency level,” Beni Cukurel mirrored Jaraysi’s idea, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute Technology said.

“The Organic Rankin Cycle (ORC) systems can be promising in ICE applications to benefit from their wasted exhaust or cooling energy,” Cukurel explains. “Selection of working fluid types, adequate pressure and temperature values has a significant effect on the ORC performance. Moreover, the size of turbine components also heavily depends on the considered cycle. Considering the implementation of the ORC technology, in the automotive industry, thermodynamic studies suggest up to 75% and 10% of exhaust gas and engine cooling heat recovery, respectively. This suggests that thermal efficiency of such engines can be improved by more than 5% with existing tools.”

One challenge the founder highlighted is the scale of their technology and how it could be hard to fit in a car. “ We have reached our theoretical proof of concept. What we’re looking for is to build the first prototype and then patent it. So we’re looking for two basic things: the first is a strategic partner that can also be a university- currently in contact with some, and the second is investments in order to pursue the development of the product,”  Jaraysi said.



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Photos: Courtesy of InnergHarvest.

InnergHarvest Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency