Agriculture depends upon natural environmental systems and deals with the control of such systems. It deals with land, soils, water, and solar radiation as well as with the biological systems responding to those environmental conditions. It is thus a natural transition to move from Agricultural Engineering to the field of the environment.
Research and environmental activity:
The staff of the department was active in the field of the environment for many years.
Professor Avnimelech headed research in the Sea of Galilee watershed and in the reclaimed Hula swamps since 1970. The work led to the solution of many problems associated with the potential eutrophication of the lake. Salinity, one of the major environmental issues in Israel as well as in other semi arid countries, was studies by Profs. Zaslavsky, Ravina and Avnimelech. Excessive application of fertilizers can lead to plant, soil and water pollution. The optimal rationing of fertilizer as well as the development of new environmentally acceptable fertilizers was a topic of study in the department. Prof. Michal Green and her team are working mostly on the development of bio-reactors, including reactors used for nitrogen removal from water and on wetlands.
Professor Zaslavsky and his team are leading a pioneer work on the development of new regenerative energy source, the "Energy Towers", based upon harvesting of energy in the dry desert air. This novel technology was shown to be able to generate huge amounts of electricity without any production of greenhouse gases, not dependent on imported fuel, all done in competitive prices.
Another project taking place at the present is the development of strategies, adaptable to Israeli conditions, to recycle more than 70% out of the municipal solid waste.
Two demonstration projects, in towns close to Haifa, are coordinated and led by the team of the faculty, led by Professor Avnimelech.
The faculty of Agricultural Engineering is offering now two under-graduate programs in environmental studies:
The program of environmental engineering given jointly with the faculties of Civil, Chemical and Biotechnological Engineering and a program of water, soil and environmental engineering. Many courses in our graduate program deal with the environment.
A sample of courses in the field of the environment include:
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