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High tech haven emerges in Israeli desert

Here’s an interesting article about the recent emergence of booming high tech and alternative energy industries in the Negev desert in southern Israel. One of the companies active in the region is Dimona Silica Industries, which has developed a novel process for producing silica from porcellanite, a waste product of the phosphate mining industry.

Working with what a desert has in abundance, Israel’s Dimona Silica Industries (DSI) has discovered that Negev sand (silica) has unique properties – specifically, that it is rich in porcellanite, a waste material in the phosphate mining industry in Israel, which provides a more environmentally-friendly way to manufacture tires. DSI discovered that instead of having to heat up silica to 1,500 degrees in order to extract liquid silica – used to manufacture tires and many other items – Negev silica need only be heated to about 90 degrees centigrade in order to turn it into liquid form. This is made possible by the unique properties of the porcellanite in the Negev silica. “Our production process is much more environmentally-friendly and cheaper, so we believe the world is going to prefer our Negev silica,” says DSI CEO Ronen Peled.

DSI has a pilot plant for the process and plans to enter commercial production down the road.

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