Israeli pollution control unit offers breath of fresh air

Not only is pollution dirty, smelly and disgusting, it can also kill.

The World Health Organization estimates that each year more than 3 million people die worldwide due to causes directly linked to air pollution, mostly due to vehicle emissions and industrial pollution.

Controlling industrial emissions is not an easy task. Pollutant gasses and particles emitted in industrial processes can flow at different rates, with different particle sizes and at high temperatures. A pollution control system can be effective for cleaning medium-size dry dust particles, for example, but will not be effective in dealing with fine particles captured in steam mixed with pollutant gases.

” target=”_blank”>Vortex Ecological Technologies, which cleans both pollutant gases and fine particles, is being touted as a breakthrough.

Many scientists note that carbon dioxide emissions are the leading cause of global warming, and the issue has been raised to prominence by former Vice President Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

According to CEO Avi Harel, Vortex can neutralize 99 percent of the sulfurous gas particles emitted by the burning of fossil fuels and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent to 15 percent.

“That’s enough to make a difference,” he said.

Harel explained that Vortex’s pollution control systems manipulate the physical forces created by the rapid spiral motion of gas and liquid inside a special, patented compartment called the Advanced Vortex Chamber (image, right), which separates fine particles and gases.

When gas enters the chamber it is accelerated and twirls into a vortex manipulated by various blades and air funnels — and without moving parts. This separates pollutants out without the risk of wear or clogging the machine and cleans industrial emission and liquid from particles and gas pollutants inexpensively and efficiently.

These aren’t particles that just pollute the air, Harel explained.

“You can use our system for very fine particles that may otherwise lead to cancer,” he said.

Not only does the Vortex solution create results that improve the environment, it enables otherwise-polluting businesses to continue operating. A lime plant near Zichron Yaakov in the north of Israel was forced to close due to excessive pollution when the area around the plant became covered with white impurities. After the installation of Vortex’s system, the plant was able to re-open.

“We cleaned the air and the water,” Harel reported.

Founded in 1996, Vortex has always attempted to combine the “green” motive with business practicality, Harel said.

“The idea is to deal with pollution from both a business point of view and the green ideas point of view,” he said. “We provide an affordable means to deal with pollution. A lot of companies complained that the cost of dealing with pollution was unaffordable, and so we went to the market with something that is more efficient and low maintenance.”

The lime industry has become a primary recipient of Vortex’s expertise, with its solution installed at many lime companies, a major concrete company and pipe production operations. Vortex also hopes that medium-sized power plants will use the system.

“Any industry that has pollution can use our system,” Harel said, citing its flexibility.
“It’s relatively easy to apply and integrate the system to existing plants, because of its small size and high speed,” Harel said. “Up to now, [other air pollution control systems] required building new plants. Our system is much smaller and can be put in the existing buildings.”

The systems are not only useful in factories and industry but also can be used in ships, which produce 5 percent of the world’s pollution. In Europe alone, pollution from ships is greater than the pollution of all the cars, trucks and factories.

As a result, Vortex has been conducting tests for the MAN Diesel company, a major international manufacturer of diesel engines for ships. In the latest tests, MAN reported that Vortex’s systems had proven the best in reducing pollution.

In addition, Vortex’s unique technology allows for the reclamation of pollutants — many of which remain useful in industrial production. For example, shipping companies can reuse gasoline and save millions of dollars each year in potash, an essential manufacturing element. In mining, as well, the material that is captured can be reused.

“If you capture material that can be reused or if you sell it, you can pay back the cost of the system pretty quickly,” Harel said.

Beyond the reusability, the simplicity of Vortex’s system helps to reduce maintenance costs — thus making it a more economical choice for industry. By lowering the price, industries that may not otherwise want a pollution-control system would be more likely to use one, even though it may not be required.

“When you have filters you have to clean and replace them,” Harel said. In our case, you don’t have to do it. There are no moving parts in our system; it is static,”
Harnessing the potential to allow for industry to continue producing in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way, Vortex Ecological Technologies seems poised to make a difference in curbing industrial pollution.

“We have a proven technology, a proven product and we are looking for partners,” Harel said.

“We are looking to cover more and more applications worldwide for the benefit of the environment and for business. I hope that the green ideas and green solutions we are developing can help people and help the world.”

B’nai Mitzvah: Ten ways to slash the cost of a big party

Do you have to spend a king’s ransom to have a fabulous bar or bat mitzvah for your child? Absolutely not, but remember that not all money-saving tips are created equal. This one — which I’ve read in several places — wins my top prize as the silliest: Have your party on a Monday and you’ll get a slightly better price from the caterer.

That’s true. In fact you’ll save a fortune, because no one will be able to come! How expensive could it be to feed six people?

In an effort to be Coco Chanel, I have coined an expression: If you have taste, you don’t need a lot of money, and if you don’t have taste, money isn’t going to help. Good taste and style are timeless and transcend matters of price. The simplest table decoration — if rendered with sincerity and a bit of aesthetic charm — is as authentic an expression of chic as the most expensive Paris couture.

The biggest unavoidable costs of a large party are food and music. We’re not even going to discuss music because the role of the music leader — as the person who runs your party — is so important that I wouldn’t recommend economizing there.

The following, though, are some great ideas that will save you money — even if you have more than six people:

1. Host a Joint Party

If your child has close friends who share the same social circle, organize the parents to throw one big party for all the bar/bat mitzvah kids. Then you can afford the best DJ, the best everything. On your child’s actual bar/bat mitzvah day, have a modest party that includes your child’s closest friends.

2. Pick a Hall That Doesn’t Have an ‘Approved Caterer’

Many synagogues require you to choose from a list of approved caterers if you want to use their hall for an event. If your budget is modest and the list doesn’t include a vendor who will work within it, you’ll be forced to spend more if you want to use that room. Some communities don’t have a lot of options, but think creatively and look around — you just need a big room somewhere. If you really want to have your party in your own synagogue and there’s no budget-friendly option in caterers, organize like-minded congregants to talk to the administrators about adding a caterer who will enthusiastically work with modest budgets. Or perhaps even change the policy to let you bring in your own food.

3. Organize Your Own Food

The least expensive caterer I know in my area charges a minimum of about $35 a person for a sit-down meal. Imagine how much great take-out food you could buy each person for that. Order trays from all the local restaurants: sushi, Chinese dumplings, gourmet pizza. Hire some college kids and/or local moms to take care of heating and serving the food.

4. Keep It Simple and, Perhaps, Exotic

Keep the menu simple. Have meatless dishes — you may save a little and you’ll please all the vegetarians and people who observe religious restrictions. Have a different (less expensive but still quality) menu for the kids. Serve inexpensive and unusual ethnic foods. It will be a culinary adventure and no one will be able to determine if the food is cheap or not.

5. Let Them Eat Cake

Shop for a cake at your neighborhood bakery, not the local “bakers to the stars.” They may have very nice designs but no budget to advertise them. If you’re buying a cake, tell the caterer you don’t want dessert — it’s often served before the cake and the cake then goes uneaten. Best idea of all: buy pretty individual cakes and use them as the centerpieces — the culinary equivalent of “multitasking.”

6. Buy Co-Op China

Every parent planning a bar or bat mitzvah knows several other parents who are doing the same, so this is easily arranged. If you’re planning to cater your own party, you’ll need china, utensils and glassware. These are usually supplied by the caterer and can be costly to rent. Far better: get a group of parents together to buy one big set of china from a restaurant supplier and take turns using it. Buy extra –there will be breakage along the way.

7. Buy Your Own Liquor

There are many options in how you handle drinks at your party. You can have a simple wine, juice and soda bar or an expanded version where you have the setups and alcohol for the six to 10 most popular mixed drinks. You do not need to offer a full-service bar to be considered a good host. Hire your own server. See if the wine vendor delivers, if he includes the use of wineglasses and if he will allow you to return unopened bottles for a refund.

8. Make Decorations and Party Favors Yourself

Get your friends to help you — you’ll have so much fun! Don’t worry that they won’t then be surprised by the d├ęcor when they come to the party. The thrill of an opening night is never diminished for the actors just because they’ve rehearsed it a zillion times.

9. Having Flowers? Arrange Them Yourself

If you have a good eye, buy flowers in bulk and make the arrangements yourself. If you don’t have a good eye, get potted flowering plants or get large bunches of one beautiful flower and place them in simple pots. Make simple topiaries by bunching one kind of long-stemmed flower together and tying raffia around the “trunk” of stalks to keep them upright. Jam the bottoms into wet floral foam in a pot and cover foam with moss.

10. Make Entertainers Do Double-Duty

If you’re hiring entertainment in addition to the music, get someone who will create a giveaway, thereby eliminating the need for a separate party favor. At this writing, some of the hot entertainment/giveaway-producing ideas are the classic photo-booth buttons and photo strips, magnets and magazine covers; or a tape of the guest singing karaoke or doing “Dance Heads.”

Gail Greenberg is the author of “MitzvahChic, How to Host a Meaningful, Fun, Drop-Dead Gorgeous Bar or Bat Mitzvah.” For more great ideas, free planning e-mails and other fabulous services for b’nai mitzvah families, visit Tyler Joseph Carl