Omri Lulav 1940 - 2018

The article by Prof. Uri Mingelgrin was published In "Ash at Work: Applications, Science, and Sustainability of Coal Ash", Issue 2, 2018, pp. 56, ACAA: American Coal Ash Association

Omri Lulav, a leading figure in the coal ash community, passed away on July 3, 2018. Omri created the Israeli Coal Ash Administration and, except for the first two years of its existence, served as its General Director – and did so to his last day. In this capacity, he performed nothing less than a miracle. When Omri assumed this position, most of the coal ash in Israel was disposed of in the sea. Now, all coal ash produced in Israel is beneficially used, and the demand for ash exceeds its supply.

His success in turning ash from a waste to a resource did not come easily. All of us who are involved in the world of coal ash understand how hard it is to overcome unfounded fear and regulatory barriers to ash utilization, as well as the influence of business interests dealing with competing raw materials. In this context, Omri's achievement in making use of all the coal ash produced in Israel and eliminating the need to dispose any of it is even more impressive.

Omri was devoted public servant. He gave all of himself as head of the Coal Ash Administration to advance the cause of coal ash use. He understood the value of coal ash as a byproduct that can substitute for raw materials, some of which are diminishing resources. Omri organized a number of international workshops designed to formulate proper regulations and optimal procedures for the use of ash consistent with protecting human health and the environment. He kept in touch with leading experts on coal ash worldwide and initiated research projects in which the beneficial use of coal ash in various areas – including building, infrastructure, sewage treatment, and agriculture – was demonstrated and protocols for maximizing ash's benefits were developed.

With the help of the Coal Ash Administration staff, Omri developed a website that became an unparalleled source of information regarding coal ash, its regulation, uses, disposal, and properties. He devoted much energy and time to the formulation of a set of guidelines and environmental conditions that will ensure safe use of the coal ash and to the harmonization of these guidelines with those in force in leading coal-consuming nations. The preparation of this set of regulations was completed not long before Omri passed away, and its future adoption by Israeli authorities may be a fitting memorial to him.

Omri was recognized internationally as a leading expert on coal ash and as a farsighted and trustworthy colleague. He was well liked and respected both at home and abroad. Witness, for example, the condolence letter from Professor David Kosson, of Vanderblit University. David wrote, "Omri was a great man with vision and leadership." And indeed, Omri was just that.