U.S. And Israeli Cooperation On Clean Energy Projects

concentrated solar photovoltaic system in Israel
A concentrated solar photovoltaic system in Israel.
(cc) Siel

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a milestone in U.S.-Israel cooperation on clean energy technology. With financial support of DOE and the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, the bilateral BIRD Foundation Energy Executive Committee has competitively selected four cooperative clean energy projects in the United States and Israel. This initiative will award up to $3.3 million in U.S.-Israel funding for these four projects.

The four projects selected for award help address critical shared bilateral energy-related goals, while focusing on commercializing DOE technologies. The BIRD Foundation will assist by attracting and incorporating private sector cost-sharing.

The four projects will leverage private sector cost-share for a total project value of $11.6 million:

* HelioFocus Ltd., Ness Ziona, Israel and Capstone Turbine Corporation, Chatsworth, California have been selected for an award of up to $800,000. HelioFocus and Capstone Turbine Corporation will develop and commercialize a micro-turbine to produce electric power from concentrated solar energy. This project includes $2.1 million in private sector cost-share.

* Motorola Israel Ltd., Tel Aviv, Israel and SmartSynch, Inc., Jackson, Mississippi have been selected for an award of up to $900,000. Motorola Israel and SmartSynch will collaborate in the development and commercialization of a platform to enable implementation of a Smart Grid energy management system. This project will integrate Home Area Network and Smart Grid network management software applications to give utilities greater control while allowing end-users the ability to monitor and control consumption. This project includes $2.8 million in private sector cost-share.

* Tigo Energy, Kfar Saba, Israel and U.S. Architectural Glass and Aluminum Co., Inc., Alameda, California have been selected for an award of up to $900,000. This project will support the development and integration of a complete Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system. The partnership will seek to overcome the cost, standardization, generation performance, visibility, and safety challenges that currently hinder large scale adoption of BIPV. This project includes $2.3 million in private sector cost-share.

* TransBiodiesel Ltd., Shfar-Am, Israel and The Purolite Company, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania have been selected for an award of up to $700,000. This project seeks to design a biocatalyst comprised of methanol-resistant lipase immobilized on a cost-effective resin for the production of biodiesel at commercial scales. Lipase biocatalysts offer significant advantages over traditional catalysts used for biodiesel production including lifecycle efficiency gains and consistent product quality, but are currently high-cost and suffer from short operation life-time as they are degraded during the biodiesel production process. This project includes $1.2 million in private sector cost-share.

The projects are expected to begin in 2010.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works to strengthen the United States’ energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships. It supports this goal through enhancing energy efficiency and productivity; bringing clean, reliable, and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace; and making a difference in the everyday lives of Americans by enhancing their energy choices and their quality of life.

The Ministry of National Infrastructures is responsible for a broad range of issues in the fields of energy, water, electricity, fuel and soil. The Ministry supervises the Israeli energy sector, including licensing and R&D activities, as well ensuring the effective use of natural resources and protection of the environment for the benefit of all citizens.

The BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation works to encourage cooperation between Israeli and American companies in the various areas of technology, and provides assistance in locating strategic partners from both countries for developing joint products. During its 32 years, the BIRD Foundation has invested in more than 800 projects, which have yielded direct and indirect revenues of about $8 billion.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any rights in the participating companies or in the project itself. The financial assistance is repaid as royalties from sales. The Foundation provides support of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not demand that the investment be repaid if the project fails to reach the sales stage.

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