Sunday, March 22, 2009

Israeli water technology exports double in 2008

The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute reports that water technology exports totaled $1.4 billion in 2008 - double the 2005 amount. The global water market is worth $400 billion annually and is expected to rise to $537 billion next year.

To mark World Water Day, the Export Institute published figures about the country's water technologies industry. There are 250 companies in the sector of which 200 export their products. 50 companies in the sector are defined as start-ups.

These companies are involved in sectors including water management systems, safety and security for water sources, irrigation management systems, desalination, water recycling and purification.

Israel is ranked first in the world in recycling water for agriculture: 75% of sewage is recycled for agriculture.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Variable Wind raises $2.5m from Quercus Trust, 21Ventures and AquAgro Fund

Variable Wind Solutions, a Tel-Aviv, Israel-based startup developing products to improve the efficiency of wind turbines, has raised $2.5m in its latest round of financing.

A report in Globes identifies 21Ventures as the lead investor, joined by AquAgro Fund and Brooks Keret Group. 21Ventures' web site, however, names Quercus Trust as the lead investor in Variable Wind.

Quercus Trust, funded by multimillionaire David Gelbaum, has quietly become one of the most active investors in the global cleantech industry. According to Greentech Media, David Gelbaum and Quercus Trust have made at least 47 cleantech investments. Five of Gelbaum's cleantech investments, in cooperation with 21Ventures, are in Israeli startups: 3GSolar, BioPetroClean, ETV Motors, TechnoSpin Wind, and Variable Wind.

Variable Wind is led by CEO Ian Kaplan, COO Gil Ziv, and CTO Dror Nadam.

Information about Variable Wind's products for small wind turbines, large wind turbines, and urban wind farms is available on the company's web site.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

IQwind a Red Herring Top 100 Global Company

IQwind, an Israel-based developer of variable gear technology that improves the energy generation efficiency of wind turbines, announced that it has been recognized by Red Herring as one of the Top 100 Global Companies.

IQwind co-founder and CEO Gideon Ziegelman said, "We are thrilled to have been selected to the distinguished Red Herring Top 100 Global list. We are introducing a disruptive gear technology into the wind energy market in order to improve the efficiency of both old and new wind turbines. We will begin retrofitting existing turbines by next year and look forward to becoming a key contributor to the enablement of more efficient production of renewable wind energy."

IQwind received a first round of investment from Terra Venture Partners in 2007.

"We were so pleased to announce IQwind as a Red Herring Top 100 Global Company," commented Red Herring publisher Alex Vieux. "IQwind has proven to be a company excelling in their industry and its ripples have turned into waves. It was difficult for us to narrow down, but we are pleased to have included IQwind in our list of promising companies. We look forward to the changes it will make to its industry in the future."

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Ben-Gurion U. researchers develop green window technology

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have developed a new, highly energy-efficient window technology, featuring two reversible panes that will save energy all year round in homes and office buildings, according to an announcement by the University.

"The 'Seasons Window' features the only glazing system that permits effective passive heating in winter without glare or high radiant temperature near a window and reduces unwanted solar gains in summer without obstructing the view outdoors," explains Prof. Evyatar Erell, a researcher at BGU's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

The reversible window system technology features two panes: one clear, airtight pane, and a smaller, tinted glass with an opening on top and bottom, which allows air to circulate between the panes. The window panes are fixed to a single frame and can be swiveled easily during seasonal changes - or even on a daily basis, in response to changing weather. The window system is intended for buildings in sunny regions with distinct hot and cold seasons.

In winter, short wave solar radiation is transmitted through the clear glass, and is absorbed by the tinted glass which faces indoors. The interior is heated in two ways: by long wave radiation emitted from the warm tinted pane, and by heating of the air in contact with the warm glass, which flows through the gap between the panes and returns to a room as much a 20°c. warmer. The clear pane -- preferably double-glazed with a low-E (emittance) coating -- traps heat inside the building.

In summer, the glass panes are easily rotated so the tinted glass faces outward and absorbs the warm solar rays. This pane is then cooled by the outside air circulating between the two panes. The clear glass pane, which is on the interior, absorbs unwanted infrared radiation from the warmer exterior pane and helps to reduce a building's cooling loads.

According to co-developer and BGU Prof. Yair Etzion, "The heat lost in houses in various regions depends on both climate and on design and construction." A common indicator is energy required to heat or cool a building, per unit floor area per year, with values ranging from zero to more typical values of 150-300 kilowatts in many older buildings in the United States and Europe. "By converting solar radiation into heat, our new green window solution conserves energy and saves money over time."

The windows will be produced and marketed in Israel by Alubin, an aluminum company.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act launches at Eilat Energy Conference

The Unites States – Israel Energy Cooperation Act, an international collaboration aimed at developing renewable energy technologies to reduce the world's oil dependence, officially launched during the recent Eilat-Eilot International Renewable Energy Conference.

The Cooperation Act, which will fund eligible joint ventures between U.S. and Israeli businesses, has already allocated $2 million for 2009 ($1 million from each country), with a significant increase expected in future years. The grant program is targeted at biofuel, solar thermal, and electric vehicle technologies.

"Israel is well-known in the world as a technology innovator. The concentration of scientific innovation in the country is impressive," said Jonathan Shrier, Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy. "This cooperation between the United States and Israel is unique in that we have a partner who brings a lot to the table."

Two projects, run by Seambiotic and Better Place, have already received approval.

Seambiotic is developing technology to utilize flue gas from coal burning power stations for algae cultivation. The company aims to grow and process marine microalgae using an ecologically-based environmental system to reduce air pollution and global warming.

Better Place is a venture-backed company aiming to reduce global dependency on oil through the creation of nationwide electric vehicle networks.

The U.S. Department of Energy and Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures have agreed that a researcher exchange and conference circuit are two important elements of their collaboration. Two conferences in the U.S. and two in Israel will take place annually. The annual conference in Sde Boker, Israel, will focus on the technological advancements in the Renewable Energy industry while the annual Eilat-Eilot conference will serve as a platform for industry-ready technologies to exhibit and market their offerings. In addition, researchers from Israel will spend significant time working in the U.S. market, while researchers from the U.S. will do the same in Israel.

Other announcements made at the Eilat Energy Conference include the launch of the Timna Renewable Energy Park, the centerpiece of the Eilat-Eilot region's efforts to turn Southern Israel into the "Silicon Valley" of renewable energy, and the AORA solar thermal plant in Kibbutz Samar, the world's first commercial hybrid solar gas-turbine power plant.

"The developments presented at the Eilat-Eilot Conference demonstrate the region's leadership in the renewable energy industry," Said Shlomo Wald, Chief Scientist, Ministry of National Infrastructures. "We are taking action to find sustainable solutions to Israel’s and the world's energy crisis, and we hope others see Israel as a major contributor."

For perspectives on the Eilat Energy Conference, check out these blog posts by Gil Dibner, Principal at Genesis Partners, and Rabbi Julian Sinclair of the Jewish Climate Initiative.

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AqWise wins EU Eureka grant to develop wastewater treatment system

AqWise, a Herzliya, Israel-based wastewater treatment company, has won a €2 million grant from the European Union Eureka R&D program.

The funds, to be shared with AqWise's Dutch partners Agriton B.V., Westt, Aquaexplorer, and Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden, will be used to develop a combined anaerobic and aerobic reactor system for treating wastewater

AqWise will develop a dynamic anaerobic aerobic reactor ("DANA") that will allow the integration of anaerobic and aerobic processes in one vertical configuration. Under the terms of the agreement, Aqwise will develop the system and its Dutch partners will integrate it.

The system is designed to help sewage treatment companies reduce the number of treatment tanks in a wastewater treatment plant.

Details of the grant are available here on the Eureka web site.

AqWise was founded by Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, now the CEO and CTO, respectively, of microbial fuel cell startup Emefcy.

Aqwise's investors include Israel Cleantech Ventures, Elron Electronic Industries Ltd., and Mexico-based steel company (and AqWise customer) AHMSA.

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