Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DOE awards grants to HelioFocus, Tigo Energy, TransBiodiesel and Motorola Israel for U.S.-Israel energy projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the award of $3.3 million in grants for four U.S.-Israel cooperative clean energy projects. The projects were selected by the BIRD Foundation and will be funded by the DOE and Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures.

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

HelioFocus Ltd., based in Ness Ziona, Israel and Capstone Turbine Corporation, based in Chatsworth, California have been selected for an award of up to $800,000. HelioFocus and Capstone Turbine 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. IC Green Energy invested in HelioFocus last year, and this blog reported on HelioFocus' cooperation with Capstone Turbine back in August 2008.

Motorola Israel Ltd., based in Tel Aviv, Israel and SmartSynch, Inc., based in 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, based in Kfar Saba, Israel and U.S. Architectural Glass and Aluminum Co., Inc., based in 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. Earlier this year, Tigo Energy announced a $10 million Series B financing from Israel Cleantech Ventures, Matrix Partners, OVP and Clal Energy.

TransBiodiesel Ltd., based in Shfar-Am, Israel and The Purolite Company, based in 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. This is TransBiodiesel's second BIRD Foundation grant -- in 2008, it was awarded a grant to partner with Rohm & Hass on biodiesel production.

The projects are expected to begin in 2010.

The BIRD Foundation promotes cooperation between Israeli and U.S. companies in various technology areas and assists in identifying strategic partners in both countries, in order to develop and commercialize novel technologies and products.

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.

The BIRD Energy program is the result of the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, which was enacted in December 2007 and formally launched at the Eilat-Eilot Energy Conference in February 2009.

Related Posts:

Tigo Energy raises $10 million Series B from ICV, Matrix, OVP and Clal Energy

BIRD Foundation invests in U.S.-Israel cleantech projects

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

AquAgro invests in Transbiodiesel

IC Green Energy invests in HelioFocus

U.S is near approval for clean energy cooperation with Israel

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ormat, NV Energy sign 30MW geothermal power contract

Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced this week that it has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with NV Energy, Inc. for the purchase 30 megawatts (MW) from the McGinness Hills Geothermal project, which is currently under construction.

The PPA is subject to various approvals including the approval of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and is projected to come on line in 2012.

When completed, the McGinness Hills project will increase the total output supplied from Ormat to NV Energy, Inc. to approximately 135 MWs, helping NV Energy to meet its renewable energy requirement. Nevada's renewable portfolio standard legislation requires 15 percent of all electricity generated in the state to be derived from new renewable energy sources by the end of 2012.

Dita Bronicki, CEO of Ormat said, “We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with NV Energy and are grateful for its support of geothermal power. This PPA is further evidence that geothermal can supply a significant amount of power and is a preferable choice given its cost effectiveness, reliability and baseload nature.”

Ormat plans to apply for federal stimulus funds to help pay for the project, including investment tax credits or performance tax credits, and an Energy Department loan guarantee to back debt financing.

The McGinness Hills project will consist of Ormat binary energy converters that re-inject the geothermal fluid produced.

Ormat Technologies is the Reno, Nevada-based subsidiary of Israel-based Ormat Industries.

Related Posts:

Ormat teams with Sunday Energy on $195M joint venture for 36 MW of solar

Ormat doubles production capacity at Israeli factory

Ormat to build 330 MW geothermal plant in Indonesia

Ormat secures $65m contract for Costa Rican geothermal plant

Ormat secures $16m geothermal contract in Turkey

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

BrightSource signs research agreements with Hebrew University

Yissum Research Development Company, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced this week that it has signed two research agreements with BrightSource Industries Israel (BSII) for the development of new materials for solar thermal power plants.

Under the agreement, BrightSource will fund research in the laboratories of Professors Daniel Mandler, and Shlomo Magdassi, both from the Institute of Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This research collaboration is based on the know-how of Yissum and BSII.

In addition to payment of research fees, BSII will compensate Yissum upon the successful implementation of the technology in its solar power plants. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The new materials may be integrated in the solar thermal power plant technology developed by BSII and implemented in new utility-scale power plants worldwide.

The BSII technology generates electric power from solar energy by using a field of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a boiler mounted atop a central tower (LPT Luz Power Tower), where water is converted to superheated steam that drives a turbine generator.

"Solar energy is definitely the most important, yet underutilized, clean energy source. Israel has always been a leading player in the solar energy field, and the Hebrew University is proud to collaborate with BrightSource Industries Israel in increasing the efficiency of solar thermal power plants," said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum.

Yoel Gilon
, Senior Vice President of BSII, said, "BSII's partnership with Yissum will leverage the academic and research excellence of the Hebrew University to develop cutting-edge new technologies for clean, cost-effective solar thermal power plants. The excellent level of cooperation among Yissum, the university researchers and BSII will be of great value to all the parties involved."

BSII, formerly known as Luz II, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oakland, California-based BrightSource Energy. BSII provides product development and engineering services, and supplies the solar fields, including heliostats, solar boilers, and control systems for all of BrightSource Energy's projects.

Related Posts:

BrightSource / Luz II dedicate Negev Solar Energy Development Center

Hebrew U.'s Yissum launches cleantech program

Hebrew University to invest in cleantech projects

BrightSource Energy expands Nevada solar thermal project to 960 MW

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jerusalem event highlights U.S.-Israel energy cooperation

On Sunday, November 8th, hundreds of young professionals will gather in San Francisco for the Jewish Response to the Energy Challenge conference featuring cleantech entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers.

The conference will be broadcast to several cities around the world, including Jerusalem, where organizers have arranged for their own simulcast event on the U.S.-Israel Partnership for Clean and Secure Energy Solutions.

Dr. Isaac Berzin, Director of the Institute for Renewable Energy Policy at IDC Herzliya (and Founder of Greenfuel Technologies) will give the keynote address.

Dr. Berzin will be followed by a panel discussion featuring:
Congratulations to Beata Sheyer and Lisa Wolf, both new immigrants to Israel, for putting together such an interesting program.

Related Posts:

Conference to highlight Jewish community's response to energy challenges

Isaac Berzin addresses 130 people at Cleantech Israel meetup