Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ormat geothermal project in Guatemala receives United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism registration

Ormat Technologies, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Yavne, Israel-based Ormat, announced today that the Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ("UNFCCC") officially registered Ormat's Amatitlan Geothermal Project in Guatemala as a Clean Development Mechanism ("CDM") on December 12, 2008.

The Mechanism was designed to provide business from developed countries with an economic incentive to help reduce carbon emissions and increase sustainable development in countries that do not have emission reduction targets. The Project is expected to offset emissions of approximately 83,000 tones of CO2 per year.

With Amatitlan registered under the CDM, the project will be eligible to receive certified emission reduction ("CER") credits, each equivalent to one tone of carbon dioxide, which can be traded or sold. The Project has a long term contract to sell all Amatitlan's CERs to a buyer domiciled in Europe.

Ormat's generating portfolio includes 13 projects totaling 414 MW in the United States, Central America, Kenya and New Zealand. The Amatitlan project is Ormat's first registered CDM project and one of the few CDM registered geothermal projects worldwide and the only project in Guatemala that is CDM registered. Amatitlan was developed on a build-own-operate basis and comprises a 20 MW geothermal power plant based on Ormat Energy Converters. The Project has a long-term power purchase agreement with the Instituto Nacional de Electrificatio.

Mr. Lucien Y. Bronicki, Chairman of Ormat, said: "This registration is a major encouragement for Ormat to continue developing additional geothermal CDM eligible projects worldwide. Even looking beyond the benefit it provides for Ormat, it is an arrangement with far-reaching advantages that will allow for developing host countries to gain access to cost effective, clean and reliable base-load power, that will help reduce their dependency on imported fuels and on rainfall required to sustain their Hydro reservoirs."

Related Posts:

Ormat discovers magma chamber in Hawaii

Ormat completes $150m Kenyan geothermal project

Ormat secures Alaskan geothermal rights

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kinrot signs cooperation agreement with California water incubator

The Kinrot Incubator recently signed a cooperation agreement with a California water technology incubator: the Claude Laval Water and Energy Technology (WET) Incubator.

WET is based on California State University's Fresno campus. Established in 2007, WET is a $5 million partnership between Fresno State, the International Center for Water Technology, and the Central Valley Business Incubator.

In an interview with Globes, Kinarot CEO Assaf Barnea described the cooperation agreement between Kinrot and WET. "The cooperation between us is on three levels: joint research, joint development based on innovative technology, and marketing water technology. The significance for us is the joint marketing of the products. The American incubator is like an industrial park, and the firms in our portfolio that want to meet other firms will find partners willing to listen there. We'll join in meeting potential investors. The water technology market is very conservative, and you have to form close ties in order to make sales."

Vancouver-based Stern Partners acquired Kinrot in 2006.

In June, Kinarot signed an agreement with the city of Los Angeles on water technology. The agreement will allow Israeli start-ups to use Los Angeles Department of Water & Power facilities for pilot projects.

Related Posts:

Los Angeles and Israel to cooperate on water research

U.S. Army venture fund looks to Israel for water technologies

Kinrot incubator names Assaf Barnea as CEO

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

The Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD Foundation) will invest $9 million in 12 joint projects between Israeli and US companies.

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.

Four of this year's projects are cleantech-related:

(1) NanoReady Ltd. and Applied Nanotech will jointly develop conductive copper ink. Caesarea, Israel-based NanoReady develops, markets and manufactures nano particles from a wide variety of materials. By more seamlessly and efficiently integrating with and enhancing product manufacturing processes, NanoReady particles enable superior finished products, while also reducing energy consumption and processing time and cost.

(2) Oree Inc. and Intematix Corp. will jointly develop a planar illumination LED module. Oree, based in Ramat Gan, Israel, has received venture capital funding from Genesis Partners and Gimv. In November, Oree announced that it had secured a $4 million venture loan from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Kreos Capital for manufacturing and the expansion of business development activities.

(3) Power Paper Inc. and GE GRC-Lighting will jointly develop a self-powered organic light-emitting diode (OLED) for lighting. Power Paper develops and markets technology applications that operate with the thin and flexible, environment-friendly micro-power source that the company has developed. In November, Power Paper raised $30 million from Apax Partners, Clal Industries and Investments and the Infinity Venture Capital Fund.

(4) Transiodiesel Ltd. and the NYSE-listed Rohm and Haas will jointly develop an enzymatic process for biodiesel production. Transbiodiesel Ltd. has patented technology on the use of unique immobilized lipases for the production of biodiesel from different oils, including plant oils, animal fats and recycled greases. In October, the AquAgro Fund acquired 23.5% of Transbiodiesel in return for a $1.5 million investment.

The BIRD Foundation said that it had received a record number of requests for funding in 2008. It expects that the trend will continue because of the global economic situation.

Related Posts:

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

AquAgro invests in Transbiodiesel

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

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

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rotem Industries and Midwest Research Institute to establish renewable energy technology center in Dimona

Midwest Research Institute (MRI) and Rotem Industries Ltd announced that they have reached an agreement to jointly establish a Renewable Energy Technological Center (RETC) in the Rotem Industrial Park located in Dimona, Israel.

MRI and Rotem aim to develop and commercialize new clean technologies at the RETC.
MRI is one of America's leading independent research institutes conducting research in the areas of national security and defense, energy and environment, life sciences, food and agriculture, and transportation safety. It is one of the two entities in the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, that manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Rotem, a quasi-governmental entity, specializes in evaluating seed technologies, bringing them to market readiness and commercializing the resulting products. In 2005, Rotem established a Renewable Energy Innovation Center that is now home to projects like Leviathan Energy's experimental wind park and BrightSource Energy's "Solar Energy Development Center".

MRI and Rotem will also collaborate with TASC Capital to invest in promising renewable energy technologies.

MRI and Rotem will organize and manage the RETC, with Rotem providing the facilities and MRI providing expertise in the technical screening and evaluation of potential projects. It is anticipated the Center will be ready for operation in January 2009.

"In Israel, MRI has found innovative technologies with commercialization potential that will advance new renewable energy applications in the marketplace," said Roger Starnes, MRI Group Vice President of Strategic and Emerging Program Development. "MRI's and Rotem's capabilities complement each other and by working together through the Center we will be able to accelerate the advancement of these technologies."

This agreement would seem to put Rotem in a strong position to receive government support under a Negev renewable energy R&D program approved by the Israeli government in August, 2008.

Related Posts:

BrightSource / Luz II dedicate Negev Solar Energy Development Center

Friday, December 19, 2008

SolarEdge raises $23m in venture capital

SolarEdge Technologies Ltd has completed a $23 million financing round. Vertex Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by the company's existing investors, Genesis Partners, Walden International, and Opus Capital, according to a report in Globes.

SolarEdge is developing advanced power-harvesting solutions for photovoltaic arrays that will lower the average cost per watt produced. The company's solution includes chipsets and software that improve the power conversion capacity of photovoltaic panels, which makes them more economically viable. An abstract of the company's U.S. patent application from June 2008 is available here.

SolarEdge CEO Guy Sella and VP product development Lior Handlesman founded the company in 2006, together with Amir Fishelov, Meir Adest, and Yoav Galin.

The company's roots can apparently be traced to the founding team members' service in the Israel Defense Forces. Sella commanded the Technology Unit of the IDF's Department of Military Intelligence in 2001-2002 and Fishelov and Handlesman served in management roles in the IDF for close to a decade. Meir Adest is a graduate of the prestigious Talpiot program and recipient of the Israel Defense Award (2004) and the Director of Intelligence Innovation Award (2001).

SolarEdge has raised $35 million to date.

Related Posts:

SolarEdge exits stealth mode and plans Series B financing

SolarEdge raises $11.8 million

Ormat discovers magma chamber in Hawaii

Ormat Technologies, the U.S. subsidiary of Yavne, Israel-based Ormat, discovered magma while drilling a geothermal well in Hawaii and announced the discovery this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

The discovery was the first time magma was found its natural environment instead of being ejected by volcano eruption, said Bruce Marsh, a geologist at the Johns Hopkins University and a magma expert, during a press event at the AGU meeting.

"It's like Jurassic Park – it's what's for me, to see this in its natural habitat," Marsh said. "This is a singular event, the first contact with inner Earth."

Ormat began drilling the well in the Puna Geothermal Venture field and power plant in the eastern part of the Big Island of Hawaii in 2005.

Ormat, which has been operating the Puna field and 30-megawatt power plant since 1993, has no commercial use for the magma, but the magma's high temperature means the rock surrounding it could be ideal for extracting geothermal energy.

Ormat plans to drill in areas above the magma chamber and inject water into wells to produce the steam necessary for electricity generation, said Lucien Bronicki, chairman and chief technology officer of Ormat, after the AGU press event.

Related Posts:

Ormat completes $150m Kenyan geothermal project

Ormat secures Alaskan geothermal rights

Ormat projects approved in Nevada

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hebrew U.'s Yissum launches cleantech program

Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is launching a $1 million program to support the development of cleantech inventions by scientists at the University.

"We are pleased to launch Yissum's Cleantech Programme, in response to the growing need for alternative energy solutions, novel technologies to combat water shortage and cleaner technologies to protect the environment," said Nava Swersky Sofer, President and CEO of Yissum. "We hope that this initiative will assist in bridging the gap between the Hebrew University's cutting-edge research in these fields and the product-based industry, leading eventually to the commercialization of new 'green' technologies for the benefit of us all."

Initially, five novel technologies were chosen, three of which aim to reduce the polluting effects of toxic substances and create alternative, clean, energy sources. These inventions involve the generation of clean fuel, detoxification of gasses emitted by burning fossil fuels and detecting toxic chemicals.

Prof. Yoel Sasson, from the Hebrew University's Institute of Chemistry, and his team invented a novel method for the effective clearing of poisonous mercury from gases emitted into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants.

Professors Aharon J. Agranat, Chairman of the Department of Applied Physics, and Shimshon Belkin, from the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, invented a novel device enabling the simultaneous monitoring of an array of biological sensors designed to detect toxic substances.

Prof. Uri Banin, from the Institute of Chemistry and the Harvey M. Krueger Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, invented a novel family of photocatalysts based on new nanomaterials. Photocatalysis is the acceleration of a photoreaction in the presence of a catalyst and provides a way to harness solar energy for useful chemical work.

More information about these projects is available in the official press release from Yissum.

Previous Yissum "success stories" include water technology companies Leafsen, En Gibton, and TreaTec21 Industries.

Related Posts:

Hebrew University to invest in cleantech projects

Monday, December 15, 2008

BotanoCap raises $2.3m to develop environmentally-friendly pesticides

BotanoCap Ltd., an Ashkelon Technological Industries (ATI) portfolio company, has raised $2.3 million from Swiss holding company BHCO Group, a current investor, at a company value of $11.3 million, according to a report in Globes. BotanoCap is developing patented environmentally-friendly pesticides and disinfectants based on microcapsules of essential oils.

BotanoCap is collaborating with Mekorot to develop pesticides for water sources and drinking water. BotanoCap CTO Prof. Arie Markus, vice CTO Paullina Strongin, and Regulatory Affairs Officer Dr. Charles Linder founded the company. Dr. Yigal Gezundhait, the company's CEO, recently participated in the California Israel Chamber of Commerce Cleantech Tour. BotanoCap was profiled on Israel21c last week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CleanIsrael Cleantech Startup Showcase

On December 15th, the CleanIsrael Network will host its first Cleantech Startup Showcase, featuring presentations by 5 Israeli startups from the energy, water, and green technology sectors.

The presenting companies are Agam Energy, Emefcy, High Check Control, Phoebus Energy, and SOVNA.

The event is sponsored by Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. and organized in conjunction with IDC Herzliya's new Institute for Renewable Energy Policy and Applied Research (IDC IREP), founded by Dr. Isaac Berzin.

This the first event of its kind for the CleanIsrael Network. Founded last March by the author of this blog and Gene Dolgin, an analyst at Israel Cleantech Ventures, the group grown into a network of 650+ cleantech-related entrepreneurs, investors, academic researchers, service providers, and government officials. CleanIsrael's regular networking events host speakers from industry-leading organizations such as Better Place, Cleantech Group, Israel Cleantech Ventures, and Sindicatum Carbon Capital.

More than 150 people have already registered to attend the event in Israel. For more information, and to register, click here.

There will also be a live web cast of the event to several North American groups, including the Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance, California Israel Chamber of Commerce, Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and the law offices of Gowlings in Toronto and Ottawa. Click here to register for the event in Boston.

Several of the participating companies should be familiar to readers of this blog and observers of Israel's cleantech industry.

Emefcy, co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, who previously founded wastewater treatment company AqWise, has already received venture funding from Israel Cleantech Ventures. Emefcy, which is developing products that produce electricity from wastewater treatment by leveraging Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology, was featured in Jerusalem Post. Greentech Media detailed Levy's efforts to raise $3.5-5.0m in a Series A funding round during the CICC Cleantech Tour of Silicon Valley last month.

Phoebus Energy, which received a first round of venture funding from Terra Venture Partners in 2007, is developing a hybrid heating unit to more efficiently produce energy for institutions such as hotels, hospitals, and factories. Phoebus, and its CEO, Yoav Ben-Yaacov, were featured in Israel21c earlier this year.

SOVNA, a startup that installs vertical micro wind turbines atop high-rise buildings, was previously called ALT-E and was featured in Ha'aretz earlier this year. Erez Ella, a noted Israeli architect whose projects include the Museum Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of Sovna's co-founders and also participated in the CICC Cleantech Tour of Silicon Valley last month.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ormat completes $150m Kenyan geothermal project

Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced this week the completion of phase two construction at the Olkaria III geothermal power plant in Kenya. The power plant has been synchronized to the grid, adding 35 MW of base load capacity to the existing 13 MW plant that has been in continuous operation since 2001 with availability between 97% and 99%.

The expanded power plant will save 120,000 tons of imported oil, mitigate approximately 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year and reduce the average production cost of electricity in Kenya while reducing its dependence on imports.

"Ormat is proud to have built up the plant capacity to the original target of 48 MW," said Lucien Bronicki, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Yavne, Israel-based Ormat. "This accomplishment was made possible by Ormat's belief in Kenya's economy combined with the hard work and dedication of our Kenyan employees and colleagues."

Ormat Technologies financed the construction of both phases along with the drilling of the wells by investing approximately $150 million into the project from its own internal sources.

The additional clean, base load geothermal energy generated by Olkaria III will increase the supply to the local transmission, distribution and retail utility, Kenya Power and Lighting Company Ltd (KPLC), and help meet the country's increasing demand for reliable, fuel-free electricity.

"Ormat's commitment to Africa started with our first project - a solar pump installed in Mali in 1966," added Mr. Bronicki. "We hope this project spurs additional development and opens the world's eyes to Africa's immense renewable potential. We sincerely hope that Olkaria III will serve as an example for other private investors in Africa and encourage International Financial Institutions to upgrade their support for private renewable energy projects."

Related Posts:

Ormat secures Alaskan geothermal rights

Ormat secures $16m geothermal contract in Turkey

Israel and the African Green Revolution

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

SolarEdge exits stealth mode and plans Series B financing

SolarEdge, a venture-backed developer of power-conversion technologies that combine hardware and software to improve solar-system efficiencies, is beginning to reveal details about its business plan.

In an exclusive interview with Greentech Media, Lior Handelsman, VP and Co-Founder of the Herzliya, Israel-based startup, says that SolarEdge is engaged in sales agreements, testing agreements, joint development agreements and has booked significant initial orders for its products from major module manufacturers and system integrators.

According to Handelsman, SolarEdge has a number of term sheets and will be closing on a $20 to $25 million Series B round of venture capital financing in the coming days or weeks.

The company is attempting to solve problems related to partial shading of solar panels, which can result in dramatic reductions in solar panel output. SolarEdge claims that the performance of a photovoltaic (PV) solar system can be improved by 15 percent to 20 percent by using the company’s chips and inverters

SolarEdge was founded in 2006 by Handelsman and Amir Fishelov. Handelsman and Fishelov founded the company after leaving the IDF, where both served in management positions. The company's CEO is Guy Sella, who was most recently a partner at Star Ventures and commanded the Technology Unit of the IDF's Department of Military Intelligence in 2001-2002.

SolarEdge raised $11.8 million in a 2007 Series A financing led by Genesis Partners, Walden International and Opus Capital.

Related Posts:

GE invests in SolarEdge, joining $23m Series B funding round

Solaredge partners with BP Solar to test solar efficiency products

SolarEdge raises $23m in venture capital

SolarEdge raises $11.8 million

Italy, Israel to form cleantech working group

National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer came to an agreement last week with his Italian counterpart, Minister of Economic Development Claudio Scajola, to cooperate on alternative energy research and application.

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, the two met as part of an Israel-Italy business seminar in Tel Aviv. Two weeks ago, Ben-Eliezer came to an agreement with Italian Environment Minister Stefania Presigiacomo to cooperate on water issues.

Italy is Israel's fifth-largest export market. In 2007, Israeli exports to Italy amounted to €1.8 billion, representing an increase of 9% over the previous year.

Related Posts:

Los Angeles and Israel to cooperate on water research

India, Israel to collaborate on cleantech

Germany and Israel reach bilateral agreements on cleantech cooperation

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

US & Israel to launch energy cooperation agreement at Eilat Energy Conference

The Eilat-Eilot International Renewable Energy Conference announced that the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, passed last year by the U.S. Congress, is expected to launch at the upcoming Eilat-Eilot energy conference, to be held from February 17-19, 2009, in Eilat, Israel.

The cooperation act will fund eligible joint ventures between U.S. and Israeli businesses, as well as establish the International Energy Advisory Board. Hezi Kugler, Director General of the Ministry of National Infrastructures will be leading the delegation of National Infrastructure representatives who will be in attendance at the conference.

“The Ministry of National Infrastructures views with high import the development of the Eilat-Eilot Region as a center of renewable energy solutions, and we not only fully support them in this pursuit, but we ourselves are very involved in advancing their initiatives,” Kugler said. “The conference is an important step towards developing the alternative energy capabilities of this region, and will certainly push us forward in becoming an alternative energy world leader.”

Timna Renewable Energy Park

The conference will also feature the unveiling of plans for 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. It will feature technologies from companies around the world, with planned projects to include a combined wind/solar "farm"; a solar thermal power plant; a solarized turbine pilot plant and the production of biogas from municipal waste.

"The Arava is home to intense sun and a pioneering spirit, which are the necessary ingredients for creating a renewable energy revolution in the State of Israel", said Yosef I. Abramowitz, president of the Arava Power Company, a leading solar developer.

Leading Solar Power Companies

Participating Israeli solar companies, including the Arava Power Company (APC), Solar Power Israel and Sunday Solar Energy, intend on using the conference to launch their next phases of growth. Recently, APC announced an agreement to utilize kibbutz land in the Arava and the Negev for solar fields generating at least 500 MW, and eventually one gigawatt (GW) or more, while energy integrator Sunday Solar Energy announced a NIS 500 million ($133 million USD) investment in photovoltaic solar arrays for kibbutzim across Israel. The investment is expected to be made across the country during the next two years.

The conference will also feature international firms such as the Google-backed eSolar, the German company Concentrix and SunPower, one of the world’s largest solar power technologies companies.

Conference sponsors include Brightsource Energy, Chromagen, Granite HaCarmel and Erdinast, Ben Nathan & Co. Advocates.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Green Economy Conference in Tel Aviv

The annual Green Economy Conference, organized by Ernst & Young, The Marker, and Life and Environment (Chaim ve' Sviva), an umbrella organization incorporating the work of over 80 environmental organizations in Israel, is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv on November 20th.
The organizers have put together an impressive agenda, which includes presentations from international cleantech leaders like Jeff Renaud (Director, Ecomagination, GE); Neil Auerbach (Managing Partner, Hudson Clean Energy Partners); Michel Goguen (General Partner, Sequoia Capital); Roger Saillant (Former CEO, Plug Power); Justin Adams (Head of Venturing, BP Alternative Energy); Shai Weiss (Managing Partner, Virgin Green Fund); and Nick Parker (Co-Founder and Chairman, Cleantech Group).

Israeli cleantech industry leaders participating in the conference include Glen Schwaber (General Partner, Israel Cleantech Ventures); Astorre Modena (General Partner, Terra Venture Partners); Booky Oren (President & CEO, Miya, Arison Group); Hillel Milo (Managing Partner, AquAgro Fund); and Tamar Naor (Founder, TN Ventures).

If you are in Israel this week, this event is a "can't miss" event.

I recently had a chance to speak with Itay Zetelny, Cleantech Leader for Ernst & Young Israel, about the Green Economy Conference and his take on Israel's cleantech industry.

JS: What are the origins of the Ernst & Young's Cleantech Conference?

: The first CleanTech Conference took place in 2007 as an independent track within the WATEC Convention. The success of the event together with the enthusiastic feedback led Ernst & Young to organize its own event.

JS: What are the goals of the conference? Who should attend?

IZ: The object is to offer Israeli Cleantech entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to present their ventures to leading global investors and create a platform for in-depth discussions regarding possible partnerships and/or investment opportunities. In addition, we are aiming to raise the awareness of the business community as well as of decision makers to the growing importance and value of sustainability considerations in business today, vis-à-vis the climate crisis.The conference will be focusing on the Cleantech sector performance in global financial markets, climate change as a business opportunity, technology trends, project financing, collaboration and multinational companies’ perspective as well as rules and regulations. It is intended for R&D companies, project companies, VCs, investment banks, international technology providers and researchers.

JS: What is Ernst & Young's role in Israel's cleantech industry? What services do you and the Cleantech Advisory Group provide to investors and entrepreneurs?

IZ: Ernst & Young ia a pioneer in offering services to the growing Cleantech industry in Israel. Three years ago the firm has undertaken the task of developing a unique and comprehensive platform for water and energy companies. Today our Cleantech Advisory Group is the largest of its kind in Israel and offers ongoing assistance to entrepreneurs and companies which includes: identifying local and global VCs, management of technological cooperation, project financing, audit services and tax consulting services.

JS: What are the most important (emerging) trends in Israel's cleantech industry?

IZ: Over the first half of 2008 the amount invested in Cleantech companies reached $140 M as opposed to $122M in 2007. These sums do not include two major investments: “Better Place Project” - $200 M in 2007 and “Brightsource” - $115 M in 2008 which involved venture capital funds, PEs and banks. The substantial increase in investment is a result of the VCs' penetration into the market and the growing participation of traditional funds in Cleantech investments. As expected, since the end of 2006, most Israeli VCs have been investing in Cleantech, a trend which is expected to grow in the future.

Additional reasons for increased investments include:

1) Continuous search for technologies and Cleantech companies by Arison, Ofer Brothers, Dankner, Recanati and others

2) Foreign funds which are establishing local operations to ensure continuous exposure to the local industry including: Virgin, Sequoia and Greylock

3) International companies which are establishing local business development activities such as GE and Siemens

4) Israeli private equities which have begun expressing interest in the field and are currently searching for ways to penetrate it

5) Although angels are investing low sums of money in each company the total amount invested is significant

In conclusion, the local Cleantech industry has attracted much attention over the past year. And despite the sub-prime crisis which is affecting all markets, the Cleantech industry will continue to appeal to investors.

Monday, November 10, 2008

CICC Cleantech Tour underway in Silicon Valley

The California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC) inaugural Cleantech Tour is now underway. 12 Israeli cleantech companies will meet with industry leaders, investment firms and utility giants from November 10-13 in Northern California.

The tour is part of the CICC's Cleantech Initiative, and the CICC has lined up and impressive series of events and meetings for the partipating companies: 3G Solar, BotanoCap, Canarious, Cequesta Water, Coriolis Wind, CellEra, CES - Computerized Electricity Systems, Emefcy - Bio Energy Systems, HCL Clean Tech, Metrolight, SOVNA, and Tigo Energy

Details on the tour and registration for Tuesday's public event at Stanford are available on the CICC web site.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Launching the Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance

I moved from Tel Aviv to Boston last month to begin working as an associate in the Business Law Department of Goodwin Procter LLP, a law firm with a substantial Clean Tech Practice.

Boston, like Israel, is emerging as a leading hub for cleantech research, development, and entrepreneurship. The Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance will be working to connect cleantech investors, entrepreneurs, academic researchers and government officials in both places, and the group is helping organize a number of upcoming events.

Israel Cleantech Investor Conference

On October 28, 16 Israeli cleantech venture capital funds and startups traveled to New York and Boston to meet with private equity, venture capital, and angel investors.

Participating startups included Aquapure Technologies Ltd., Aquatal Ltd., Cequesta Water Ltd., CheckLight Ltd., Coriolis Wind Ltd., CQM Technologies Ltd., En Gibton Ltd., Engineuity Ltd., EPC Wastewater Solution Ltd., Leviathan Energy Ltd., and RealiteQ Ltd.

The Israeli cleantech funds were: AquAgro Fund LP and its parent Gaon Agro Industries Ltd., BDB Technologies & Hi-Tech Investments Ltd., Israel Cleantech Ventures, MIYA, Precede Technologies Ltd., and Whitewater Technology Group.

In Boston, each participant made a 10-minute presentation in the morning and had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with investors like North Bridge Venture Partners and Atlas Venture in the afternoon. A formal reception in the evening included a presentation by Booky Oren, CEO of MIYA and Chairman of WATEC 2009, and a keynote address by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

You can read press coverage of the events in the Jerusalem Post and Globes and view photos online.

Environmental Symposia Featuring Experts from Ben Gurion University

On November 12, three professors from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be in Boston to give presentations on their respective cleantech-related fields of expertise. Prof. David Faiman, who is also CTO of ZenithSolar, will speak about solar energy; Prof. Isaac Meir will discuss "green" architecture; and Prof. Zeev Wiesman speak about biofuels.

You can find more information about the lunchtime and evening symposiums and RSVP at the Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance meetup page.

Biofuels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - A Presentation by Dr. Isaac Berzin

Dr. Isaac Berzin is the founder of Cambridge-based GreenFuel Technologies -- a venture-backed developer of algae-based biofuels -- and the founding director of the Institute for Alternative Energy Policy at the IDC in Herzliya, Israel. Earlier this year, Dr. Berzin was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in politics, business, and science.

Back in June, I had the honor of hosting Dr. Berzin at a CleanIsrael meetup event in Ramat Hasharon.

On November 20th, Dr. Berzin will speak to an audience of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and graduate students at Harvard Business School. The event is sponsored by Goodwin Procter LLP and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), in collaboration with the HBS Business & Environment Club, Harvard Kennedy School's Israel Caucus, MIT-Israel Program, and the New England Israel Business Council. You can find out more and RSVP at the event's meetup page.

Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place

Shai Agassi of Better Place is scheduled to visit Boston on December 3rd and 4th. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Roger Saillant, fuel cell industry veteran, joins CellEra board of directors

CellEra Inc., a developer of Platinum-Free membrane-based fuel cell technology (PFM-FC), announced today the appointment of Roger Saillant to its Board of Directors. The appointment is expected to bring Saillants extensive fuel cell management and company building experience to CellEra at a time when the start-up is preparing for its next phase of technology and market development with its disruptive PFM fuel cell technology.

Until recently, Dr. Saillant served as CEO & President of Latham, NY-based Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG), where he re-oriented the company towards production and commercialization, and led the industry in fuel cell system installs. Prior to PLUG, Saillant was Vice President and General Manager of Visteon Corporations (NYSE:VC) Energy Transformation Division, where he delivered $5.5 billion of automotive components globally to the Ford Motor Company and other automotive customers.

"CellEras disruptive technology holds true potential to alleviate major stack cost barriers and finally unlock fuel cells potential for massive market penetration. I believe CellEras management team has the proven track record and the capacity to execute," Saillant stated.

CellEra is a portfolio company of Israel Cleantech Ventures. CellEra's management team includes Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld, CTO; Dr. Dario R. Dekel, VP R&D; and Ziv Gottesfeld, CEO.

Hat tip to Gene Dolgin, Analyst at Israel Cleantech Ventures, for sending me the announcement.

Related Posts:

CellEra raises $2 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures and BrainsToVentures

Global map of cleantech startups includes five Israel-related companies

Israel Cleantech Ventures invests in CellEra, fuel cell startup

Israeli cleantech venture funds profiled in International Herald Tribune

A recent International Herald Tribune article reports on Israel's cleantech industry, focusing on the role played by specialized cleantech venture capital funds

Jack Levy, general partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures, which raised $75 million last year for its first fund, cites Israel's pool of Russian immigrants -- including many mechanical, chemical and metals engineers -- as a unique advantage for Israel.

Astorre Modena, an Italian-born physicist and co-founder of Terra Venture Partners, says native Israelis contribute the entrepreneurial spirit that complements the Russian technological expertise. Modena reports that Terra raised $25 million last year in a first round of financing.

Also cited in the article are Precede Technologies, which is backed by Pitango Venture Capital and Evergreen Venture Partners; Gemini Israel Funds; and the Israel Opportunity Fund, a new fund managed by Dan Gillerman and Matthew Bronfman.

Related Posts:

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Israel Cleantech Ventures closes on $75 million fund

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Solar to power Israeli kibbutzim

Solar energy integrator Sunday Solar Energy of Israel announced it would invest NIS 500 million ($133 million USD) in photovoltaic solar arrays for kibbutzim, according to reports in the Jerusalem Post and

The Jerusalem Post reports that the company decided to invest following a recent National Infrastructures Ministry decision to allow medium-sized household solar-power stations from 50 kilowatts (kW) to 5 megawatts (MW) starting next year.

Sunday CEO Kobi Diner said the ministry's decision was a breakthrough that would eventually lead to meeting the ministry's goal of 20 percent of Israel's energy market from renewables by 2020.

In July, Israel's Public Utilities Authority agreed to feed-in tariff for small solar-power arrays -- up to 50 kW. Under the plan, the Authority will buy electricity at NIS 2.01 ($0.53 USD) per kilowatt hour from individuals and companies installing solar arrays on roofs—four times the going price of electricity for consumers.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

AquAgro invests $1.5 million in Transbiodiesel

Transbiodiesel, an Israeli biodiesel startup that is developing a novel technology to produce the fuel, has raised $1.5 million from the AquAgro Fund and signed a cooperation agreement with an unnamed American biodiesel company, according to a report in Globes.

The enzymatic process Transbiodiesel uses can apparently produce biodiesel in a more environmentally friendly manner. The overall process is also supposed to be cheaper than standard methods for making biodiesel.

Transbiodiesel CEO Sobhi Basheer founded the company at the L.N. Innovative Technologies Ltd. incubator's Agudat Hagalil Ltd. R&D center in the Israeli Arab city of Shfaram in the Galilee. Bashir helped established Agudat Hagalil in 1999.

Basheer and L.N. Innovative Technologies each own 35% of Transbiodiesel, AquaAgro owns 25%, and Altshuler Shaham Ltd. and Zeev Bronfman jointly own 5%.

Related Posts:

Evogene, Orfuel and Leviev Group to establish biodiesel company in Namibia, Africa

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

BrightSource Energy examines potential solar sites in New Mexico

BrightSource Energy, a solar power company based in Oakland, CA and Jerusalem, Israel, has identified almost 14,000 acres of New Mexico trust lands in Luna and Hidalgo counties as potential sites for utility-scale solar power plants.

State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons recently signed a five-year option agreement with BrightSource Energy for $60,374. The option gives BrightSource two years to measure solar radiation, conduct environmental surveys, perform soil analyses, negotiate power purchase agreements and acquire transmission agreements.

According to a State Land Office press release, once a long term lease is executed, BrightSource intends to build a 600-megawatt facility on the Luna County site and sell power to the California market over the next 10 to 15 years. The intended facility will have the capacity to power 300,000 homes annually.

New Mexico's renewable portfolio standard requires that 15 percent of an electric utility's power supply must come from renewable sources by 2015. The requirement goes to 20 percent by 2020.

Separately, BrightSource Chairman Arnold Goldman was recently profiled in the New York Times and BrightSource CEO John Woolard was profiled in the San Francisco Business Times.

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GreenRoad awarded contract for the world's largest teen driver technology-based safety program

GreenRoad Technologies, a leader in driver safety technologies, announced last week that Or Yarok, Israel’s largest road safety organization, is making GreenRoad’s Safety Center available to 5000 families with teen drivers. This follows Or Yarok’s two-year study of 400 drivers’ use of Safety Center to determine its long-term impact on safety.

By analyzing each young driver’s performance and continuously providing them with real-time coaching, GreenRoad Safety Center improves driver safety and fuel efficiency.

GreenRoad is backed by Benchmark Capital, Virgin Green Fund, Amadeus Capital Partners and Balderton Capital. Headquartered in California, the company's R&D office is located in Beit Dagan, Israel.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Bronfman and Gillerman set up new cleantech fund

Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman and Canadian-American businessman Matthew Bronfman have set up a new fund in Israel to invest in alternative energy, water and agriculture, according to reports in Reuters and Globes.

The private equity fund is named the "Israel Opportunity Fund" and will invest in Israel and other regions. Gillerman, who will serve as chairman, explained that the fund would consider investments in "firms that operate in markets where Israel has advantages, such as Eastern Europe."

Bronfman is already an active investor in Israel, with stakes in Israel Discount Bank Ltd., Shufersal Ltd. and IKEA Israel.

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Bank Hapoalim and Hudson Clean Energy to establish cleantech fund

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pitango VC invests in solar power project in China

Pitango Venture Capital, Israel's largest VC firm, has reportedly invested in a solar power project in China's Jiangxi Province.

According to a report published in SinoCast, Pitango is investing in the project in partnership with Shenzen Capital Group Co. (SCGC), and China-Israel Value Capital (CIVC), a China-focused private equity fund. Established in 1999, SCGC was one of the first venture capital firms in China and currently manages over $300 million.

Chemi Peres, Managing General Partner and Co-Founder of Pitango, and the son of Israeli President Shimon Peres, is visiting Shenzhen City, and discussing further cooperation with SCGC. A long-term strategic partnership between Pitango and SCGC is reportedly being discussed.

It is perhaps worth noting that Peres sits on the board of directors of Pythagoras Solar, a stealthy Israeli solar startup that raised $10 million in a Series A round of financing earlier this year.

Peres told SinoCast that he has found cooperative opportunities in almost every field of Shenzhen's industries, including IT, medicine, energy and education. He believes Pitango will bring more listing and overseas acquisition possibilities to Chinese companies.

Related Posts:

Pythagoras Solar raises $10 million from Israel Cleantech, Pitango, and Evergreen

21Ventures and Quercus Trust award grant to support solar research at Weizmann Institute

21Ventures and the Quercus Trust announced last week that they have awarded a $200,000 grant to support the solar energy research of Professor David Cahen of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The grant will be used to further the exploratory research of novel approaches to harness solar energy in less expensive and more efficient new ways and to explore approaches for making better use of existing solar energy technologies.

Professor Cahens ground breaking work has the potential to make a significant impact on the availability and the ultimate use of alternative energy sources, in this case, solar energy. Such efforts support the goal of 21Ventures and the Quercus Trust to secure a cleaner and healthier environment worldwide, said David Anthony, Managing Partner, 21Ventures.

One area that the research will focus on is exploring the potential of various long-term light management approaches. That direction will be complemented by research on potentially low cost, novel ways to collect more energy from sunlight and the means of using that energy in daily life.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in New York, 21Ventures is a venture capital fund which invests in seed, early stage technology and publicly traded companies in the physical security, clean energy and mobile software markets.

The Quercus Trust, which does not have a web site, has quietly become one of the world's leading cleantech investors. Led by David Gelbaum, a former hedge fund manager at Princeton/Newport Partners, the Quercus Trust reportedly had a 20-company portfolio of clean energy stocks worth more than $400 million as of December 2007. Earth2Tech provides a breakdown of ten cleantech venture funding deals made by Quercus in the first quarter of 2008 alone.

David Anthony and David Gelbaum both sit on the Board of Directors of WorldWater and Solar Technology Corportation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bank Hapoalim and Hudson Clean Energy to establish cleantech fund

Poalim Capital Markets, an investment bank and a subsidiary of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest financial group, said yesterday that it was setting up a fund with U.S.-based Hudson Clean Energy to invest in alternative energy companies.

The fund, called Poalim Hudson Clean Energy, will invest between $50 and $500 million per company in the United States, Europe, and other markets, according to reports from Reuters and Bloomberg.

Macquarie, Australia's largest investment bank, is also a founder of the fund.

Credit Suisse will invest $300 million in the fund, which will focus on investments in renewable energy, such as wind and solar as well as infrastructure and energy storage, Poalim said.

"The rate of annual growth in the clean energy sector has been above 25 percent the last five years and estimates are that it will continue to be high," Nir Brunstein, chief executive of Poalim Capital Markets, said in a statement.

Hapoalim Chairman Dani Dankner said the new venture will provide the bank's customers with interesting investment opportunities with potential for large profits.

Hudson was founded by Neil Auerbach, a former Goldman Sachs partner who led the firm's U.S. alternative energy business and managed more than $3 billion in assets.

Amiad announces rise in profits due to growing demand for clean water

Growing demand for water filtration products have boosted revenues and profits at Israel-based Amiad Filtration Systems.

Pre-tax profits rose from $3.6m to $5.4m (£3m) for the six months to June 30 as turnover increased from $27.4m to $39m, according to a statement by the company.

Amiad makes filters to remove pollutants, used by heavy and extractive industries such as mining, and by municipal water treatment plants and irrigation systems.

Rami Treger, CEO, said Amiad was benefiting from rising global demand for clean water, driven by population increases and rising prosperity, coupled with problems of supply exacerbated by climate change and pollution.

"[We] anticipated an increase in global water investment and increased sales and marketing efforts accordingly, resulting in increased trading in all main parts of the business."

Amiad's shares, listed on the London Stock Exchange, have risen more than 60 per cent over the past year.

BioPetroClean raises funds from 21Ventures

Israeli water purification company BioPetroClean has closed its latest financing round, raising $5 million from 21 Ventures LLC, according to an announcement by the company and a report in "Globes".

BioPetroClean is developing bioremediation systems for cleaning waste water contaminated by oil and other pollutants, through a process called Active Chemostate Treatment (ACT). The company was founded in 2006 by chairman Hezi Marueli, CEO David Amir, and CTO Eugene Rosenberg, a world-renowned authority in the biological treatment of oil pollution and a professor at Tel Aviv University.

According to Globes, the money will be used by BioPetroClean to set up a sales network and fund several potential BOT projects.

"During the refining process, refineries produce large quantities of water, that they have to treat rather than pumping it out as effluent. We bring the quality of the water to a level that enables them to either pump it back out into the environment or improve its quality through a further treatment process to a level that will enable it to be used for irrigation or in industry," explains BioPetroClean director of business development Yael Barash.

The company's technology is currently being tested in a pilot project at a number of key facilities in Israel and other countries, and Barash gives as examples, two projects now underway in South Africa. One is at a refinery in Durban and the other was a one-time project carried out in cooperation with global energy giants BP and Shell. "We carried out a single cleaning project for them two months ago, and we're now working on the terms of a contract with them for a larger project," adds Barash.

As to the potential financial value of the contracts, Barash notes that at small sites, meaning tanker farms for ports, a project can range from $300,000 to $800,000. A facility at oil refineries and drilling sites, which are considered large sites, will cost $1-3 million. A single service (cleaning an accrued quantity of water at a specified site) will cost around $50,000 to $250,000.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Better Place and Hawaii to partner on electric car project

According to an announcement by Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT), the state will partner with Better Place to evaluate "the integration of electric vehicle storage into the electrical grid to maximize renewable energy use."

Hawaii has secured $1.7 million in grants, including a $500,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy, to fund this and other projects to advance the use of renewable energy in the state.

Lt. Governor James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr. said, "Our Administration is committed to breaking Hawaii's dependency on imported oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through developing clean sources of energy. This public-private partnership will further Hawaii's efforts to modernize our electrical infrastructure and distribution system and help increase the energy security of our state."

This latest development, which has not yet been picked up by the media, would seem to confirm the recent reports, such as this article in Globes, that Better Place is near an agreement with Hawaii.

Related Posts:

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Evogene, Orfuel and Leviev Group to establish biodiesel company in Namibia, Africa

Evogene, Orfuel, and the Leviev Group have announced an agreement to establish a biodiesel company in Namibia, Africa.

The new company will be focused on the growth of specialized castor plants for use as feedstock for biodiesel. It will be headquartered in Namibia, with operations in Namibia and possibly other African countries.

Evogene and Orfuel, an Ormat subsidiary, have already been working together since September 2007 on developing non-edible plants for commercial biodiesel production, and the castor plants for the new venture will be selected from varieties being developed in the Evogen-Orfuel collaboration. The collaboration is being funded with a grant from the BIRD Foundation.

Land for the crop growth will come from the Leviev Group, which will also provide logistical infrastructure for the project.

"This collaboration fits well into Evogene's business model in the field of biodiesel, and constitutes an additional stage towards commercialization of the plants developed through the joint project with Orfuel in one of the potential target locations," stated Ofer Haviv, Evogene's president and CEO. "We are convinced that with our extensive capabilities in plants together with the vast experience of the Leviev Group in Africa, we will be able to develop improved feedstock addressing the needs of the alternative fuel industry."

Netafim in negotiations with sugarcane ethanol project in Mozambique

In other news, BioEnergy Africa has raised $15.2 million on the London Stock Exchange to fund development of a 438 million liters per yea sugercane ethanol plant in Mozambique.

The company is in discussions with Tel Aviv, Israel-based Netafim to design, procure, and install a subsurface drip irrigation system for the project’s cane fields. At full capacity, the project will include approximately 60,500 acres of planted sugarcane.

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Ormat secures Alaskan geothermal rights

Ormat Technologies, which builds and operates geothermal power plants, announced it has paid $3.3 million for geothermal energy exploration rights on about 35,000 acres in a volcanic region in Alaska.

Ormat said the leased land, which is owned by the state of Alaska, is on the southern flank of the 11,070-foot Mount Spurr about 75 miles west of Anchorage. The company won 15 of 16 tracts offered in the lease sale conducted by Alaska's Department of Natural Resources.

The company claimed that the topographical structure of the region increases the chance of finding a large geothermal field, as compared to the more mature geological structures of Nevada and California.

Commenting on the news, Lucien Bronicki, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, stated, "Alaska is a new frontier in the geothermal arena with many technological and logistical challenges. Our global experience, particularly in Hawaii, and the support of the local Government along with the collaboration of other local stakeholders, will turn this challenge into an opportunity."

Mr. Bronicki continued, "Alaska has a special significance to Ormat that dates as far back as 1975 when we supplied 100 remote gate valve power systems used for protection of the environment along the TransAlaska pipeline which have been operating continuously for more than 30 years. Even the first geothermal unit developed by Ormat was for the University of Fairbanks for 130 deg Fahrenheit water at the Manley Hot Spring. We have been a friend to Alaska for many years now and we are up to the challenge of creating the State's first large-scale geothermal power plant.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Israeli cleantech startups to visit Silicon Valley

The California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC) has just announced a "Call for Companies" for its inaugural "Israel Cleantech Tour 2008".

The tour is part of the CICC's Cleantech Initiative and aims to introduce Israeli cleantech companies to California's key cleantech industry players -- "customers, investors and technology and channel partners." Joining the CICC in hosting the
delegation are General Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Google, Applied Materials, California Public Utilities Commmission (CPUC), and The Cleantech Group.

Companies interested in joining the delegation should check out the CICC Cleantech Initiative's web site and download an application form. Only 15 companies will be selected to participate, and applications are due no later than September 20!

Eric Weiss, the Chair of the CICC's Cleantech Initiative, graciously agreed to an interview with "Cleantech Investing in Israel." What follows are his answers to a series of questions about the CICC, the Cleantech Tour, and Israel's cleantech-related connections to Silicon Valley.

JS: What are the origins of the CICC's Cleantech Initiative and 2008 Tour? What other industries has the CICC worked with?

EW: The CICC has always focused on programs that matter to its investor and corporate members. Cleantech is becoming front and center to its membership and is a vital strategic industry in both California and Israel. California is the #1 U.S. state for cleantech investment, has the most aggressive renewable energy policies and has a consumer base predisposed to buying “green”. Meanwhile Israel has over 400 promising cleantech companies and world class scientific research institutions. Creating this initiative was a “no-brainer.”

Over the past 8 years the CICC has successfully worked with a variety of technology industries – semiconductor, software, telecom, Internet/web. Each time we have employed a strategy of partnering with the industry leaders. For example, in the Internet/web we worked with Google, Yahoo, Adobe and Microsoft; in semiconductor it was Motorola, Intel, Applied Materials and Texas Instruments. In cleantech we’re similarly working with leaders in the industry, though we also included policymakers and academia in addition to industrial players. Some of our cleantech partners include: PG&E, GE, California Public Utility Commission, Applied Materials, Google, BrightSource, US Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Israel Cleantech Ventures and Perkins Coie.

JS: What are the goals of the tour?

EW: The goals of the tour are to bring together entrepreneurial, investment, corporate and policy leaders from Israel and California, enable sharing of ideas and ultimately facilitate business between the groups. In prior tours, the results were tangible -- terms sheets and contracts for equity investments, acquisitions, joint R&D and channel partnerships. Also, Israel and California have complementary strengths which can be the basis for collaborative information sharing during the tour – Israel brings leading edge technology and California offers capital and a large market. The format of the tour enables this variety of goals to be achieved – we go far beyond just Powerpoints -- with interactive roundtables, panels, private meetings and company/facility tours.

JS: What is the perception in Silicon Valley, among investors and entrepreneurs, of Israel's cleantech sector?

EW: Silicon Valley knows that Israel is a leader in technology with numerous Israeli success stories including SanDisk, Checkpoint, Mercury and Amdocs. Major companies such as HP, Cisco, Qualcomm, Oracle and Intel have invested accordingly. Israel also has the 2nd largest number of companies in the world listed on the NASDAQ. Many California cleantech leaders have not made the connection that Israel has a technology braintrust that is translating into breakthroughs beyond water and solar, but also in biogas, battery technology, waste treatment, pollution control, wind turbines, and other environmental technology. In the case of Israel, necessity has very much been the mother of invention. When you point this out, it clicks for people and they get it. And that is why we are having this tour and conference, to make it abundantly clear to Silicon Valley how Israel’s technical leadership can help them make money in cleantech.

JS: What cleantech-related connections already exist between Silicon Valley and Israel?

EW: There are many connections besides the obvious ones, such as BrightSource and Better Place. Applied Materials has been active on CICC’s Cleantech Steering Committee and their CEO, Mike Splinter, is on the CICC advisory Board. Intel, as well, is very active in Israel and Intel Capital has been getting quite active in cleantech. PG&E not only works with BrightSource, but also Solel. Ormat is actively growing its geothermal plant in California. GE’s cleantech investment arm is in San Francisco but also has a thriving presence in Israel. Moreover, many of the same entrepreneurs and investors who were active in semiconductor, software and other technology in both Israel and California are still working in both geographies, but now in cleantech – examples include Sass Somekh and Eric Benhamou, and investors from Greylock and US Venture Partners.