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