Saturday, December 5, 2009

Seambiotic and China Guodian utility to build $10 million commercial microalgae farm

Seambiotic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based cleantech start-up developing and producing marine microalgae for the nutraceuticals and biofuel industries using flue gas from electric power plants, has announced that it has signed a License Agreement and a Joint Venture Agreement with affiliates of China Guodian Corporation, to establish a Chinese joint venture for the commercial cultivation of microalgae.

China Guodian is one of China’s largest power companies with over 100 power stations. The joint venture with Seambiotic will utilize Seambiotic’s innovative technology for the cultivation microalgae for use in the animal and fish foodstock and nutraceutical industries. The first commercial farm of 12 hectares is expected to cost $10 million, will be situated in Penglai, a city in Shandong Province, China.

The facility will utilize carbon dioxide emitted from the China Guodian's Penglai power station, and, according to Seambiotic, the facility will become operational during 2010. The joint venture agreements, with Yantai Hairong and Penglai Weiyuan, affiliates of China Guodian, contemplate additional farms to be established based upon a pre-agreed timetable.

“The joint venture with Yantai Hairong and Penglai Weiyuan is a major development for Seambiotic,” said Daniel Chinn, Seambiotic CEO. “Partnering with such significant companies validates our model of working with important power companies around the world, and we look forward to working with our Chinese partners in establishing the first farm and commercializing our product.”

Seambiotic was founded in 2003 in cooperation with the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to grow and process marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries while acting as a carbon capture technology. Seambiotic's research efforts are performed at a pilot plant at IEC’s power station near Ashkelon, Israel, where various species of marine microalgae have been successfully cultivated using the power station's CO2 emissions released directly from their smokestacks. The microalgae are in turn sold into the nutraceutical market or used as feedstock for animal or fish and biofuel.

Seambiotic says that it is currently in transition from the pilot plant stage to commercial scale algae cultivation and production.

Related Posts:

Seambiotic and NASA to develop aviation biofuel feedstock from microalgae

Seambiotic to build algae-based biofuel plant in Israel

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

Monday, October 19, 2009

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

Ormat Technologies, Inc., announced today that its Israeli subsidiary, Ormat Systems Ltd., has signed a Joint Venture Agreement (“JVA”) with Sunday Energy Ltd. (“Sunday”), an Israeli solar integration company, to construct and operate solar-photovoltaic (“PV”) energy systems in Israel with a total capacity of 36 megawatts (MW).

Under the JVA, Sunday will contribute the rights to all of its property and roofs required to develop solar energy systems above 1 MW to special purpose entities (“SPEs”). Ormat will own 70% of each SPE and will also have control of it. Under the terms of the agreement, Ormat and Sunday will act, jointly, as the engineering, procurement and construction ("EPC") contractor and the operator of each project in accordance with each company share in the SPEs .

Ormat estimates that the capital expenditure for 36 MW of solar power systems will be approximately $195 million. The electricity generated from the projects will be sold to Israel Electric Corporation Ltd. under long-term power purchase agreements (20 years) and will generate approximately $30 million in annual revenues. The SPEs expect to finance their capital expenditure with 80% Non-Recourse project finance debt.

Ormat has more than four decades of experience in the development, construction, financing and operation of hundreds of megawatts of renewable energy projects world-wide, while Sunday is one of the leading developers in the Israeli solar PV market and has experience in the design of solar systems using photovoltaic modules from various suppliers and the capabilities to obtain the necessary regulatory permits for construction and interconnection to the local grid.

Prior to entering into this JVA, Ormat has entered into an agreement with Sunday for the construction of a solar system for up to 1 MW on the roofs of its manufacturing facilities located in Yavne, Israel. The first system with a capacity of 50 kW has been installed and connected to the grid since August 2009.

The joint venture represents Ormat's commercial entry into the solar energy market and its first major development in the solar photovoltaic market in Israel.

Lucien Y. Bronicki, Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer of Ormat Technologies, said, “Ormat's commercial activity in the solar energy market is part of a strategic plan to be a leading player in renewable energy. We have a long, rich history in renewable energy that includes activity in solar energy that we believe we can leverage to bring unique benefits to this project. Our connection to solar energy goes back over 30 years to the solar pond project that we developed between 1977 and 1984. Our work on the solar pond created the technological foundation for our geothermal technology, which today positions Ormat as the industry leader. We are pleased to finally add an Israeli solar installation, to the current 1,200 MW of Geothermal and Recovered Energy power plants that Ormat has installed throughout the years. We are looking at this joint venture as an attractive business opportunity derived by the reduction in solar PV modules prices and the increase in their supply on one hand and the expected Israeli feed-in tariff for large solar PV systems on the other hand.”

Related Posts:

Ormat installing solar panels at factory in Israel

Sunday Solar to power Israeli kibbutzim

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Siemens to buy Solel Solar for $418 million

German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG has announced that it will buy solar thermal power company Solel Solar Systems Ltd. for $418 million.

Siemens will buy the Beit Shemesh, Israel-based company from Ecofin Ltd., a London-based investment company which had purchased a stake in Solel in January 2008 at a company value of $150 million.

Solel has a workforce of over 500 and is one of the world´s two leading suppliers of solar receivers, which are key components in parabolic trough solar power plants. Solel posted revenue totaling almost $90 million in the first six months of this year, and Solel is also a leader in the planning and construction of solar fields.

“Siemens and Solel are a perfect match,” said René Umlauft, CEO of Siemens’ Renewable Energy Division. “We are the market leader in steam turbines for solar thermal power plants and, with the power block, we can offer a key part for solar power plants – the part that is responsible for power generation. Solel boasts high-efficiency receiver technology and comprehensive expertise in the engineering and construction of solar fields. In the future, we’ll be able to offer the key components for the construction of parabolic trough power plants from a single source and to further enhance the efficiency of these plants.”

Siemens is part of the Desertec Industrial Initiative, an ambitious solar project that could theoretically supply up to 15 percent of Europe's energy needs by 2050 by building plants in the Sahara desert region.

“Together, we will utilize our know-how in these core competencies to further optimize the water/steam cycle and to further boost the efficiency of solar thermal power plants. Thus we can accelerate the use of this clean technology,” said Avi Brenmiller, CEO of Solel Solar Systems. “Combined with Siemens’ financial strength and its global sales and marketing activities, this will open up promising prospects for our business and hence also for all of Solel’s employees.”

A Solel spokeswoman said the base of the company's operations will remain in Israel.

In August, Siemens announced that it invested $15 million for a stake in Israeli solar company Arava Power Co., which is based at Kibbutz Ketura north of Eilat.

Related Posts:

Siemens, Areva, Alstom bidding for Israeli solar firm Solel

Siemens invests $15mm in Israeli solar company Arava Power

Solel to supply Ibereolica with solar receivers

Solel lands record deal for solar receivers

U.K.'s Ecofin buys 40% of Solel Solar Systems

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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

SolarEdge, a Herzliya, Israel-based start-up developing technology that increases solar power systems’ output by up to 25 percent, announced today that GE unit GE Energy Financial Services has joined a $23 million funding round to support growth in residential and large-scale photovoltaic sites.

SolarEdge’s other investors are US venture capital funds Opus Capital and Walden International, Israeli venture capital funds Genesis Partners and Vertex Venture Capital, and the Singaporean fund JP Capital Asia. Details of each investor’s contribution to the equity financing were not disclosed.

GE Energy Financial Services’ venture capital team has invested in 20 early- and growth-stage energy- and water-related technology companies since January 2006, but this was their first cleantech-related investment in Israel.

“We will use this financing to further promote our solar power harvesting system, which can be embedded in practically all types of solar photovoltaic panels to maximize power generation while dramatically reducing costs,” said Guy Sella, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of SolarEdge. “By partnering with GE, we benefit from the company’s proven R&D capabilities, energy technology expertise and deep commercial market reach.”

SolarEdge provides holistic photovoltaic power harvesting and monitoring technology to maximize the energy output and cost efficiency of solar PV units. The company is partnering with industry leaders such as BP Solar and Schott Solar, Isofoton, HaWi Energitechnik, Gehrlicher solar and many others to embed its technology into photovoltaic panels to increase their power output by up to 25 percent and provide monitoring and control services.

“Our investment in SolarEdge reflects our confidence in the company’s ability to thrive in the growing global solar industry,” Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services, said at the GE venture capital media forum. “SolarEdge is a smart company, with smart technology that fits well with GE’ ecomagination program to help customers meet their environmental challenges. We view this investment as the beginning of a broader collaboration between GE and SolarEdge that could include joint product development and distribution.”

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 be traced to the founding team members' service together 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 prior to joining SolarEdge. 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.

Gunther Portfolio recently published a detailed look at SolarEdge and an interiew with CEO Guy Sella.

Related Posts:

Solaredge partners with BP Solar to test solar efficiency products

SolarEdge raises $23m in venture capital

SolarEdge exits stealth mode and plans Series B financing

SolarEdge raises $11.8 million

BrightView achieves milestones at Signet Solar thin film photovoltaic plant

BrightView Systems, a Petah Tikva, Israel-based cleantech start-up, announced today the successful integration and validation of its WAM (Wide Area Metrology) process metrology and mapping solution for thin-film PV manufacturers at Signet Solar's production line in Mochau, Germany.

The WAM tool, developed by BrightView in Israel, has, according to the company, "successfully demonstrated its contribution to both panel efficiency and line productivity via its in-line, true-cell-metrology and measurement capabilities and associated suite of control applications for excursion detection, chamber matching and process window optimization."

Signet Solar has now embedded BrightView's system into their production flow is now implementing fully automated continuous full-panel process monitoring and feedback on 100% of production panels. The system, according to BrightView, greatly reduces reliance on off-line measurements and special test panel cycles.

"The BrightView solution fills a major gap in the industry's transition from pilot to mass production, providing true 24/7 in-line process monitoring while saving long and tedious off-line cycles and test panels," said Gunter Ziegenbalg, Managing Director of Signet Solar GmbH. "The system has been embraced by our R&D engineers, who are finally generating the data they need for concrete process improvements and optimization, and by our production engineers, who are relying on the continuous automatic alerting of process issues, as well as much quicker turn-around following process tool maintenance."

Benny Shoham, CEO of BrightView added, "Signet Solar has put our system through rigorous testing, allowing us to validate our vision in a high volume production line using actual panel performance data. Their talented team, working with the BrightView state-of-the-art WAM solution, was able to deliver major improvements to line productivity in a very short time. We are excited by the excellent results they achieved, and look forward to continue working with Signet Solar on their next production milestone and process improvement roadmap, as well as accelerate efficiency and productivity gains for the thin film PV industry."

In 2008, BrightView Systems raised a $6 million Series A round of financing from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures.

Related Posts:

BrightView Systems and EPFL announce thin-film solar collaboration

BrightView raises $6 million from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Conference to highlight Jewish community's response to energy challenges

Young professionals will gather in San Francisco next month for a conference featuring cleantech entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers.

The goal of the Jewish Response to the Energy Challenge conference, scheduled for November 8th, is to "share ideas and experiences that will advance a generational movement for clean and secure energy."

The conference agenda features keynote speakers and breakout sessions on U.S.-Israel energy cooperation, transportation, clean economy, policy reform, and sustainability.

Confirmed speakers include:

Alan Salzman, CEO VantagePoint Venture Partners
Adam Werbach, CEO Saatchi and Saatchi
Jason Wolf, Head of Better Place California
Yosef Abramowitz, Co-Founder Arava Power Company
David Arfin, VP Strategy Solar City
JB Straubel, CTO Tesla Motors
Joel Makower, Executive Director,
Sanjay Wagle, Special Advisor, DOE Recovery Team
Anne Korin, Chair, Set America Free Coalition

I am pleased to be moderating the panel on U.S.-Israel energy cooperation, which will feature the following panelists:

Arthur Haubenstock, General Counsel, BrightSource Energy
Eitan Yudelevich, Executive Director, BIRD Foundation
Matan Friedman, Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners
Sagi Rubin, Associate, Virgin Green Fund
Martin Kace, Founder and President, Empax

Registration for the conference is required.

I hope to see you next month in San Francisco!

Monday, October 12, 2009

BGU partners with U. of Johannesburg and UCLA on water research

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has partnered with the University of Johannesburg and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to conduct scientific research into the fields of water purification and microalgal biotechnology, according to a press release last month.

"This is an international partnership that will benefit the peoples of South Africa, Israel and other countries around the world,” said BGU’s Vice President for External Affairs Prof. Amos Drory on occasion of the signing. Drory and Prof. Derek van der Merwe, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, signed the research collaboration agreement in South Africa.

"The two universities will become involved in extremely important, evolutionary research that will mainly benefit third world countries throughout the world,” said Dr. Bertram Lubner, Vice-Chairman of BGU’s Board of Governors and president of the SA Associates of Ben-Gurion University (SAABGU).

Prof. Sammy Boussiba and Prof. Yoram Oren from Ben Gurion University’s Blaustein Institute for Desert Research will head up the projects in Israel working together with Prof. Bhekie Mamba, leading the South African research teams. They will be assisted by Prof. Eric Hoek, an expert in the fields of water purification and microalgal biotechnology at UCLA.

According to Prof. Mamba, the two universities will brainstorm on how they can contribute to ongoing South African research into water purification in rural areas and around the Hartbeespoort Dam near Pretoria. In addition, they will research the feasibility of harvesting algae from the Dam and converting it to energy. The Hartbeespoort Dam remediation programme is being implemented by the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) to address the imbalances and unhealthy biological conditions in the dam.

"We will investigate how we can contribute and add value to this ongoing project,” said Prof. Mamba. Ongoing research into the use of membranes to purify water in rural areas will also benefit from the UJ, BGU and UCLA collaboration.

"We will look at the effective treatment of dam and river water used for drinking in rural areas,” he continued. "Here, the pollution is not industrial, but microbial. We need to address the issue of bacteria and viruses into the water, and we will be looking at what role UJ and BGU can play. "We hope to come up with a low-cost, low-maintenance solution geared for rural areas,” Prof. Mamba said.

Kaiima raises $8mm in Series A financing from DFJ Tamir Fishman and Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Kaiima, a agro-biotech company based in Kfar Tavor, Israel, that develops and uses proprietary non-transgenic technologies to boost inherent crop productivity for sustainable development, closed in July on an $8mm Series A financing round co-led by DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) along with alternative energy fund Musea Ventures.

According to a press release, the company is using the new financing to establish a world-wide production, marketing and commercialization network to meet growing demand for its products and to expand its development pipeline to additional high-impact strategic crops.

Founded in 2006, Kaiima (formerly – Biofuel International) is led by a team of experts in the fields of advanced plant breeding and agro-biotechnology, agrotechnology, and energy. The company is using a proprietary non-transgenic technology platform that increases the yield potential in important crops such as wheat, rapeseed, and castor. The successful application of this technology can help mitigate the threatened shortage in basic food and energy.

Green Prophet's Karin Kloosterman interviewed a product manager at Kaiima who explained the company's technology and business plan.

At the time of Kaiima's Series A financing, Dr. Benny Zeevi
, Managing General Partner at Tamir Fishman Ventures and a Board Member at Kaiima stated: “Kaiima represents for us the winning combination that we seek in Israeli high tech companies: a top tier group of founders, and a unique breakthrough technology. The company’s products are aimed at one of the most urgent major global needs and it has the potential to become a market leader.

Jennifer Fonstad, Managing Director at DFJ added that “Kaiima’s platform promises to deliver important solutions for the alternative energy market worldwide. We are excited to work with the team, the Board, and our partners at DFJ Tamir Fishman in building on this opportunity."

Dr. Doron Gal, Kaiima CEO and co-founder of Kaiima said: "We share a mutual vision with DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures and with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and a mutual excitement at the opportunity to provide solutions to some key challenges faced by contemporary society. We are proud to team with these two leading venture capital groups, and we believe that they will provide both the local support and the global leverage needed by Kaiima to fully realize its potential."

Related Posts:

Jennifer Fonstad of DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures interviewed by Globes

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Qteros partners with Applied CleanTech on wastewater to ethanol process

Qteros and Applied CleanTech announced details today of a partnership to develop a process for turning municipal wastewater into ethanol for vehicle fuel and other uses.

Qteros, a venture-backed biofuel company based in Massachusetts, has entered into a joint development project with Applied CleanTech (ACT), a commodities recycling company based in Israel, to use ACT’s Recyllose™-based feedstock, produced from municipal wastewater solids, for efficient and low-cost ethanol production. ACT’s Sewage Recycling System (SRS), an innovative solution for recycling wastewater solids, produces alternative energy sources for the production of electricity or ethanol, while reducing sludge formation and lowering wastewater treatment plant costs and increasing plant capacity.

The companies said they are the first to demonstrate commercial success in creating ethanol from the cellulose in municipal and agricultural liquid waste, and to offer a process that all municipalities can use to help reduce expenses.

QTeros' and ACT's research has been supported in part by a grant from the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation. The BIRD Foundation funds joint efforts between Israel and the United States, and their financial support resulted in the collaboration between Qteros and ACT.

QTeros raised raised $25 million in a Series B financing in October 2008. Investors in the company include BP, Venrock, Battery Ventures, Valero, and Soros Fund Management.

“Our customer is every municipality that has a wastewater treatment plant,” said Jeff Hausthor, Qteros co-founder and senior project manager. “It will provide a value-added product for municipal wastewater plants, thereby making treatment plants much less expensive to run and helping local governments throughout the world with their constrained budgets.”

Israel Biran, ACT’s CEO, added, “It also helps answer the question of what municipalities can do with their sewage sludge, a major challenge now facing every wastewater treatment plant operator.”

ACT has spent six years developing its integrated sewage recycling solution. According to ACT, its Recyllose™-based feedstock offers high cellulose content and low moisture, facilitating more efficient ethanol production. The SRS is already in commercial use, with facilities in Israel and the United States currently making Recyllose™-based products from sewage sludge and other cellulose-rich waste while reducing sludge output and wastewater treatment plant costs.

By using ACT’s proprietary feedstock, Hausthor said Qteros and ACT’s researchers have found that an ethanol production plant can produce 120–135 gallons of ethanol per ton of Recyllose™.

Since Recyllose™ is low in lignin (a major component of plant cell walls that is difficult to degrade), and lignin can be inhibitory to efficient conversion to ethanol, Hausthor said the material improves cellulosic plant operational efficiency 20 percent over higher lignin content feedstocks.

Qteros’ CEO William Frey said that with previous technologies, a cellulosic ethanol plant would have to produce roughly 20-30 million gallons per year (MGY) in order to be profitable. With the proposed Qteros-ACT process, Frey said, production with these economics could be viable at a smaller scale.

ACT President Dr. Refael Aharon said that a wastewater plant that handles 150 million gallons a day (serving a population of about 2 million people) can be sufficient to supply a smaller-scale ethanol plant with cellulose.

Related Posts:

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

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

Ashalim solar thermal tender delayed again

The tender for the solar thermal power project at Ashalim, Israel has suffered its third delay, because not all the regulatory permits have been obtained, the electricity production license has not yet been written, and the financial aid criteria for the winner have been formulated, according a report in Globes.

Globes reports that the deadline for submitting bids to the joint Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Infrastructures tender committee, headed by Deputy Accountant General Avi Dor, has been pushed back from October 21, 2009 to December 10, 2009 .

The Ministries of Finance and National Infrastructures have allowed the seven bidders who passed the prequalification stage of the tender more time to prepare their bids.

The $700-800 million build-operate-transfer (BOT) tender is for construction and operation of two solar thermal power plants with a total output of 220 Megawatts.

The seven consortia participating in the Ashalim tender are:

Related Posts:

Finance and Infrastructures Ministries in dispute over technology for Israel's first solar power station

Skypower mulls bid for Negev solar project

Israel plans 250-MW solar power plant

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Solel awarded $2.6 million grant from Spanish Government for solar thermal manufacturing facility

Solel Solar Systems, Ltd. recently announced it has received a $2.6 million grant from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Enterprise of the Andalusian Region of Spain to be used for the construction and development of a facility to build solar thermal fields components. The facility, in La Carolina, Spain, will be Solel's first manufacturing plant in Spain, and will include lines for the production of parabolic reflectors, metal supports for solar collectors, and other essential components used for conversion of sunlight to electricity.

The construction of the plant in La Carolina is expected to be completed in 2012, with some manufacturing lines becoming operational later this year. Total investment by Solel in manufacturing plants in Spain is expected to reach $140 million, and it will employ 300 workers in La Carolina by 2012.

Solel commenced operations in Spain in 2006 and supplies technology to 15 solar thermal power plants, with a combined capacity of 750 MW. In addition to being a technology provider, Solel has joined with Sacyr Vallehermoso, a leading Spanish construction company, in a joint venture to build three power plants with a total capacity of 150 MW. The first of these plants, the 50 MW Lebrija 1 facility, will begin operations in 2010.

"We are grateful to the governments of Andalusia and of Spain for the confidence they have shown us and their commitment to both technological advancement and renewable energy," said Avi Brenmiller, President and CEO of Solel. "Through their policies, Spanish governments are encouraging the development of new sources of energy, and contribute to the creation of new workplaces in Spain. Our new facility will deliver Solel's state-of-the-art equipment and technology that reduce the cost of producing solar energy".

Solel is currently building three solar power plants in Andalusia, Spain, and its American subsidiary, Solel, Inc., is developing the 553 MW Mojave Solar Park in California. Nine power plants in California using Solel's technology have been operating successfully for over twenty years, producing 350 MW of electricity and eliminating the need for two million barrels of oil annually.

Solel employs about 500 workers, with its headquarters, manufacturing plant and R&D center in Beit Shemesh, Israel.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

BioPetroClean partners with Dow to market wastewater treatement technology

BioPetroClean, a Petah Tikva, Israel-based cleantech start-up specializing in biological wastewater treatment, recently announced the signing of an agreement with The Dow Chemical Company. Under a global commercial agreement, Dow will market the Dow BPC Water Treatment system to refinery and produced-water markets with exclusivity in various regions.

BioPetroClean’s Automated Chemostat Treatment (BPC-ACT) is an innovative approach to wastewater treatment, consisting of three elements: a bacteria cocktail customized for specific water types, a control unit, and a basin or tank that serves as the reactor. According to the Company, BioPetroClean's bioremediation solutions allow a wastewater treatment plant to increase its reliability and capacity while reducing cost of operations.

“The selection of the BPC solution by a worldwide leader such as Dow is a great endorsement from a company that can help us take advantage of the worldwide opportunity and enable massive deployment of our new and exciting technology,” said David Amir, CEO of BioPetroClean.

“Dow BPC Water Treatment technology has immense potential — for communities, the oil and gas industry, the environment and our business,” said Janet Giesselman, President and General Manager of Dow Oil & Gas. “We are committed to creating clean, sustainable water supplies. This is one more step toward solving this global challenge.”

Dow and BPC are working on a first field application of the Dow-BPC Water Treatment system.

BioPetroClean's investors include 21Ventures, a New York-based venture capital fund. BioPetroClean reportedly raised between $5 million and $8.5 million from 21Ventures and Quercus Trust in 2008.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BPT Closes $12 Million in Series B Financing Led by Pitango Venture Capital and U.S. Venture Partners

Bio Pure Technology Ltd. ("BPT"), a Rehovot, Israel-based company developing chemically-stable membrane-based separation solutions for critical industrial processes, recently announced that it has completed its Series B financing, raising $12 million.

U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) and Pitango Venture Capital led the round with participation from existing investors Aurum Ventures and Elron Electronic Industries. Funds will be used for expanding manufacturing facilities, for continuing R&D and to further develop sales and marketing infrastructure to meet increased worldwide demand.

In conjunction with this round Christopher J. Rust, a partner at USVP, Jacques Benkoski, a venture partner at USVP, and Ittai Harel, a Partner at Pitango, will join the BPT board of directors.

BPT is focused on developing and commercializing advanced membranes-based separation solutions to address the needs of the water and wastewater treatment industries. BPT’s unique chemically-stable membrane technology and associated systems enable customers in the landfill, mining, chemical, biopharma and food industries to filter their aggressive waste water to be economically viable, re-use water and comply with environmental regulations. According to BPT, the Company provides solutions where other membrane-based technologies cannot withstand the aggressive waste characteristics and alternative technologies such as evaporators and incinerators are often not economically viable.

“USVP and Pitango have deep experience in building great companies; we are proud to have them as lead investors, and to have their partners join our board,” said BPT’s CEO, Nir Kinory. “Together with our existing great investors, Aurum and Elron and our dedicated team, we are on a fast track to capture the market of next generation industrial waste water streams treatment brought about by water scarcity and increased environmental pressures.”

Ittai Harel, partner at Pitango Venture Capital, added: “Cleantech is an area of growing concern to the world market. BPT’s technology and tremendously experienced R&D group are well positioned to play a significant role in the application of nanotechnology to water technology.”

“USVP has been investing in cleantech for over six years and this is our first cleantech investment in Israel. Water treatment and recycling are critical elements of adapting to climate change,” said Jacques Benkoski, Venture Partner, who led USVP’s efforts in the BPT investment, “BPT clearly stood out as a unique player with differentiated and leading technology to solve critical waste water recycling issues for key industrial processes."

BPT was founded in 2000 and is located at the Weizmann Science Park in Rehovot, Israel. BPT previously raised $2.5 million from Aurum Ventures and Elron in 2007.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BrightSource Energy expands Nevada solar thermal project to 960 MW

BrightSource Energy, Inc., a leading developer of large-scale solar thermal power plants, announced today that it is expanding a land deal in Nevada that could enlarge the the project's potential to 960 megawatts, enough to power almost 500,000 homes.

BrightSource has reached a preliminary agreement with Nevada’s Coyote Springs Land Company™ to expand upon a previously-announced private land agreement in March 2009 to provide sites for up to 600 megawatts of solar thermal power.

The Coyote Springs project is part of BrightSource Energy’s strategy to develop 4 gigawatts of solar thermal power in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, including its first project located in Ivanpah, California. The Ivanpah project is in the final permitting stages with the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management, and is expected to begin construction in early 2010.

The size of the site has now expanded to include a twelve-square-mile area within the larger Coyote Springs development in Lincoln County. The site is located on private property near transmission lines and, as part of the broader development site, has already received environmental permits from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and various other federal, state and county agencies. The power generated from the Coyote Springs site could meet demand generated in the Coyote Springs development, southern Nevada, as well as deliver power to California.

BrightSource Energy is the parent of Jerusalem, Israel-based BrightSource Industries Israel (BSII), formerly called Luz II. BSII performs R&D, production and project engineering for its California-based parent company.

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Ormat doubles production capacity at Israeli factory

Ormat Technologies, Inc. today inaugurated a new wing at its manufacturing plant in Yavne, Israel.

Ormat invested $10 million in the new area, which covers 7,200 square meters and will enable the company to double its production capacity, according to a report in Globes. Ormat has hired 140 new employees for the expanded factory, increasing its workforce by 30%.

Guests at the inauguration ceremony included Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau, high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi, who is a close friend of Ormat Group controlling shareholders Yehudit and Yehuda Bronicki, and Dov Lautmann, former Chairman of Delta Galil Industries.

Ormat, a global leader in the geothermal power industry, develops, builds, owns and operates geothermal recovered energy-based power plants, usually using equipment that it designs and manufactures in Israel.

Ormat's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ORA), where the company is valued at approximately $1.8 billion.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

IQwind and Guascor announce partnership agreement to commercialize innovative wind turbine technology

IQwind, an Israel-based start-up backed by Terra Venture Partners, and Guascor, a Spanish industrial company, announced today that they will partner to commercialize and bring to market the IQGear, a variable gearbox for the wind industry. The partnership brings together IQwind`s innovative wind turbine technology and the operational and market expertise of Guascor, an international leader in the production and distribution of renewable energy power systems.

Increasing the overall potential and cost-effectiveness of wind as an alternative renewable energy source, IQwind claims that its variable gear can be both retrofitted into existing turbines and utilized as a standard component in newly-manufactured turbines. The high efficiency IQwind technology can reduce the cost of energy (COE) by up to 20% compared to the best existing wind turbines, according to the company.

Guascor will manufacture the IQGear according to design and specifications provided by IQwind. To support the IQGear production, a new manufacturing line will be established in the Guascor Power facility in the Basque Country (Spain).

According to the agreement between the companies, the initial ten gearboxes manufactured by Guascor will be used for testing, certification, and initial commercial installations retrofitting currently-operational turbines during 2010. The companies will scale up to bring additional retrofitted and new turbines to the European market in 2011 and beyond. According to the agreement, IQwind will lead the sales, marketing and design activities and shall continue to own any resulting Intellectual Property (IP).

"The partnership with IQwind reinforces Guascor´s vision and its commitment to renewable energy," said Mr. Cesar Fernandez de Velasco, CEO of Guascor. "The IQwind variable gear is an important development in wind-powered energy generation. It addresses the long standing challenge of efficiently turning a variable wind source into stable electrical current, and can make an immediate impact on the economics of wind projects. Guascor is delighted to lend its
manufacturing muscle and the operational experience of its executives to advance the establishment of IQGear as the leading gear design in the wind energy market. We look forward to rolling this exciting technology out to the market as early as 2010."

"Guascor brings manufacturing and wind expertise, more than 50 years of leadership in the power system industry, and a unique renewable energy strategy. These attributes make the company an ideal partner for IQwind in bringing this unique technology for improving power generation efficiency to the wind energy market," said IQwind founder and CEO Gideon Ziegelman.

"Partnering with a prominent player such as Guascor is a resounding validation of the value our variable gear technology brings to the wind energy market," added Ziegelman. "The cooperation with Guascor and the significant investment they have committed to in this agreement will greatly accelerate the introduction of IQGear into the wind energy market. This collaboration is a major step towards the transformation of this new technology into a revenue
generating product."

Guascor is currently planning to build a large wind farm in Argentina. The $2.4 billion, 600-900MW project will be located in Pico Truncado and is expected to take three years to complete.

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BrightSource Energy and Bechtel to partner on solar thermal power plants

BrightSource Energy announced today that it has selected Bechtel, a leading engineering, construction and project management firm, as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System.

The two companies also announced that Bechtel Enterprises, the project development and financing arm of the Bechtel organization, will become an equity investor in all of the Ivanpah solar power plants.

Under the terms of a series of EPC agreements, Bechtel will provide engineering, procurement, and construction services for the Ivanpah System – a 440 megawatt solar power facility consisting of three separate solar thermal power plants in southeastern California. The power generated from these solar plants will be sold under separate contracts established by BrightSource Energy with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). BrightSource’s contracts with PG&E and SCE total 2.6 gigawatts.

“Combining Bechtel’s world-class EPC capabilities with BrightSource’s leading solar thermal energy team is a natural fit,” said John Woolard, BrightSource’s President and CEO. “We share a common vision of setting the standard in building environmentally-friendly solar power plants while creating jobs for local communities. We very much look forward to partnering with Bechtel on constructing the Ivanpah facility.”

BrightSource estimates that the Ivanpah facility will result in approximately 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction, 86 permanent jobs*, and total economic benefits of $3 billion. The plants will also displace more than 450,000 tons (408,000 metric tonnes) of CO2 annually, which is the equivalent of taking more than 75,000 cars off the road.

The Ivanpah facility is scheduled to begin construction in early 2010 following final permitting by the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management. In December 2008, BrightSource signed an agreement with Siemens to purchase the largest ever solar-powered steam turbine generator for the first of the three Ivanpah plants.

The Ivanpah facility will utilize BrightSource Energy’s proven Luz Power Tower 550 technology (LPT 550). The LPT 550 solar system produces electricity the same way as traditional power plants – by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses thousands of mirrors called heliostats to re­flect sunlight onto a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower. When the sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional tur­bine which generates electricity. This fully integrated approach takes advantage of high operating efficiencies and low capital costs to provide reliable and low-cost carbon-free energy.

The LPT 550 solar system is also designed to minimize the solar plant’s environmental impact, reducing the need for extensive land grading and concrete pads. In order to conserve precious desert water, LPT 550 uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in water usage compared to conventional wet-cooling. The water is then returned to the boiler in an environmentally-friendly closed process.

Today, LPT 550 is employed at the company’s Solar Energy Development Center (SEDC) in Israel’s Negev Desert. Operating over the past year, the SEDC is producing the world’s highest temperature turbine quality steam from solar energy.

BrightSource is the parent of Jerusalem, Israel-based BrightSource Industries Israel (BSII), formerly called Luz II. BSII performs R&D, production and project engineering for its California-based parent company.

BrightSource Seeking Partners in China and India

BrightSource is actively seeking partners in India and China as it looks to expand its reach outside the United States, Chief Executive John Woolard said yesterday, according to a report from Reuters.

Moving "slowly and deliberately," BrightSource could announce partners in those two nations a year from now, Woolard told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco.

"We are talking to various large companies over there," Woolard said. "Generally partners that are large, have engineering capabilities and can really deliver on plant construction and get things done."

Woolard's comments came on the same day that First Solar Inc, made the first major foray by a U.S. company into the fast growing Chinese alternative energy sector with plans to build the world's largest solar plant there.

"It shows a few things," Woolard said of the First Solar announcement. "One is that the Chinese are willing to think at a size and scale that is meaningful... and it also shows that the Chinese are ready and willing to look at real projects and real money."

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Siemens, Areva, Alstom bidding for Israeli solar firm Solel

Siemens AG, Areva SA and Alstom SA, three of Europe’s largest engineering companies, are competing for control of Solel Solar Systems Ltd., as demand for renewable energy rises, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Solel, based in Beit Shemesh, Israel, is a leading developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants. The bids from Siemens, Areva and Alstom may value Solel at $300 million to $400 million, said Bloomberg's sources, who declined to be identified because talks are private. Shikun & Binui Ltd., an Israeli real-estate company controlled by the Arison Group, is also weighing a bid, according to a source. The winner may be picked as early as this month if they can agree on price, two sources told Bloomberg.

“Engineering companies such as Siemens, ABB, GE or Alstom will in the long term need to compensate for declining orders in their conventional power generation businesses, making renewable energy strategically very interesting for them,” said Stephan Wulf, who analyzes renewable energy companies at Sal. Oppenheim Jr. & Cie. in Frankfurt.

Solel develops and builds solar thermal power plants and makes solar receivers, a main component for the facilities that collect sunlight with mirrors to generate steam that powers turbines. Solel, which employs about 400 people, has solar fields in California and is supplying new plants in Spain.

Following a $150mm investment in 2008, Ecofin Ltd., a London-based investment company specialized in utilities and infrastructure, owns 63 percent of Solel’s issued share capital.

Solel reported sales of $37.7 million in 2008, on a net loss of $16.9 million, according to the Ecofin filing.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Siemens invests $15mm in Israeli solar company Arava Power

Siemens, the German industrial giant, recently announced a $15 million investment in Arava Power Company, a company developing solar power plants in Israel.

An agreement was signed at Kibbutz Ketura in August, securing Siemens a 40 percent stake in the company. Arava Power develops, builds and operates photovoltaic plants in Israel. “This investment is another consequential step in further strengthening our green and sustainable technologies,” said Peter Löscher, President and CEO of Siemens AG. “Thanks to its intensive sunshine and steadily growing demand for energy, Israel is an ideal location for further developing our solar business.” The equity investment will make it possible to build Israel’s first commercial solar farms – to be located in the region between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

The investment is aimed at constructing the solar fields with a significant proportion of Siemens know-how, delivering technology, e.g. inverter and transformers, ensuring new projects for the group. As Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contractor, Siemens will handle project management including engineering and construction of the photovoltaic plants. Overall, Siemens has concluded a framework agreement to build solar plants with a total output of 40 megawatts (MW). The first project will be the construction of a plant with an output of up to 4.9 MW at Kibbutz Ketura, in the southern desert of Israel. Additional photovoltaic plants are already being planned for the Negev and Arava deserts and Israel’s aim is to meet around ten percent of its total energy needs with renewable energy plants by 2020.

Arava Power, the Israeli development company, was founded in 2006 and is headquartered at Kibbutz Ketura, north of Eilat. The company, with some 20 employees, is a subsidiary of Global Sun Power Ltd. Siemens is investing in Arava Power through its equity investment company Siemens Project Ventures GmbH (SPV).

“This is the most comprehensive foreign investment to date for an Israeli solar energy firm,” said Johannes Schmidt, CEO of the Equity & Project Finance unit of Siemens Financial Services. “Through its early and extensive engagement in the field, Arava Power has developed into Israel’s leading solar energy company. Siemens will be supporting local solar projects with our full range of technologies, know-how and finance.”

Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Arava Power, added: “Siemens is the ideal partner for Arava Power and our property partners for winning over others interested in producing solar energy in Israel. Our strategic partnership will make it possible for our country to reach its ambitious goals of clean air and renewable energy even faster.”

Founded by a group of visionaries at Kibbutz Ketura, Arava Power Company seeks to supply 10% of Israel’s electricity needs with the development of solar energy plants with Kibbutzim, Moshavim and other land owners, especially in the south of Israel.

Yosef Abramowitz, Arava Power Company's Co-Founder and President, was recently profiled in Ha'aretz.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FRX Polymers raises $6MM from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Capricorn Venture Partners to develop green plastics

Israel Cleantech Ventures (ICV) and Capricorn Venture Partners (CVP) announced today that they have invested $6MM in FRX Polymers, Inc., (FRX) the manufacturer of a new, environmentally friendly family of inherently flame retardant plastics. FRX’s products are finding markets as polymeric flame retardant additives and as “stand-alone” inherently flame retardant engineering plastics.

FRX Polymers is currently in the commercialization stage for its family of polyphosphonate homopolymers and copolymers. According to the company, these plastics are tough, transparent, possess high melt flow, and are inherently flame retardant. FRX polymers are environmentally friendly since they do not contain halogens, whereas many other flame retardant additives do contain halogen.

FRX was the 2008 recipient of Frost and Sullivan’s “Innovation of the Year” award for flame retardant materials and received the first-place award in the Clean Technology Business Forum, a competition sponsored by Battelle at the recent Global Plastics Environmental Conference in Orlando, FL. FRX has over 20 partnership agreements in place with some of the largest plastics manufacturers in the world.

“FRX represents an extremely compelling investment opportunity for us,” stated Jack Levy, Partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures. “There is a clear global market demand for the company’s green flame retardant plastics and we believe that FRX’s products will play an important role in redefining a significant part of the $15B Flame Retardant Plastics industry.”

Claude Stoufs, Senior Investment Manager for Capricorn Venture Partners said, FRX Polymers has developed a novel and very exciting product line to address the global need for non-halogen containing flame retardant plastics. As a consequence of the many excellent partnerships that FRX has established, we believe that the company is poised for accelerated growth.”

“We are delighted to welcome both ICV and Capricorn to our board and current group of committed shareholders” declared Marc Lebel, President and CEO of FRX Polymers. “Both venture partners bring considerable business experience to our company. In addition, they have considerable access to global markets, which will serve us well as we embark on the next phase of our growth plan.”

FRX Polymers was launched in 2007 as a limited partnership 50% owned by KPP Investments, an investment company with headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, and 50% owned by Triton Systems, Inc., technology incubator based in Chelmsford, MA, that specializes in advanced materials.

Amir Ohad of KPP Investments, the former CEO of Kafrit Industries, Ltd., an Israeli plastics company, sits on FRX's Board of Directors. Ross Haghighat, the founder and CEO of Triton Systems, and also a Director of FRX, was profiled in an article on SiliconIran.

Triton Systems has a track record of partnering with Israeli investors: in 2001, it spun-off three portfolio companies with financing from the Millennium Materials Fund, a Tel Aviv-based specialty materials venture fund that invests in materials technology companies worldwide.

FRX is headquartered in Chelmsford, MA, where it operates both polymer and monomer pilot facilities. FRX is also currently building a semi-works plant in Switzerland in partnership with Uhde Inventa-Fischer.

Established in 2006, Israel Cleantech Ventures has $75MM under management and to date has completed eleven investments across diverse cleantech sectors, including water, solar, biogas, energy storage, energy efficiency, transportation and green materials.

Capricorn Venture Partners is a pan-European manager of venture capital funds seeking to invest in technology-based growth companies. The Capricorn Cleantech Fund invests in European growth companies developing innovative breakthrough technologies in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency, water purification and re-use, bio-based material conversion and bio-refinery platforms, clean air, climate change, green chemistry and advanced materials, materials recovery and recycling.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

BrightView Systems and EPFL announce thin-film solar collaboration

BrightView Systems, a Petah Tikva, Israel-based start-up developing production process optimization tools for the solar industry, and the Thin-Film Photovoltaics Laboratory at IMT, a world leading lab in silicon-based thin-film solar cells research, part of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), are joining forces to introduce novel solutions for the optimization of next generation thin-film solar cells production.

According to a joint press release, BrightView's advanced solutions will be utilized to provide real-time feedback to encompass a complete framework for process optimization that is scalable from pilot line to mass production of large area panels.

In January 2009 BrightView finalized a $6 million Series A financing by Israel Cleantech Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures.

"We are convinced that the strategy of BrightView, their ideas, dynamism, specific know-how and unique approach to key issues in manufacturing, will allow us to achieve our goals", said Prof. Christophe Ballif, head of the PV Laboratory.

By targeting key manufacturing challenges related to optimization and effective control of optical and electrical cell properties, BrightView and IMT aim at improving the efficiency and reliability of solar cells, while enabling high productivity at volume production.

"Working closely with IMT enables us to fine-tune our solutions for process optimization to the most advanced cell structures ahead of their incorporation in the production lines", said Benny Shoham, CEO of BrightView. "The excellent team at IMT is one of the true forces that brings device novelty to this industry and drives it to continuously improve efficiency, while our solutions are designed to address key challenges in mass producing these advanced structures. Together we will enable a faster adoption of new more efficient cell technologies at lower manufacturing cost" added Shoham.

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