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.

Related Posts:

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

Phoebus Energy unveils hybrid water heating system in Jerusalem

Phoebus Energy unveiled its hybrid water heating system last week at the community center in Gilo, a neighborhood of Jerusalem, according to an article in The Jerusalem Post.

Phoebus Energy, founded in 2007 with $2 million in seed funding from Terra Venture Partners, has developed a hybrid heat pump system that integrates with existing oil-based systems to make them more efficient. Newly appointed CEO Yaron Tal told The Jerusalem Post says that Phoebus Energy's system saves between 50 and 70 percent of oil and reduces pollution by 80 to 90% compared to a traditional heat pump system.

"The Phoebus system is based on a complex algorithm that we developed which governs when to use the oil-based system and when to use the heat pump. It constantly monitors many parameters to decide which way is most efficient to generate heat," Tal said.

"The system measures such parameters as the temperature outside, the temperature of the water, and the price of the oil. Several of the parameters change a number of times throughout the day," he continued.

Phoebus Energy has already installed its system in eight locations in Israel, from kibbutzim to community centers to hotels, according to The Jerusalem Post. Phoebus Energy's solution targets medium and large water heating systems, such as those found in hospitals, hotels, factories and large apartment buildings. The company is also already in negotiations with potential clients abroad, Tal told the Post.

Heat pumps had been around for a long time as a means to heat water, Tal said. Phoebus Energy heat pumps take an ecologically safe version of freon to transfer energy to water. The freon flows at high pressure at a temperature of 5º Celsius. Air is then pushed into the freon, which heats the freon. At 12º, the freon turns from a liquid into a gas. The gas is then mixed with the water, which heats the water, Tal said. The company managed to get the pumps to heat water to 55-60º Celsius, as opposed to other models that only reached 30-40º, he said.

The use of heat pumps cut oil use tremendously, thus reducing costs and pollution, he said.

Shalom Turgeman, who runs the Gilo community center, said in a statement, "The expected savings run into the hundreds of thousands of shekels, but the real point is that we are taking a step for a greener Earth and fighting the air pollution in the Gilo neighborhood."

Until now, the community center, one of the largest in the country, burned more than 100,000 liters of oil per year to heat the swimming pool, water for the showers and bathrooms, and the gym.

Yaron Tal, previously the President & CEO of TopSpin Medical, was appointed CEO of Phoebus Energy earlier this month. Yoav Ben Yaacov, the Founder and former CEO of Phoebus Energy, is now the company's VP Marketing & Sales.

It was reported last month that Phoebus Energy recently completed a financing round of $1 million from Galilaea Fund.

Related Posts:

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IQWind raises $500k from U.S. investors

IQwind, an Israel-based start-up developing variable gear technology that improves the energy generation efficiency of wind turbines, has raised $500,000 from ISRAEL G-TEK LLC, according to an announcement by the U.S.-based investors.

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

Sami Shiro and Uri Benhamron, principals at Israel G-Tek, explain that the investment in IQWind is part of their "plan to create a balanced portfolio of greentech companies with a special focus on Israel as a breeding ground for technology."

IQWind’s product has the ability to function as a replacement part for existing turbines, as well as a main component for new turbines. The technology is so disruptive, according to ISRAEL G-TEK, that further applications are also being considered in other markets such as automotive and mining.

Israel G-Tek's investment in IQWind is part of a financing round to implement a full scale pilot for the Israeli company.

Gideon Ziegelman is the co-founder and CEO of IQWind, and Nimrod Eitan is the company's co-founder and CTO.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Seambiotic and NASA to develop aviation biofuel feedstock from microalgae

Seambiotic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based leader in the development and production of marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries, announced today that its US subsidiary, Seambiotic USA, has entered into an agreement with NASA Glenn Research Center to develop an on-going collaborative R&D program for optimization of open-pond microalgae growth processes.

"Under a Space Act Agreement, NASA is partnering with Seambiotic USA to model growth processes for microalgae for use as aviation biofuel feedstock," said Prof. Ami Ben-Amotz, Chief Scientific Adviser to Seambiotic. "The goal of the Agreement is to make use of NASA's expertise in large scale computational modeling and combine it with Seambiotic's biological process modeling to make advances in biomass process cost reduction."

Under the Agreement, NASA Glenn and Seambiotic USA will work together to improve production processes and to study and qualify algae oil from alternative species and production processes as candidate aviation fuel at NASA's test facilities.

The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center is one of NASA's 10 field centers, empowered with the resources for developing cutting-edge technologies and advancing scientific research that address NASA's mission to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. Working in partnership with government, industry and academia, the center serves to maintain the US economy's global leadership while benefiting the lives of people around the world.

Seambiotic Ltd. was founded in 2003 to grow and process marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries. Seambiotic's research efforts include a pilot study at an Israeli Electric Corporation power station near the city 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 used as feedstock for biofuel.

Seambiotic is currently in transition from the pilot plant stage to large scale industrial algae cultivation and production. In June 2008, Seambiotic announced plans to partner with Seattle-based Inventure Chemical on the construction of a algae-based biofuel plant in Israel.

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Seambiotic to build algae-based biofuel plant in Israel

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