The energy arm of the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation will be granting $3.6 million to four clean energy projects developed by American and Israeli partners.
These latest grants represent the fifth round of funding provided to American and Israeli firms by the BIRD energy program since its inception in 2009.
The partnership, administered by the US Department of Energy and the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry, began as a result of the US-Israel Cooperation in Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, followed by the Israeli government approval of the program in 2008.
In addition to their $3.6m. in direct funding, the newly approved BIRD energy projects will be able to leverage private sector cost sharing for a total project value of $8.8m., according to BIRD.
“The funding provided to the companies accelerates the development and commercialization of their technologies,” said Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of BIRD.
“We already see sales from projects that we have supported over the last five years.”
The US and Israeli governments established the BIRD Foundation in 1977 to promote cooperation between the two nations in the emerging hi-tech and start-up worlds, and have since expanded its scope.
In December, the larger BIRD umbrella organization – administered by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Israeli Economy Ministry’s Chief Scientist Office – approved $9m.
worth of funding for 11 American- Israeli projects in the electronics, cyber security, life sciences, communications and homeland security sectors.
BIRD projects receive up to 50 percent of a project’s budget, and the financial assistance is eventually repaid as royalties from commercial sales.
A new bipartisan bill proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), which seeks to expand US and Israeli collaboration on energy developments, would among other things reauthorize BIRD projects through the 2024 fiscal year upon becoming law.
Landrieu’s bill passed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in early January.
In the latest round of BIRD energy funding, one pair of beneficiaries will be Yavnebased EnStorage and Lawrenceville, NJ-based Princeton Power Systems, Inc., which will develop a next generation energy storage system for uninterrupted supply. Another partnership, between Petah Tikva-based GenCell and Birmingham, AL-based Innovative Machine Corp., will focus on creating and industrializing a new cathode for a next generation electrochemical fuel cell generator.
Aiming to develop an advanced energy system for remote off-grid electricity generation, Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will work with Pittsburgh, PA -based Aquion Energy.
In the fourth and final project, Kibbutz Moran-Winflex will collaborate with Niskayuna, NY-based General Electric Global Research to develop a wind turbine generator with an inflatable rotor.
“The [National Infrastructure, Energy and Water] Ministry sees great importance in R&D cooperation between companies from Israel and the United States,” said National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom. “The synergy accelerates the process of R&D to commercialization and improves market penetration of new technologies.”