Energy projects to receive binational funding

Four American-Israeli projects in renewable energy will receive portions of $3.5 million budget allocated by the US and Israel.

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December 9, 2012 23:33
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Four American-Israeli projects in renewable energy will receive portions of a $3.5 million budget allocated jointly by the United States Department of Energy and Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry, under the 2012 Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program.

Each project receiving funding involves one American and one Israeli partner and aims to address energy challenges that both countries are interested in tackling, BIRD Energy announced on Sunday. Not only will the money finance research, but it will also serve to help commercialize clean energy technologies that can improve economic competitiveness and create jobs, according to BIRD. This is the fourth class of collaborative BIRD projects to be approved specifically for the energy sector.

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The US and Israeli governments first established BIRD in 1977, in order to promote cooperation between the two nations in the emerging hi-tech and start-up sectors, and his since expanded its scope to areas of renewable energy, life sciences, electronics, optics, software and homeland security, the organization said.

BIRD finances about 20 projects annually, and the cumulative sales of products that have resulted from BIRD projects now amount to over $8 billion. At the onset of a project, BIRD provides up to 50 percent of each initiative’s budget, and then the companies repay their financial assistance as royalties from their sales. Should the projects fail to reach sales stage, BIRD does not demand that the investments be repaid, the organization said.

The first of the four projects that BIRD has selected for this round of investments is a Hydrogen- Halogen Regenerative Fuel Cell initiative between Bromine Compounds of Beersheba and Sustainable Innovations of Glastonbury, Connecticut. In developing the fuel cell, the two companies hope to generate a mechanism that can provide low cost, transportable, modular energy storage capability, according to BIRD.

Also focusing on storage, the second project will center on developing high-energy, rechargeable magnesium batteries.

The two firms working on the project, Bar Ilan Research and Development Company of Ramat Gan and Pellion Technologies of Cambridge, Massachusetts, claim that the magnesium batteries are superior to lithium-ion technology in size, weight, lifetime and cost.



B.G. Negev Technologies in Beersheba will be working with Southwest Solar Technologies from Phoenix, Arizona, to jointly develop a concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system that employs a new type of active cooling module, in the third project, according to BIRD.

The fourth project will involve Pythagoras Solar of Petah Tikvah and BISEM of Sacramento, California, and the two companies will be developing windows capable of efficiently producing electricity from solar energy. The windows will involve buildingintegrated photovoltaics (BIPV), in which photovoltaic solar windows with a high level of transparency and insulation replace the typical windows of a building.

“In a global market which is becoming increasingly challenging for young renewable energy companies, partnering is critical to accelerate development and reduce risks,” said Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of BIRD. “We are pleased to be able to support these four promising US-Israel collaborations selected from a highly competitive group of proposals.”

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