Solar Panels 311.
(photo credit: bloomberg)
The state-owned company that has been a hub of nuclear research for two decades is looking to further pioneer its research and development in the green energy sector as well, viewing the government’s recent adaptation of renewable energy amendments as particularly promising for the field.
Rotem Innovation Center for Renewable Energy Technologies of the larger Rotem Industries, a government-owned company associated with the Nuclear Research Center in the south, was established five years ago and has since been involved in 15 research and development projects, one of the three key focuses of the center, representatives told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
The other two main elements of interest are hosting renewable energy testing and demonstration facilities – the site is currently hosting about six of those – and garnering support for the creation of 10,000 dunams worth of solar power plants and farms in the local Dimona Municipality, the company said.
“The main motivation for establishing it was the fact that we’re located
in the south, we have sun, land and technological infrastructure needed
to explore R&D,” Meni Maor, head of Rotem’s Innovation Center for
Renewable Energy, told the Post.
The center is currently involved in projects including the creation of
new solar thermal technology at Helioris, multi-company development of
an Air Solar Receiver also for solar thermal energy, a demonstration
facility for Bright- Source and development of algal biofuels with
“We are planning on expanding the testing facility in the coming months
or year or two to host a variety of other technologies,” Maor said.
Most recently, Rotem’s renewable energy center partnered six months ago
with French energy company Alstom and Israeli Gefen Investments to form
an incubator investment company Horizon Ventures, which will act as an
incubator in seeing early stage technology, according to Rotem
representatives. While no project is yet receiving funds from Horizon,
the representatives said that there are four or five “very interesting
candidates” currently under consideration.
“We are looking for promising technologies in the field of green
energy,” Maor said. “We are looking for technologies that have good
potential for commercialization in the global industry. We are looking
for experienced and motivated entrepreneurs.
“Our advantage is that we have both Rotem and Alstom with a lot of
technological experience, who can evaluate the technologies and can
support the technological development process in the first two years”
After two years of initial seed funding, Maor explained, Horizon will
decide whether to continue investing money in the individual projects.
As part of the mid-July cabinet vote to approve increased quotas on
renewable energy available for production in commercial venues,
ministers also allocated an additional 50 megawatts and NIS 10 million
for green energy research under the auspices of the National
Infrastructures Ministry’s chief scientist, portions of which Rotem’s
renewable center hopes it will benefit from.
“The recent evolution is very encouraging,” Maor said. “We are looking forward to seeing decisions being implemented.
But the center itself and most activities we do here are not solely dependent on whether this will happen.”