Israeli energy technology start-ups seek American embrace

The energy ministers were joined by an audience of Israeli and American energy executives, investors and entrepreneurs at Jerusalem's King David Hotel.

July 23, 2019 21:55
3 minute read.
Israeli energy technology start-ups seek American embrace

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (L) meets with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, July 23, 2019. (photo credit: MINISTRY OF ENERGY)

Israeli start-ups endeavoring to disrupt the global energy market showcased their technologies to US Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Tuesday evening, eager to penetrate into the lucrative US energy sector.

"In order to continue to lead the world with innovation, start-ups and technologies in the field of energy, it’s so important that we are here today and have decided to accelerate, foster and continue to promote our cooperation," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Perry.

The energy ministers were joined by an audience of Israeli and American energy executives, investors and entrepreneurs at Jerusalem's King David Hotel.

Start-ups invited to present their innovations were electric aircraft developer Eviation, electric vehicle battery specialist Phinergy, vehicle charging station provider EV Meter, wastewater solution company Fluence, electric road developer Electreon and ice-based energy storage system creator Nostromo.

"This is just the beginning of a wonderful cooperation between the giant and the dwarf, between the United States and Israel. We hope to contribute something to the giant, but we are very thankful to the US and Secretary Perry, not just for continuing but for accelerating and promoting a new level of cooperation between our countries," said Steinitz.

Perry recounted his first visit to Israel 27 years ago as Texas Agriculture Commissioner, during which he met Israeli innovators considered to be the leaders in the world of water conservation and efficiency.

"I grew up on a dryland cotton farm in Texas, so conserving water was critical, and it actually looks a lot like the Negev and Beersheba," said Perry.

"I was taught to be humble and to not brag. But my father taught me something: 'Son if you do it, it ain’t bragging.' When we talk about the United States and Israel being the place where innovation is going to occur, we’re not bragging because we can do it."

Among the start-ups showcasing their innovative solutions was Electreon, based in Beit Yanai near Tel Aviv. The company is currently running pilot projects of its wireless electric road technology in Tel Aviv and on the Swedish island of Gotland.

Electreon VP Business Development Noam Ilan told The Jerusalem Post that the United States offers a huge potential market for the company's technology.

"There are many long-haul trucks traveling long distances and it's very difficult to electrify them," said Ilan. "We believe the only way to electrify long-haul trucks is by implementing the technology of electric roads. We believe the best solution is wireless and we are the global leaders.

"What we aim to achieve here is for the Energy Secretary to understand that our technology can solve many issues in the United States, create jobs and cut dependency on foreign batteries. If he likes our technology, he will hopefully help Electreon penetrate this huge potential market."

On Wednesday, Steinitz and Perry will both travel to Cairo for the second meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, a body established to transform the region into a natural energy hub. Also set to attend the forum are energy ministers from Cyprus, Greece, and Jordan, as well as deputy finance minister of Italy and a Palestinian Authority representative.

"Today, Israel is on the verge of exporting gas, of being a major contributor in this region," said Perry.

"To be able to work with the Egyptians and Jordanians, and bring this region together in a way that people didn't think was possible five years ago is due to the innovation and technology that you all too often find in Israel and the United States."

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