Israeli start-up Airovation Technologies wants to capture South Korea’s carbon

A new MOU between Airovation Technologies and Korean manufacturer Kolon Industries represents the latest in a growing list of Israeli-South Korean collaborations.

OUTSIDE A Tokyo brokerage house. Alternative landing pads for start-ups in Asia range from Japan and South Korea to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. (photo credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON)
OUTSIDE A Tokyo brokerage house. Alternative landing pads for start-ups in Asia range from Japan and South Korea to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON)

Following the ratification of a Free Trade Agreement between Israel and South Korea – which is slated to go into full effect on December 1 – Israeli climate-tech company Airovation Technologies has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Korean chemical and textile manufacturing company Kolon Industries.

The two companies are to collaborate on a three-phase scale-up process for carbon capture at Kolon’s manufacturing facility.

Based on more than 10 years of R&D at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Airovation Technologies provides air purification and carbon capture solutions, based on the conversion of CO2 into minerals and products that can be used in the food, feed, glass and fertilizer industries.

While the company also provides small-scale systems that can purify indoor air spaces by oxidizing viruses and bacteria, its larger-scale applications have turned the heads of several corporate manufacturers who could benefit from reducing their carbon output.

Moreover, the company’s solution to carbon capture and conversion has landed it a place in Israel’s climate-tech delegation for the upcoming 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) next month in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

 Seoul, South Korea. (credit: JOON KYU PARK via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS) Seoul, South Korea. (credit: JOON KYU PARK via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Airovation’s value proposition to corporate manufacturers has garnered significant attention from South Korean investors, having recently completed a $16 million Series A funding round which included participation from several Korean VCs, including Dreamstone Partners, Yozma Group Korea and Unid Global Corporation.
“Airovation Technologies collaboration with Korean entities such as the Yozma Group, Unid Global Corporation, Dreamstone Partners and now Kolon Industries represents a match made in heaven from the perspective of igniting innovation,” said Gil Tomer, co-founder & COO at Airovation Technologies.
The recently-ratified Free Trade Agreement with South Korea is the first that Israel has signed with an Asian country and reflects the growing strength of the Israel-Korea trade relationship. On an annual basis, Israel exports approximately $1.5 billion to South Korea, while importing $2 billion in Korean goods.

How have business relations between Israel and Asian countries grown?

One of the characterizing attributes of Israeli-South Korean collaboration, as described by Tomer, is the ability of the Asian country to fan the flame started by the Israeli spark of innovation.

“Our South Korea-based partnerships showcase how the ‘start-up nation’ of Israel can provide the entrepreneurial mindset to drive innovation, while South Korea can bring to the table its expertise in the realm of scaling. These complementary assets and experiences will empower such enterprises and partnerships to flourish,” Tomer said.
That sentiment has been espoused by other representatives of Israeli-Asian collaboration. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post earlier this year, the head of Mitsubishi Corporation’s Tel Aviv liaison office, Takeshi Kai, noted a similar phenomenon occurring between Israeli and Japanese businesses.
“Israeli companies are very good at making one from zero. Japanese companies are very good at making 100 from one: scaling up is our advantage. So Israeli startups and Japanese corporations together can be a very good, complementary, ideal relationship,” said Kai.