Israel’s only glass company will get raw materials from its own CO2 emissions

Start-up Airovation Technologies has developed chemical method to extract soda ash from CO2, which can be reused in glass production process

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

An undated photo of glass bottle manufacturing at the Phoenicia factory in Yeruham, southern Israel. (Yoav Weiss, Airovation Technologies)
An undated photo of glass bottle manufacturing at the Phoenicia factory in Yeruham, southern Israel. (Yoav Weiss, Airovation Technologies)

Israel’s Airovation Technologies on Monday announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Phoenicia, the country’s only glass manufacturer, to install technology that transforms carbon dioxide emissions from the plant into minerals that can be used in the glass production process.

Following more than a decade of research at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Airovation Technologies has developed a way to capture sodium carbonate from carbon dioxide at the point where the latter is emitted.

Sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash, is a key component of glass-making. Extracting it from CO2 is done by a patented chemical invention that uses Superoxide Radical, the most powerful oxidizer in nature.

Airovation is also working on extracting other products from carbon dioxide that can be sold in Israel for use in the food, animal feed and fertilizer industries.

The new MOU with Phoenicia, which is located in the southern town of Yeruham, will see Airovation run a two-phase scale-up process, eventually leading to the first fully commercial unit. This will reduce Phoenicia’s global warming carbon emissions, contribute to a circular economy, and reduce the company’s dependence on soda ash imports, an Airovation statement said.

“By partnering with Israel’s only glass manufacturer, we have taken crucial steps to not only put our technology into action, but also toward revolutionizing the glass industry in our home country,” said Gil Tomer, co-founder and COO at Airovation.

Michel Ben Simon, CEO of Phoenicia, said, “Phoenicia is thrilled to support an Israeli start-up and to cooperate in the execution of this pilot.”

Ben Simon noted that Phoenicia is also the country’s only factory that can recycle glass bottles collected within the framework of a national deposit law.

From left to right: Gil Tomer, co-founder & COO at Airovation Technologies, Yeruham Mayor Tal Ohana, Phoenicia CEO Michel Ben Simon, and Phoenicia CFO Avi Peer. (Yoav Weiss, Airovation Technologies)

Phoenicia built a natural gas power plant which is expected to start working within two months, he said, and installed a facility a decade ago to prevent the emissions of polluting nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Earlier this month, Airovation Technologies announced an MOU with Korea-based Kolon Industries Inc., a chemical and textile manufacturing company, to collaborate on a three-phase scale-up process for carbon capture.

Airovation Technologies will appear at Israel’s main business event for climate technologies at the upcoming UN COP27 climate conference, which begins in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on November 6.

The event will take place on November 8 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. There, the Israel Export Institute will partner with the Economy Ministry’s Foreign Trade Administration, the Foreign Ministry, and the Israeli Manufacturers Association to present Israeli solutions in the fields of energy, water scarcity, agriculture and food-tech.

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