US-Israel fund to invest $4.8 million in clean energy projects

BIRD Energy selects 5 projects it believes will help create a cleaner world

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Clean energy (vencavolrab, iStock by Getty Images)
Clean energy (vencavolrab, iStock by Getty Images)

A program funded by the US Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy and the Israel Innovation Authority will finance five joint Israel-US clean energy projects for a total of $4.8 million.

Each project addresses energy challenges and opportunities of interest to both countries, while focusing on commercializing clean energy technologies that improve economic competitiveness, create jobs and support innovative companies, the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy said in a statement Sunday.

BIRD Energy is part of the BIRD Foundation, which matches US and Israeli researchers in technology related work and offers funding to selected projects. The foundation has approved close to 950 projects over its 40-year history.

“BIRD Energy actively engages in fostering partnerships between Israeli and American companies, focusing on energy efficiency which is critical to the global economy and environment, as well as cleaner, renewable energy,” said Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of the BIRD Foundation, in a statement. “By providing financial support to both partners, the development and commercialization of such technologies are accelerated, bringing economic value to both countries.”

The projects that have been selected to receive funding are:

Brenmiller Energy Ltd. (Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel) and Power Authority of the State of New York (White Plains, New York), which will develop a high temperature, storage-based Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system;

CelDezyner Ltd. (Rehovot, Israel) and AdvanceBio LLC. (Milford, Ohio), which are developing a process for the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks (energy crops and agricultural residues);

 QDM Ltd. (Rehovot, Israel) and ALD NanoSolutions Inc. (Broomfield, Colorado), which are developing third generation High Power Transmission Cables (HTS) cables;

SoftWheel Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Detroit Bikes (Detroit, Michigan), which will develop an energy- efficient, low-maintenance, high-performance bicycle; and

TerraGenic Ltd.  (Kadima, Israel) and Triton Systems, Inc. (Chelmsford, Massachusetts), which will develop a safe hydrogen transport and storage system.

The Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program was set up in 2009 and has since invested $30 million in 37 joint projects undertaken by Israeli entrepreneurs with a US partner.

Projects that qualify for BIRD Energy funding must include one US and one Israeli company, or a company from one of the countries paired with a university or research institution from the other. The companies must present a project that involves innovation in the area of energy and is of mutual interest to both countries.

BIRD Energy selects what it believes to be the projects with the most promising technologies along with those that are likely to commercialize and have significant impact on the environment. Qualified projects must contribute at least 50% to project costs and commit to repayments if the project leads to commercial success.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the projects, themselves. BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The Foundation provides funding of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.

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