Cleantech Matchmaking: Israeli-U.S. Pairings

It’s a matchmaker, but instead of pairing up people, it seeks to connect companies from Israel and the United States who might be a good fit for each other. And now the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), established by the governments of the two countries in 1977, is investing $3.1 million to help link U.S. cleantech players with Israeli counterparts on four cooperative projects.

The money comes through the foundation’s BIRD Energy program, an initiative to advance research and development into renewable energy. It’s the third round of joint projects approved by BIRD Energy in the face of tightening budgets. “The American and Israeli companies who were awarded the grants represent a cooperative strategy to develop innovative technologies despite declining investments in the Cleantech sector,” said Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of BIRD.

Israel-U.S. cleantech cooperation

image via Cima NanoTech

BIRD said that with private-sector money on top of its own $3.1 investment, the four projects have a total value of $8.5 million.

Two of the projects match California companies with Israeli firms: Integrated Photovoltaics (IPV) of San Jose and Cima NanoTech “will test and demonstrate a process for producing low-cost crystalline silicon solar wafers and solar cells that combines IPV’s low-cost high-efficiency wafer technology with Cima NanoTech‘s electrode coating process”; and Halotechnics of Emeryville will work with Ener-T International to “develop develop a high-efficiency concentrated solar thermal plant design using high-temperature molten salts as a heat transfer fluid and for energy storage.”

In the third project, Greenlet Technologies of Tel Aviv and Philadelphia’s Viridity Energy “will jointly develop a WiFi-based load management system for residential and commercial buildings that can monitor and control individual appliances without the need for professional installation.” And, lastly, the Seattle company 3Tier and Pentalum of Israel “will develop and test a LIDAR-based system, which gathers data using lasers, to facilitate wind speed and power output forecasting in wind farms.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.