The US-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), which has been fostering collaborations between Israeli and American companies since 1977, has some significant new energy sector partnerships under its wing.
Five years ago, the BIRD Foundation launched BIRD Energy, a special initiative connecting America’s Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to the Israel Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources.
With up to a million dollars in financing for each “couple,” there is good incentive for Israelis and Americans to team up.
A number of interesting projects funded by matching grants shows the environmental benefits and financial dividends that international partners in energy can bring.
Throughout the year, BIRD holds “matchmaking” events for Israeli and American companies both in Israel and in the United States.
Last May, BIRD Energy launched a new call for proposals from companies working in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Up to one million dollars is at stake per partnership grant.
Any kind of cooperation in energy could work: smart grids, wind energy, projects at the water-energy nexus, solar power. The catch is that it takes two to tango with this grant. Partners must apply together to BIRD Energy.
“The innovation that both companies present to us should show synergy and the ability to develop the technology and bring it to market,” says Limor Nakar-Vincent, director of BIRD Energy’s US Business Development.
“Partnerships should present a strong innovation and be of great interest to both economies in the US and Israel,” she explains.
Past success stories include a partnership between Greenlight Technologies from Israel and Viridity from the US, who built a system that interfaced with the home-energy market so devices could be powered down during peak use. The two companies are now selling to the market.
Grants were recently awarded to EnStorage of Israel and Princeton Power Systems from New Jersey. The two are developing a next-generation energy storage system for continuous battery supply.
BIRD Energy partners GenCell from Israel and the Alabama-based Innovative Machine Corp. are working on creating a special cathode for tomorrow’s electrochemical fuel-cell generators.
The Israeli heavyweight Rafael Advanced Defense Systems from Haifa is partnered with Aquion Energy of Pennsylvania to develop an advanced energy driver for remote off-grid systems.
Winflex from Kibbutz Moran is working with General Electric in New York to create a new kind of wind turbine with an inflatable rotor.
If the partnerships lead to a commercialized product, the BIRD Energy grants must be paid back.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on June 9, 2014