Yesterday was the Israel Cleantech Showcase – an event cosponsored by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce. Israel is second only to the United States in green startup companies – not surprising for a country with few fossil fuel resources and less-than-ideal relations with OPEC nations. Israel’s cleantech industry, though, has been dominated by two technologies: solar thermal (rooftop solar water heaters are ubiquitous) and desalination. Yesterday’s event showed that there are hundreds of new Israeli startups looking to both build upon these two industries and break ground in new ones.
Consider 3GSolar, a company working on creating dye-sensitized solar modules. Like all solar cells in this class, their product is less efficient than silicon cells but cheap to produce – their goal is to eventually build cells at a cost of $1 per watt, which would compete with other thin cell technologies. There are currently no photovoltaic power plants in Israel, though there is interest in developing them in the southern part of the country which offers ample sunlight and remote locations that can benefit the most from off-the-grid production.
Another company, Emefcy has produced a microbial fuel cell (or MFC; hence the name). They have engineered a strain of bacteria that can release electrons from organic molecules in waste water. Low-cost electrodes are used to channel these electrons into an electric circuit. The end result is threefold: cheap electricity (estimates at 10 cents/kwh), reduced sludge in the waste water and hydrogen gas.
Other startups were focusing on ways to improve other technologies. Tigo Energy is a California based company that builds hardware and software to control and monitor individual solar modules so as to maximize their efficiency. Tigo claims it can increase power production by 20% for residential systems and 8% for power plants.
Via Greentech Media
written by Nick Panchev, November 28, 2008
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