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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources (MIEW), along with the Israel Innovation Authority, announced $4 million for five newly selected clean energy projects as part of the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program. Today's announcement represents the eighth annual selection of BIRD Energy projects, which support President Obama's efforts to develop low-carbon alternatives to traditional energy resources.
This announcement builds on the robust and ongoing cooperation between the Energy Department and MIEW under the U.S. Israel Energy Dialogue, which brings together experts from both nations to encourage the use of clean energy technologies, foster natural gas regulations that encourage sustainable development, explore the energy-water nexus, and enhance energy cybersecurity. It also reinforces the goals of an amendment to a U.S.-Israel Energy Agreement signed by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources in April 2016 to expand cooperative clean energy efforts between the two countries.
"The collaboration through BIRD Energy leverages the work of top energy scientists in the U.S. and Israel which will help both nations continue to work together to foster research and development efforts, build on the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement, and drive down the costs of clean energy technologies," said Secretary Moniz.
"The climate change and clean energy challenges cross borders, and that's where collaborative projects emerge and succeed," said Dr. Steinitz. "The great minds and capabilities from Israel and the U.S. together with the MIEW and DOE continuous support to the BIRD Energy program, does and will drive technological developments for the Clean Energy market in both countries and worldwide."
BIRD Energy began in 2009 as a result of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Since then, BIRD Energy has funded 32 projects with a total investment of about $26 million, including the five selected projects announced today, which will leverage cost-share for a total project value of $8.6 million. The program encourages cooperation between Israeli and American companies through funding joint research and development in a range of clean energy subsectors including energy efficiency, biofuels, and solar energy.
BIRD Energy projects address 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 five approved projects are:
- BrightSource Industries Ltd. (Jerusalem) and Dynamis Solutions, LLC (Las Vegas, Nevada) will develop an automated heliostat cleaning system for concentrated solar plants, increasing electricity production and reducing operating costs.
- CelDezyner Ltd. (Rehovot, Israel) and POET Research, Inc. (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) will develop an innovative process for lower cost production of ethanol from second generation, lignocellulosic feedstocks, which could provide further options to reduce oil dependence.
- Solview Systems Ltd. (Ramat Gan, Israel) and Yarotek PR, LLC (Aventura, Florida) will develop rooftop solar analytics for the commercial and industrial markets to ease the adoption of solar energy.
- Technion IIT (Haifa, Israel) and Pajarito Powder, LLC (Albuquerque, New Mexico) will develop lower cost catalysts for energy storage and energy generation devices used to level intermittent renewable sources or for back-up applications.
- Waves Audio Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia) will develop an innovative electrostatic speaker using a nanoscale active membrane based on graphene, achieving significant energy savings.
Projects that qualify for BIRD Energy funding must include one U.S. and one Israeli company, or a company in one of the countries paired with a university or research institution in the other. The companies must present a project that involves innovation in the area of energy efficiency or renewable energy and is of mutual interest to both countries. BIRD Energy has a rigorous review process that selects the most technologically meritorious projects along with those that are likely to commercialize and have significant impact. Qualified projects must contribute at least 50 percent to project costs and commit to repay up to 150 percent of the grant if the project leads to commercial success.
Visit the BIRD Foundation website to learn more about the program.