15 September 2009

Israeli Companies Pitch at US-Israel Cleantech Conference

More than a dozen Israeli companies pitched at today's US-Israel Cleantech Conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

The companies promoting their renewable energy and other green technologies were joined by business leaders, investors, and government agency representative from Greater Philadelphia who shared keys to business development in the region and the state.

The conference, part of a three-day tour of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey for the companies, was organized by the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce and was designed to give exposure to some of the best new start-ups in Israel.

"The high tech sector took 15 years to develop in Israel," said Hillel Milo, Managing Partner of AquAgroFund, which at $100M US is one of the largest venture capital firms in the cleantech sector in Israel. "I have a feeling we will have a robust cleantech sector in five years."

If the companies featured today are any example Israel is on its way.

Of particular interest were several companies developing small-scale alternative technologies, especially solar and wind, for the distributed energy market. As expected, there was a high concentration on solar and wind solutions. Among the noteworthy companies:

AORA is developing community-scale solar thermal power stations that are 100kw in size, enabling an off-grid option for remote communities. (See photo above.)

Variable Wind Solutions, which has developed a voltage regulation system that improves wind turbine performance and efficiency in low, high, and variable-speed winds and connecting small wind turbines to the power grid.

TransBiodiesel, which has developed an enzymatic biocatalyst that can replace corrosive alkaline and acid catalysts in biodiesel production from plant oils, animal fats, and recycled greases.

And finally, Cequesta Water, which has developed low-cost technologies for recycling gray water at the domestic, multiunit dwelling, and large resort scales.

Notable Pennsylvania-based presenters and panelists included Audrey Zibelman of Viridity Energy, Gary Feldman of Lockheed Martin, Brian Yerger of AERCA Advisors, Jay Goldman of Exelon, Mark DeGrandpre of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Joyce Ferris of Blue Hill Partners.

Curtis Gregory from the Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor, also addressed the audience.

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