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Facts Regarding Israel

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.

Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population, can lay additional claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.

Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

Israel has the fourth largest Air Force in the world (after the U.S., Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel’s air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16’s. This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U. S.

Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people –as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population,Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. 3,500companies mostlyin hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world apart from the Silicon Valley, U. S. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.

Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK. On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

Twenty-four per cent of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.

Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) at risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world’s second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day — and saved >three victims from the rubble. Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship –and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 – in the world. Relative to its population, Israel is the largestimmigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union).

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as “conflict free.”

Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

Medicine… Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U.S. hospitals, 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

Israel’s Givun Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders.

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that irectly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera, helps doctors diagnose heart’s mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well.

A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct — all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California’s Mojave desert.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its struction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection han any other county on earth.

US-Israeli solar energy co Brightsource raises $122m

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

As reported in IVC Online: The company value was $700-800 million, after money.

Brightsource Energy Inc. has raised $122.5 million in its fifth financing round. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company said that it raised the capital in shares and warrants, as part of a planned $125 million offering.

“Venturewire” reports that the company value for the round was $700-800 million, after money. Both current and new investors participated in the round.

Brightsource declined to comment on the report.

Brightsource builds large thermosolar farms. It is not a start-up in the usual sense of the word, but it is the technology company with an Israeli affiliation that has raised the most money – $450 million in five years. It raised $176 million in its previous financing round in the autumn of 2010.

The list of Brightsource’s investors also shows that it is not a run-of-the-mill start-up. Shareholders include the Russian government’s venture capital fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), VantagePoint Venture Partners, BP Alternative Energy, the California State Teachers Retirement System (Calsters), Google.org, Chevron Technology Ventures, Alstom SA (LSE: ALS; Euronext: ALO) and StateoilHydro Venture.

California-based Brightsource Energy is the parent company of Brightsource Industries (Israel) Ltd. (formerly Luz2), which develops thermosolar solutions based on Luz, founded by Arnold Goldman, which operated in California’s Mojave Desert in the 1980s.

Brightsource’s technology uses flat mirrors, called heliostats, to concentrate sunlight onto a boiler at the top of a tower to generate steam, which is then piped to run turbines to produce electricity.

Advanced Equities Inc., a specialist in services for companies planning IPOs, assisted Brightsource in the current financing round. In late 2010, Brightsource was reportedly planning an IPO on Nasdaq, and had hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sach for this purpose. The current financing round indicates that the company is apparently waiting a bit more before holding an IPO, and opted for mezzanine financing.

The financing round paralleled the completion of procedures for a $1.37 billion US Department of Energy loan guarantee for the construction of a large Ivanpah thermosolar facility in the Mojave that will supply electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

One of the terms of the loan guarantee is that Brightsource must raise additional capital from private investors. The company’s project will be the largest thermosolar energy project in the world, and will double the amount of solar energy currently produced in the US.

Brightsource also operates a pilot facility at Mishor Rotem in the Negev.

Brightsource does not expect to generate substantial revenue until the Ivanpah project is completed. However, the company has begun to grant licenses for its technology in order to improve its revenue.

Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference to Showcase a Renewable Energy Commercialization Platform from Capital Nature Experimentum

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference to Showcase a Renewable Energy Commercialization Platform from Capital Nature Experimentum

Business leaders to discuss business models for bridging the gap from innovation to implementation for new renewable energy projects

Eilat, Israel (February 21, 2011) – The organizers of the 4th International Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference & Exhibition today announced that a Renewable Energy Commercialization Platform at Capital Nature Experimentum will be presented throughout the conference.

Capital Nature Experimentum’s Renewable Energy Commercialization Platform is a business acceleration framework organized by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative and financially backed by Capital Nature Ventures. Capital Nature Experimentum is dedicated to assisting new renewable energy projects in Israel with the process of turning innovative renewable energy ideas into fully implemented projects.

The Capital Nature Experimentum provides renewable energy entrepreneurs with space for pilot implantations, professional and scientific guidance for R&D validation and access to regional and global renewable energy production.

Capital Nature Experimentum is located next to the Arava Renewable Energy Academic Institute in Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel. Capital Nature is currently hosting some of the leading renewable energy startup technology companies, including Pythagoras Solar, Verilite, SolarEdge Technologies, B-Solar, Solaris Synergy, Aora Solar and PowerCom.

Business leaders and policymakers from the European EUREKA industrial research program will also be leading a number of plenary sessions at the conference on financing models for new renewable energy projects. The leaders of numerous national funding organizations serving as EUREKA representatives will be available at the conference to meet with renewable energy entrepreneurs to discuss EUREKA’s partner-matching services and funding opportunities.

The Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference will take place at the Herods and Dan hotels in Eilat, Israel on February 22-24. Registration information for the conference is available at www.eilatenergy.org/registration.

About Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference
The Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy International Conference and Exhibition is among the world’s leading platforms for presenting technological innovation, business opportunities, policies and implementation in the renewable energy field. The conference brings together thousands of participants from around the world. During the conference, engaging meetings take place that lead to tangible results in the field.

Israel’s cleantech mega-plan

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

As reported by IVC:

The country is investing billions to become a world leader in renewable energy technologies and oil alternatives.

“The global interest in Israel’s energy R&D and technology is out of all proportion to the size of the country,” says Dr. Eli Opper, former Chief Scientist and now chairman of the Eureka High Level Group (HLG). Israel currently holds the chairmanship of Eureka, the European R&D program, of which more than 40 countries are members. According to Dr. Opper, Israel’s technological achievements were an important consideration in the award of the chairmanship. “The world looks for two things in Israel,” he says, “R&D and technology. Our manufacturing and marketing capabilities are of far less interest to it.”

Dr. Opper points out that Israel has an impressive record in developing breakthrough energy technologies. “Israel was a world pioneer in developing water desalination and solar energy technologies,” he says. “Unfortunately, in Spain and California there are solar installations that operate using Israeli technologies, but in Israel itself we have missed the opportunity to implement them, among other things for political reasons.

“Another reason is the small size of the Israeli market. On this point, Israel has a great deal to gain from cooperation with the large European market. Moreover, Israelis have a lot to learn from the Europeans when it comes to environmental protection. This is an area in which Israel considerably lags behind European countries. Up to now, Israelis have preferred to deal with more urgent issues on the agenda.”

This highlights the importance of the conference being organized by the European Friends of Israel in Jerusalem this week, in collaboration with “Globes.” The conference is beng attended by about 500 of the European Parliament’s 736 members. Over the course of the conference, the European parliamentarians will visit Israel’s leading industrial plants. This is no small thing, given that they represent a market of 375 million consumers, who could help promote Israeli technology.

Dr. Opper defines cleantech as comprising three sub-fields: water, environment, and renewable energy. One of the most interesting Israel developments, he says, is in water. “The hot topic in water technologies these days is prevention of leaks from water pipes. There are some very interesting Israeli developments in this area, that could be especially relevant to large European cities with antiquated water infrastructure. In cities like London and Paris, the rate of water loss can be counted in tens of percents.

“The Israeli technology is two-stage. The first stage is locating the leak, using sophisticated control systems. The second is blocking the leak, by introducing special, non-toxic materials.”

Read more here

Solar energy that floats on water

Monday, February 14th, 2011

As reported in Israel21c:

Generating energy from the sun would be more practical if not for two huge drawbacks: The expense of the silicon material that converts light to electricity, and the large tracts of land needed for solar farms.

By solving both problems – and introducing unexpected side benefits, too – Solaris Synergy captured first place in the Israel National Cleantech Open IDEAS Competition at Tel Aviv University’s Akirov Institute for Business and Environment in November. Sponsors of the international competition aim to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurial ideas that address worldwide energy, environmental and economic challenges.

At Solaris headquarters in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim Industrial Park, co-founder and CEO Yossi Fisher explains that each Lego-like module of Solaris’ Floating Concentrating Photovoltaic (F-CPV) system is faced with a curved mirrored film that clusters the sunlight into a thin line. Since only that five percent of the surface needs a silicon cover, Solaris uses relatively little of the costly material.

read more here

Ceragon buys Norway’s Nera Networks

Monday, January 31st, 2011

As reported in Globes.co.il: Nera’s operations in Latin America and Africa complement Ceragon’s position in Europe, Asia and North America.

Wireless backhaul equipment and network developer Ceragon Networks Ltd. is buying Norwegian company Nera Networks for about $48.5 million.Nera is a manufacturer of microwave radio systems. The company is one of three business units of Eltek ASA, which is selling the company to Ceragon. Nera Networks has a global customer base, including several Tier One operators in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Following today’s closing of the transaction, both companies’ assets and core competencies will be combined into a single integrated organization, product family and customer base.

Ceragon, led by CEO Ira Palti, said that the transaction accelerates its strategic plans, as the combination of the two companies achieves immediate scale and reach to enable Ceragon to successfully and fully capitalize on global opportunities. Nera’s operations in Latin America and Africa complement Ceragon’s position in Europe, Asia and North America.

The acquisition will be funded through a combination of cash on hand and approximately $35 million of bank debt. The transaction is expected to be accretive on a quarterly basis by the end of 2011. Ceragon is targeting a combined operating model for 2012 with gross margins similar to its current level, and operating profit of 10% based on a quarterly combined run rate revenue of about $150 million.

According to previous forecasts supplied by Ceragon, it should report growth of 35% for 2010, to revenue of $250 million. With the contribution of Nera, Ceragon expects quarterly revenue of $150 million, or $600 million for the year. At that level of revenue, Ceragon expects to maintain gross profitability at 35%, and to reach operating profitability of 10%, compared with a current 7.5% on a non-GAAP basis.

This will not be a simple task, given that Nera is a loss-making company. In the first three quarters of 2010, it had revenue of $177 million, and lost $14.5 million.

“Nera is a loss-making company with a low gross profit margin (about 22%), which is part of the reason that the price for it is low,” Palti explains. However, according to him, Nera is an easy company to turn around.

“2011 will be a transition year, and towards the end of the year, the acquisition will contribute to profits,” Palti says. At any event, he stresses, even before Nera contributes, Ceragon will remain a profitable company.

Ceragon currently employs about 700 people, 200 of them in Israel. They will be joined by Nera’s 800 employees.

“There are synergies, and we will have to make decisions about overlapping activities, but that isn’t the name of the game here,” Palti says. According to him, the overlap between the two companies is not great. “Therefore,” he says, “we will be able to run forward. The acquisition will enable us to grow in market share, to boost our presence in many places in the world, and provide better solutions.”

Eltek, traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange, is a strategic technology partner within power solutions and microwave radio transmission, through its three business units Eltek Valere, Nera Networks and Nera Telecommunications. The company had close to 3,330 employees in more than 50 countries at the end of 2009. Following the divestment of Nera Networks, Eltek will focus on its core business in telecom power and power electronics solutions for industrial applications and renewable markets such as solar power and electric vehicles.

Ceragon’s share price rose 4.6% to $14.24 yesterday on Nasdaq, giving a market cap of 497.45 million.

Israel Conquers Space

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Look up at the night sky. Amidst the stars is a small satellite you cannot see, circling the earth every ninety minutes, peering down through clouds and darkness. It is called Ofek 9 and it is a sophisticated eye-in-the-sky, both built and launched by Israel. It tracks what Israel’s enemies are scheming and it can see fine details on the ground, night or day, fair weather or foul. It is not alone, it has several sisters. And it is strong evidence that improbably, Israel has become one of a handful of nations (and by far the smallest of them) which lead in both military and civilian space technology. How this happened conveys important lessons.

The Israel Space Agency was founded in 1982. In 1984, then Defense Minister Moshe Arens instructed IAI (then, Israel Aircraft Industries, now known as Israel Aerospace Industries) to join with other Israeli companies to design and build satellites and a rocket powerful enough to launch them. Arens was highly qualified to make this decision. A Lithuanian-born naturalized American, he studied aeronautical engineering at MIT and Caltech, then emigrated to Israel in 1948. After a five-year stint at Technion, he spent nine years as deputy head of IAI.

Only four years after Arens’ decision, on September 19, 1988, Israel became the eighth nation in the world to launch a satellite. It was called Ofek 1 (Ofek means ‘horizon’ in Hebrew). It weighed 343 pounds and like many of Israel’s achievements, it was made the hard way.

Every other nation’s satellites, without exception, are launched from west to east. This is because doing so uses the slingshot effect of the earth, which rotates west to east at about 1,300 kilometers per hour (800 miles per hour), and thus helps rockets gain the speed needed to launch satellites into orbit.

But Israel cannot launch its satellites from west to east, because that would send the launch rocket’s trajectory over hostile Arab territory. So Israel launches satellites from east to west over the Mediterranean, against the spin of the earth. Zvi Kaplan, current Director of the Israel Space Agency, told The Jewish Herald, a Houston, Texas daily, that an east-to-west launch loses “about 30 percent in the effective payload or the overall launch weight − so the policy in Israel was to miniaturize everything, yet not to pay in performance.”

Necessity has spurred invention. Israel has become a leader in optical and radar imaging of the earth and in miniaturizing satellites. Jaime Lerner, the former Jewish mayor of Curitiba, a highly innovative Brazilian city, once said that if you want true creativity, chop two zeros off your budget. Israel’s space industry is proof. With tiny resources and major constraints, Israel has become a world leader in miniaturizing satellites, simply because it had to. It has not all been smooth sailing. Satellite launch attempts failed in 1991 and again in 1993, and Ofek 4 fell into the sea on January 22, 1998, as did Ofek 6, on September 6, 2004.

The former chair of the Israel Space Agency, Dr. Yitzhak Ben Israel, now head of the National R&D Council, told the online newspaper Ynet, “With Ofek 9, Israel now has about ten satellites working in a joint system. One of them completes a round every ninety minutes, then the second one comes along, then the third one, and so on. At a given moment, there is not one place which interests us in the Middle East that is not being shot. In fact, a country will not be able to conduct any secret operations in the Middle East without the area being covered by one of our satellites… Iran won’t be able to transfer different materials without us noticing.”

“There are seven independent countries in space, and in terms of quality and technology only the United States comes before Israel,” he said. Officially, Ofek satellites can see objects as small as two feet long on the ground. In practice, Ben Israel said, the resolution is far sharper.

For Israel, space has more than defense implications. It is a vital civilian industry. The global space market amounts to a huge $250 billlion annually. Israel’s goal is to grab just over 3 percent of it, or some $8 billion, within a few years. It has already made a good start.

Geosynchronous Israeli civilian satellites already offer communication channels to companies all over the world. Geosynchronous satellites orbit the earth at precisely the same speed as the earth turns and therefore remain on one stationary spot, very useful for providing TV, phone and internet communication channels. The first such satellite, Amos 1, was put into orbit by a European Ariane rocket on April 5, 1995. Amos 5 will launch in 2011 and Amos 4, in 2012 (satellites are numbered according to when development begins, not when they launch). The Amos satellites have proved profitable, as there is a global shortage of satellite communication channels.

Israeli high-tech companies compete fiercely with one another in global markets. But in space technology, they collaborate like the parts of a Swiss watch. A powerful consortium links IAI, Elbit, El-Op, Rafael, Elta, Elisra, Spacecom, Gilat and other companies in designing, building and launching military and civilian satellites and selling their services. I wish this same model could be applied to other strategic industries, like software and semiconductors.

The major problem for Israel in converting its space technology into export dollars is, ironically, the uniqueness and excellence of its satellites. Selling this know-how would cost Israel its huge military advantage in space. This dilemma – what can be sold abroad without endangering Israel’s security – exists for all of Israel’s defense companies.

I spoke with Dr. Daphne Getz, a researcher associate at The Technion’s S. Neaman Institute, author of two studies of the commercial benefits of space. Getz and her team interviewed a wide range of Israeli space experts. In her view, “the space industry has benefits other than military – prestige, collaboration with other nations (Israel works on space with the U.S., Russia and India), and it attracts youths to study science. We need a National Space Program with clear focused goals, to develop technology that finds wider use beyond space.”

The fact that space “attracts youths to study science”, in Getz’s words, is in my view crucially important and vastly underrated and brings to mind America’s moon shot. Some readers may recall U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s stirring words in his commencement address, on September 12, 1962, at Rice University: “We will go to the moon. We will go to the moon by the end of this decade.” The National Aeronautical and Space Administration was established and on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface, uttering the immortal “one small step…” words.

The cost was enormous. Many bean-counting economists think the money was wasted, citing the lack of tangible benefits. I believe they are wrong. A generation of young Americans was inspired to study science and engineering by the moon project. This alone made the moon shot worthwhile. It contrasts with the decision made by former President George W. Bush in 2006 to end the space shuttle project. When the space shuttle Discovery makes its last flight next spring, America will have to rely on Russian Soyuz rockets to put its astronauts in space for years to come. Is America that poor?

Israel too has used space to inspire youths. The visionary idea to have Technion students build a satellite was proposed in the early 1990s by Physics Prof. Giora Shaviv, in partnership with Haim Eshed, then Head of space programs for the Ministry of Defense. The student-built TechSat Gurwin II (named after the U.S. textile magnate and philanthropist Joe Gurwin) had thin-film solar cells and was launched successfully at 10:15 pm on Saturday evening, July 10, 1998. It weighed 48 kilograms (about 106 pounds) and was designed to remain operational for about a year. Instead, the little satellite sent back signals for almost 12 years, a record for university-built micro-satellites, falling silent only this April. Like America’s moon shot, TechSat fired the imagination of young Israelis.

It also inspired philanthropist Gurwin. As an immigrant to America from Lithuania with no money, Gurwin became a textile magnate. He partly funded TechSat Gurwin I. In 1995, the third stage of the Russian rocket that was supposed to put it into orbit failed and Gurwin I fell into the Sea of Okhotsk. Former Technion President Zehev Tadmor told me how he called Gurwin, with great trepidation, to give him the bad news that his donation had gone “down into the sea” instead of “up into space.” Gurwin reassured Tadmor, told him about his own resilience as a poor immigrant and funded another try. This one worked. Gurwin’s philanthropic fund lost a fortune to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. He was undaunted and continued to support Israel from his personal funds. He passed away last year.

For Israel’s space efforts, the future is bright. Later this year, according to Kaplan, Israel’s first “nanosatellite”, the Incline, will be launched by the Israel Space Agency. Weighing in at a featherweight 12 kilograms (26 pounds), the little satellite will attract much interest, as many nations face shrinking government budgets in the post-2007/9 global crisis era and need to do more with less money.

“If you compare the typical Israeli radar,” Zvi Kaplan notes, “it’s at least equivalent in performance to its European competitors, but is twenty percent of the weight. And [for satellites] weight is related to cost.”

“More with less” has been the mantra of Israel’s space program from the outset. The question may now become not whether Israel can find buyers for its defense-driven space technology but how much of it Israel is willing to sell.

Solar Energy Co. SolarEdge Raises $25m

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

As reported in IVC Weekly: The funding round was led by Lightspeed Ventures.

Photovoltaic solar energy monitoring system start-up SolarEdge completed a $25 million funding round led by Lightspeed Ventures.
Other participants included existing investors include Opus Capital, Genesis Partners, Walden Israel, ORR Partners, Vertex Venture Capital, and Singapore-based JP Asia Capital.

SolarEdge CEO Guy Sella said the company will use the funds to accelerate growth and intensify local sales and support activities in major market. According to Sella, “The funding will enable us to multiply our production capacity without compromising on quality and reliability.”

The SolarEdge PV (Photovoltaic) power harvesting solution allows production of up to 25% more energy from PV installations and, the company claims, a faster return on investment.

Lightspeed partner Yoni Cheifetz said, “Our investment in SolarEdge reflects our confidence in the company’s leading market position and growth prospects. SolarEdge has pioneered a transformation in the solar industry.”

Israel at Shanghai World Expo 2010

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Under the slogan “Innovation for Better Life”, Israel will highlight innovation at its pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai along with traditional Jewish culture. This is the first time that Israel is building a national pavilion at a World Expo. The design of its pavilion resembles two clasped hands, symbolizing Israeli innovation and technology.

The pavilion highlights innovation and ancient Jewish culture. It consists of three areas: the Whispering Garden, the Hall of Light and the Hall of Innovations. The Whispering Garden is an orchard that greets visitors as they enter the building. Inside the natural stone is the Hall of Innovations, symbolizing links with the earth and history, and the recycling of natural resources. Under the transparent glass is the Hall of Light, symbolizing technology, transparency, lightness and the future.

Green Orchard
A green orchard will come into view as visitors enter the pavilion. About 50 orange trees have been planted, and technology will make the trees “whisper” in English and Chinese when visitors walk close to them. Here, everyone is expected to be in direct touch with nature and the irrigation technology that the Israelis take pride in.

Innovation
The Hall of Light features a 15-meter screen that shows films highlighting the country’s innovations and technological achievements. As the centerpiece of the pavilion, the Hall of Innovations presents an audiovisual show which will allow visitors to hear from Israeli children, scientists, doctors and inventors via hundreds of screens. Each light sphere here represents innovation and technical breakthrough in such fields as agriculture, food, pharmacology, solar and green energy, science, music, literature, high-tech, telecommunication and security.

“Capsule”
 Highlights include a capsule containing a mini-camera that can be swallowed for internal medical checks. The camera can then be discharged naturally, giving no pain for the patient. It is displayed at the Hall of Innovations.

BIRD Energy to Invest $4.2m in 5 US-Israel Projects

Monday, August 30th, 2010

As reported in IVC: The projects’ total aggregate budget is $12.8 million.

Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD-F) unit BIRD Energy will invest $4.2 million in five new joint renewable energy projects by US and Israeli companies. The projects’ total aggregate budget is $12.8 million.

The projects are a system for energy efficiency in chip equipment, the production of biofuel from cellulose, a commercial building energy management system, a system for variable-speed wind turbines, and an improved combined thermosolar system.