Some 20,000 people head to Tel Aviv to see ideas in green energy advances coming out of Israel.
History has taught Israel that it cannot rely on its neighbors and negotiated contracts to meet its energy needs. Clean technology development from within has become a national priority. Already Israeli entrepreneurs are scrambling to develop energy collecting and efficient technologies from wind, water and the sun, while the country prepares to get its cleaner burning natural gas online.
At the 15th annual CleanTech Exhibition held in Tel Aviv on July 5 and 6, Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan addressed these issues, acknowledging Israel’s enormous interest in developing its own clean technology solutions. Erdan addressed an audience that included delegations from neighboring Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Canada, as well as a number of African (Ghana, Nigeria) and East European nations.
Aside from alternative energy, water was also high on the conference agenda. “The foreign delegations, which included about 200 people, were very interested in Israel’s water technologies,” admits Anat Cherpak, who was handling public relations for the event.
CleanTech attendees numbered 20,000
Regional water system?
In total, some 20,000 people are estimated to have attended the two-day event, where visitors had access to a number of panels on energy and water - including the International Water Symposium. The panel also included water experts from Israel and Jordan who aimed to find ways to cooperate on the dire water situation in the Middle East, which is now reaching serious proportions.
Focusing mainly on innovations from Israel, the expo highlighted solar innovations such as a green building material that collects energy from the walls of a building, developed by SolarOr. Cherpak says these solar panels “are blocks that you can build with that save a lot of energy and electricity. You don’t need to use so much air conditioning.”
Take back your bathwater
Also displayed were “all kinds of developments with gray water,” she says, referring to domestic wastewater that can be recycled for other uses after light treatment. “This is a big issue all over the world - solutions that allow us to use the water from air conditioning and from washing machines.”
One example of this, she adds, is Green Solutions, an Israeli company that provides a small, cost-effective gray-water processing plant for the homeowner and one of the hundreds of companies showcasing their technologies at the event. This Evergreen system was invented by Gil Ben-Meir, who after returning from the United States where he lived for 13 years, decided to tackle the Israeli water crisis head on.
For about $4,000, Ben-Meir can custom-tailor a gray-water collection system for an average size home. Evergreen takes used water from the shower, bath, washing machine and bathroom sink and converts it to clean, useable water for flushing the toilet and watering the garden. It has the potential to save a home up to 50 percent of its water costs, processing around 150 gallons of water per day. The system takes about five years to pay for itself.
Natural gas was very much an issue on the display floor, with a focus on “green” natural gas extraction and processing technologies developed by Israel for its new natural gas market and for export abroad.
Invested in by the US company Noble Energy, Israel’s high-quality natural gas reserves could be as much as 88 billion cubic meters. Cherpak notes: “The Minister of Environment talked about the natural gas line and the situation we are in, that we need to be more independent and we need to make everything on our own instead of buying from outside. This means making more electricity by solar panels.”
With investor eyes on Israeli clean-tech developments, expect more green developments at the 16th annual CleanTech confab in the summer of 2012.