I recently got back from the European Energy Venture Fair which took place in Zurich September 13-14. This very prestigious conference brought together European (mostly) and American Cleantech investment professionals exclusively (corporate VCs, angels etc.) for two days of discussions and presentations.
The buzz aroundIsrael’s Cleantech industry at this event was extraordinary. It began with the keynote speaker – Saul Singer, author of “Start-up Nation” who talked about the natural advantages ofIsraelas a hotbed for Cleantech innovation. There was an international panel discussion, in which I participated, which discussed the cooperation between government programs and private sectors in Cleantech. The example of Israel NewTech was sighted as a pioneering approach (the Russian rep Ekaterina Dyachenko of the Skolkovo Foundation talked about Israel NewTech serving as a model for their work).
Paul O’Callaghan of 02 Environmental highlighted Emefcy, an Israeli company working on wastewater to electricity conversion. He also talked about a future in which desalination plants would use advanced technologies and less energy, as do the most advanced plants in the world – in Ashkelon andHadera,Israel.
A few discussions of interesting new trends emerged at the conference: one is “energy harvesting”, which envisions a future in which smart homes and smart grids would use massive data in order to better manage the system, requiring a lot of energy in order to collect the data and transmit it to a process center. This energy would be collected from different sources including body heat and human movement (imagine that the energy your body creates from moving from your chair over to the TV fuels an air-condition sensor! ).
Another important point that was raised at the conference had to do with the water sector – the point being is that agriculture doesn’t get enough attention in the water industry. Considering that 70% of the world’s clean water goes to agriculture, more attention should be invested in tech solutions to improve water efficiency in this field. Phil Giesler, Managing Director of Unilever Technology Ventures, presented this case, with an emphasis on the need for simple solutions for water use in agriculture for developing countries.
Altogether a fascinating conference, and a dramatic show of faith inIsrael’s Cleantech sector from the international Cleantech investment community!