HelioFocus opened the demonstration phase of its HelioBooster system, a solar-thermal process that aims to back up existing power plants. The system is jointly funded by Chinese and Israeli entrepreneurs.
As reported in the Jerusalem Post, HelioFocus recently signed an agreement with Sanhua to begin construction in 2013 on a 10-megawatt solar facility in Inner Mongolia, for the Chinese energy company TaiQing. The facility, which will eventually expand to 60 megawatts, will back up a 600-megawatt coalfired power plant.
Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech, which played an important role in the connection between the parties, reflects on the impressive progress in the cooperation: “We’re pleased to see this significant solar thermal energy cooperation between Israeli and Chinese companies. The new solar field is about to be built in China, and this is just the beginning,” says Distel.
The original Sanhua investment in HelioFocus in January 2010 was $9.25. In an interview with “Globes”, Sanhua chairman Zhang Daocai and his son, VP innovative technologies Zhang Yabo, explained the origin of the Heliofocus investment, “”Although Israel has only limited natural resources, it has exceptional achievements to its name, thanks to its technological capabilities and extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit. At the same time, China is very strong in manufacturing, but wants to convert from traditional manufactures to high-tech activity. We therefore thought is right to link up with the capabilities of Israeli high tech,” Zhang Yabo is quoted as saying.
Eli Mandelberg, executive vice president of HelioFocus, explained to the Jerusalem Post the advantages of their system: While other solarthermal systems exist similar in concept to this one, with panels feeding heat to a receiver above, the unique aspect of the HelioFocus system is its ability to heat the air to extremely high temperatures – much higher than in other systems. Also, the space required for one unit is quite small – about 500 square meters – in comparison to other solarthermal systems.
Chinese ambassador Gao Yanping was quoted in the Jerusalem Post article as saying:“There are great opportunities for Chinese and Israeli entrepreneurs. Israel is world famous for its hi-tech innovation, in particularly in terms of great technology. And China is very famous for our big market, as well as very qualified human resources. That means our economy is very much complementary [to Israel’s].”
“All this history gives us a very solid foundation for our friendship and cooperation,” she said. “Cooperation like this will certainly bring a win-win situation for our two countries, in which China will benefit with solar power energy while Israel will benefit with market potential in China.”