Dozens of senior representatives of the international biofuel industry are set to converge next week in Israel for the first international biological fuels conference, the Agro-Energy Nexus Summit, which will take place in Herzlyia on October 20-22.
The conference, a joint initiative by Israel NewTech, the Israeli Export Institute and “The Fuel Choices Initiative” of the Prime Minister’s Office, will deal in the variety of subjects relevant to the industry, including genetic enhancement of crops, algae, fuel production from plants, government support and more.
The global biological fuels market reached $85 Billion in 2011 and is forecasted to reach $185 Billion by 2020, with the rise in the cost of gas and as a result of technological innovations which will expand the ways to create fuel from biological sources such as castor, algae and more.
Israeli companies – which bring vast experience in agro-technologies, water efficiency, development of new species of plants, enhancement of existing species and more – hold an advantage in this growing market, and are already leading the market in certain areas.
The past year alone saw a number of significant international investments in Israeli companies active in biofuel: algae growth company AlgaTechnologies was acquired by British VC GrovePoint Capital for $50M, Rosetta Green, which deals in genetic engineering for seeds, was sold for $35M to U.S. giant Monsanto (which had already acquired Israel’s Evogene also active in this sphere), Israel-Canadian-Dutch venture capital firm GreenSoil announced the launch of a second fund for investment in agriculture, and the World Bank, together with additional investment bodies, has invested about $65M in Israeli company Kaiima.
Speaking at the Summit will be senior members of leading international organizations including: Anup Jagwani, Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, Partho Sanyal, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and senior managers from Boeing, Bloomberg, Rabobank and others.
“With the rise in the price of gas, the arena of biological fuels is quickly growing and we see a real opportunity for Israel’s agro-technology industry,” said Oded Distel, head of the Investment Promotion Center and of Israel NewTech, the national program for the advancement of Israel’s water and alternative energy industries.
Ophir Gore, who heads the alternative energy department at Israel NewTech added, “Within the framework of the national program dedicated to positioning Israel at the forefront of the international effort to develop fuel alternatives, we place emphasis on advancing the biological fuels arena, and we predict that Israeli companies will certainly be able to gain a significant market share in this major international market.”