Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chief Scientist instructed to give cleantech priority

CleantechMinister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer has instructed the Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper and Investment Promotion Center director Hezi Zaieg to give priority to cleantech.
Ben-Eliezer was prompted by the severe water crisis, and the realization that Israel must join developed countries to develop clean energy sources to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Ben-Eliezer's instructions will mainly affect funding applications submitted to the Chief Scientist for cleantech projects, such as renewable energy, carbon storage, energy saving, and water solutions. The Investment Center will also review applications for recycling projects.
Until now, the Ministry of Industry has given priority to nanotechnology and biomedical projects. The new priority for cleantech is not supposed to come at the expense of these two fields, but in addition to them.
The main significance of the decision is that cleantech projects worthy of support will be eligible for the maximum grants. Chief Scientist grants cover 20-50% of a project's cost, and Investment Center grants cover up to 24% of a project's cost.
Israel has already demonstrated itself to be an up-and-coming cleantech developer. The United Nations recently recognized the Jewish state as the world leader in water recycling.
A May 2009 Businessweek article entitled "Israel's Clean Technology Pioneers" emphasized various cleantech businesses which have caught the eye of U.S. venture capitalists, including a geothermal energy plant, solar technology works, and a desert fish farm using recycled spa water, which then channels the used water to an olive grove.
Source: GLOBES[online]

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