In study after study, the Start-Up Nation ranks among the most innovative countries in the world. Israel is also by far the most resourceful country when it comes to wastewater management, recycling 87 percent of its wastewater – far outstripping second-place Spain, which recycles 20 percent.
At first glance, these two facts may appear unrelated – but in Israel, innovation and resourcefulness have always gone hand-in-hand. And there’s no better case study than the country’s vibrant sustainable technologies sector.
The most recent Global Cleantech Innovation Index ranks Israel sixth in the world, attesting to the reach and impact of the country’s game-changing solutions in fields like agriculture, climate change mitigation, energy, and more. With more than 600 companies in the cleantech sector, Israel is well-positioned for continued leadership in the global effort to harness ingenuity and innovation for a more sustainable future.
Here’s a look at a few companies making that possible:
- Twist Bioscience’s DNA Synthesis Platform is based on silicon, offering a method for synthesizing DNA that’s far more efficient and scalable than the traditional plastic plate method. The platform makes it possible to produce low-cost, sustainable chemicals that aren’t derived from petroleum, while also enabling smarter agriculture production, personalized medicine development, pharmaceutical production, and more. Based in San Francisco, Twist Bioscience acquired the Israel-based Genome Complier Corporation in 2016, tapping into the country’s world-renowned R&D prowess. The company’s Israel R&D Center is located in Tel Aviv.
- Criaterra Earth Technologies builds eco-friendly construction materials using 100 percent natural and recyclable materials. Compared to ceramics, the company’s materials consume 90 percent less energy, while Criaterra’s products emit 92 percent fewer greenhouse gases than cement.
- Grid4C’s AI and machine learning solutions analyze data generated millions of smart meters, in addition to customer data and weather data to predict each meter’s behavior and optimize the operation of decentralized grids – helping enterprise and individual consumers to more effectively manage their electricity supply while saving precious money. Customers include Engie, China Light and Power, Exelon, and many more.
While these and other companies have helped put Israel’s sustainable technologies sector on the map, the local ecosystem isn’t resting on its laurels. Through private funding and public initiatives, Israel has shown a robust commitment to growing the sector and expanding its global footprint.
A key player in that effort is Israel Cleantech Ventures, a venture capital firm launched in 2006. ICV manages more than $200 million in three funds, with more than 25 investments completed. In 2018, the European Investment Fund announced a $20 million investment in an ICV-established fund focused on supporting technologies that increase resource efficiency and enable industrial innovation.
Meanwhile, the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and the Ministry of Economy and Industry have joined forces to launch a new, NIS 14 million sustainable tech innovation lab to accelerate promising startups in the space.
From climate change to resource management to food production, the set of sustainability-related challenges facing the globe is formidable – but Israeli high-tech is rising to the occasion.