9 Israeli Startups for a Better Planet and Beyond

When I received the email inviting me to join a media tour and visit a long list of startups starting at 7:30 am, and returning late at night, I thought it wasn’t a good idea to go.

Plus, it was scheduled for the day after the OurCrowd Global Investors Summit. mentioned in last week’s post. The final summit stats were impressive with 9,000 registrations, 1,700 investors, 950 entrepreneurs, 631 venture capital, and 305 press. It was huge, and also a long day.

However, I am so happy I took advantage of the Jerusalem Press Club Tour.

Our first stop was in Beit Shemesh to visit the Bioplasmer Demonstration Farm and greenhouse.

Bioplasmar has developed a method for producing biodegradable planting pots and planting trays using compost instead of plastic, so the plants can be planted directly into the ground with no plastic waste.  

Here we were shown that the root system benefits from not being damaged by having to be replanted in the ground.

Helios’ goals are to launch into space. With no oxygen on the moon, they are exploring more efficient ways to get to and live on the moon and beyond.

Touring Helios we saw labs developing a new way of producing iron and steel that uses less energy. It does not burn coal, as an inherent part of the process, therefore, vastly reducing CO2 emissions. 

The next stop, was Moshav Mazor, to visit GroundworkBio.

This company innovatively produces highly effective mycorrhizal inoculants. The field of research is important since the restoration of the soil’s mycorrhizal balance is crucial to plants’ ability to absorb the precious nutrients that farmers work so hard to provide for plant growth.

Dan Grotsky welcomed us and gave a presentation, but we could not see the farm’s top-secret processes.

However, we received samples and were served a very nice lunch.

Full disclosure: my daughter worked at GroundworkBio for five years. I met Dan at a meetup in Jerusalem years ago and knew of their growth in overseas markets. But having never gotten to the Moshav, seeing it was the impetus to join the tour.

And then after lunch, we were off to Holon.

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Criaterra has developed a replacement for concrete as a building material in wall tiles and building blocks using a low-temperature process combining sand, clay, and organic binders.

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Produced now in the Holon factory, Criaterra doesn’t involve the high heat used in producing cement that emits carbon. 

We were able to watch the process of the tiles being made.

I remembered Chairperson Daphna Wiener who spoke to our group. She had been in Jerusalem as a mentor to startups.

And then we were back on the bus and off to Tel Aviv!

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Ok, air conditioners are a necessity in Tel Aviv, but this is a wall of the building that houses the state-of-the-art innovation and technology we were to see.

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It proves the adage of not being able to tell a book by its cover. Add to that old saying – an Israeli tech center, as this is the center of this building complex.

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GreenOnyx founder and CEO Tspi Shoham showed us a compact indoor farm for growing a fresh green vegetable called Khai Nam (Scientific name: Wolffia arrhiza), a healthy green vegetable grown in an efficient method using little space and water. I thought they look like green mini-couscous.

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A buffet table with various samples of ways to serve the greens looked lovely, but the name ‘duckweeds’ still needs improvement.

Then four new Israeli startups were invited to present to us in the GreenOnyx conference room.

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QD SOL Quantum Hydrogen for a Greener World. QD–SOL operates at the cutting edge of green hydrogen technology.

CSO Prof. Lilac Amirav explained her impressive energy panels and her record-breaking nanoparticle photocatalysts.

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Luminescent Heat Engine CEO Doron Tamir spoke of the efficient heat engine technology that can be used for waste heat and for modular concentrated solar power. The origins are from the Technion– Israel Institute of Technology and sorry, no way can I explain it simply here.

Autonomous Pivot uses a ground-penetrating radar device mounted on a center pivot irrigation sprinkler to measure groundwater, as explained by Yuval Aviel who was formerly a senior technical leader at Mobileye.

It’s AI technology, optimizing water use, saving 30% of the water, besides fertilizing and alerting for pest control.

And one more, not only an out-of-the-box idea but far out of Israel!

Rewind is a company that envisions reducing Carbon in the air by sinking organic waste in the sea. Plants capture CO2 – in the Black Sea!

Rewind collects plants and stores them on the bottom of the Black Sea. The Black Sea is unique because it is anoxic and toxic below 200m, making it a long-term storage site for organic carbon. Since countries around the Black Sea are extremely fertile, Rewind plans to scale and remove 1% of global emissions per year by 2030.

This view of Tel Aviv at sunset was disappointing. We were too far from the sea to get a great photograph of the clouds covering the sky as the sun set over the water.

But the GreenOnyx “farm” in the building was truly impressive!

Could it be possible one day, the green fields along the Israeli highways would become obsolete as a slide rule or a manual typewriter?

Thank you to the tour’s sponsor, the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund, for this amazing opportunity to meet with international journalists. Coming the day after thousands of people in Jerusalem and seeing what was happening at OurCrowd, it was wonderful for international journalists to get a firsthand glimpse into Israeli innovation and tech of the future.

The Jerusalem Press Club and OurCrowd were involved in planning this impressive tour which was organized and kept to schedule by Dr. Gideon Stein, Impact investor and Entrepreneur, and former Chief  Research Scientist at Mobileye. Also on the tour was his wife and professional tour guide Marla Stein who added valuable insights along the way.

In his address to open the OurCrowd Global Investors Summit, Israeli President Isaac Herzog stated climate change was a top priority.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into Climate Change Technology, Innovations & Solutions tour, which highlighted how Israeli technology will benefit the climate in the years ahead, but also the planet in many ways as well.

When are you coming to see what is really happening?

Jerusalem Conferences and Festivals Returning

In Jerusalem, Israel, where to begin RJS this week is a problem.

Today is September 11th.

September 11 memorial flame off main road to Jerusalem

The day we remember 9/11 – September 2001 when terrorists hijacked jetliners, and crashed into the financial World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, the heart of the US military, murdering thousands of innocents.

Jerusalem memorial to victims of September 11 flowers placed on names of murdered.

On September 11, 2018 – we had a different US Ambassador in Israel, but the Israeli 9/11 Memorial off the main road to Jerusalem, with all the names of the victims of terror, is there 24/7.

Jerusalem is changing. Buildings are to come down and go up higher.

The traffic back-ups. Near the entrance of Jerusalem, the road changes and heavy equipment, always something new to confuse drivers.

But this week outside, and inside the Jerusalem International Convention Center, one could find earth-moving equipment.

AGROMASHOV, Israel’s Largest Agricultural Conference, and CLEANTECH, two international conferences & exhibitions were held in Jerusalem, Israel, on September 5-6, 2022.

Israeli agriculture displays included watermelon of course!

Solar technology was also on display in the large hall.

One area featured the use of sabra cactus as food. The Ambassadors and Embassy representatives heard about various ways to use the fruit on their guided tour of the exhibits.

Angola was not the only African country in Jerusalem for the exhibition. I met a man who came from Nigeria that day who flew in specially for the conference.

I did not hear who won the cherry tomato competition.

But can tell you that 10% alcohol sabra cream was way too strong for me.

With the end of summer, school is back in session, a new bicycle tunnel opened, and Jerusalem festivals have returned to fill the days, nights, and streets.

For the first time, the Hansen House hosted a contemporary dance festival with solo works by choreographers from Israel and overseas. The new Jerusalem International Dance Festival included master classes and discussion panels.

The Takhana Rishona, First Station, is busy with food and entertainment.

At First Station, one can always find something new. I have no idea what this young woman was recording one night near the carousel.

At Teddy Park, the moon was full over the Old City walls and the fountain was on, but people were only passing by, headed to the Sultan’s Pool.

Thousands of concertgoers were headed to their seats at the Sultan’s Pool for the Shlomo Artzi concert.

The mega concerts and Jerusalem festivals have returned to the Jerusalem streets, and after two years, people are happy to be out again.

The Manofim Jerusalem Contemporary Art Festival joins the September Israel Festival in Jerusalem with unusual cultural options.

The postponed Woodstock Fest at Silo, near First Station, off the large parking lot, is set for September 15, 2022.

Plus, Emunah Jerusalem’s first Ethiopian Israeli Cultural Festival Featuring traditional Cuisine; Art; Theater; Drum Workshop and circle; Basket Weaving; Dance; Film, and more, is also at the Silo Cafe, on September 29th, from 4:30 – 8:30 pm.

A Green Inside and Out Festival will be held on the grounds of the Bloomfield Science Museum from September 14-16.

It’s hard to know what to do first!

End of summer clouds covered the Jerusalem streets this week,

and the setting sun setting added impressive colors to the Jerusalem streets, a reminder that the holidays are approaching.

Rosh Hashana, the New Year Selihot crowds have started to gather at the Kotel, Western Wall after midnight. Culminating, October 3, 2022, before Yom Kippur with what should be a huge attendance.

Hope to see you here soon.