Photo Credit: Noam95 via Wikimedia
Solar system in Bodedim farm, Israel

The Israeli government energy-related ministries and the US Department of Energy deepen their cooperation in research and development by tripling their budget threefold, according to a press release of the Ministry of Energy.

The two governments will jointly invest an additional $8 million in energy research and development, in addition to the $4 million already invested through the BIRD Foundation Energy Fund since 2009.

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The Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation was established in 1977 by the US and Israel to promote mutually beneficial industrial research and development (R&D). Each BIRD project involves a partnership between a US and an Israeli company with up to 50% of the funding being supplied by BIRD and at least 50 percent by the partnership. The source of the funding is an endowment which was provided equally by the two governments. The endowment is $110 million. In addition, since 2009 BIRD receives annual funding from both governments for the BIRD Energy program. Since its inception, BIRD has approved more than 900 projects, and provided more than $300M in grants. Successful BIRD projects have yielded an estimated $10 billion in sales.

With the US Senate budget approval, the governments through the relative ministries will publish a call for proposals for the establishment of a joint research and development center in the field of energy, which will include partners from both the business-technological side and the academic side in both countries.

This is a significant strengthening of the energy cooperation between the countries that began in 2009, mainly in light of recent changes in priorities in the US budget. The joint investment is a continuation of the implementation agreement signed by Energy Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz and former US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, in 2016. As part of this agreement, the fields of cooperation between the two countries have been expanded in the energy sector, including: fuels and substitutes, Smart grid and electricity grid in general, desalination and water treatment and physical and cyber protection of energy and water infrastructure facilities.

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