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BIRD
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Newsletter
September 2023
 
Message from the Executive Director
I am delighted and humbled to extend my greetings to all of you in this, my first BIRD newsletter as Executive Director. 
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These past six months since I joined the BIRD Foundation have been filled with excitement, intrigue, and eye-opening experiences. During this time, I’ve had the privilege of gaining insight into BIRD from various perspectives: from the companies and institutions we collaborate with, to the stakeholders in the governments of the U.S. and Israel, and the exceptional, dedicated BIRD team. 
Click here for the whole article.

Jaron Lotan
Executive Directo
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Nine New Projects Approved in June 2023
On June 28, 2023, BIRD’s Board of Governors approved $8 million for the funding of nine new projects in BIRD’s first bi-annual general funding cycle of 2023. Among them were projects with innovation in the areas of Agrotech, Biotech, Electronics, Foodtech, Medical Devices, and Quantum Technology. See Press Release for names of companies and titles of projects approved. 
 
Four Projects Approved in New BIRD Cyber Program to Enhance Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure: Airports, Maritime Ports and Industrial Control Systems
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On August 16, 2023, four projects were selected and $3.85M was approved in the first cycle of the BIRD Cyber Program. BIRD Cyber’s Board of Governors includes the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), and the Board of Governors of the BIRD Foundation. The program was established to enhance the cyber resilience of vulnerable critical infrastructure in both the United States and Israel. See Press Release for names of companies and titles of projects selected for funding
 
BIRD welcomes Anat Bujanover and Nina Hakimi to the BIRD Team
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In April of this year, BIRD welcomed Anat Bujanover as the new Director of Business Development to the West Coast. Anat brings a wealth of experience in business development with a focus on technology companies in the water and agricultural industries. She has held senior positions with several agricultural technology companies and has also supported the Israel Economic Mission to the West Coast to strengthen business and trade relations. Anat holds an M.A. in International Relations from San Francisco State University and an M.Sc. in Plant Sciences, Genetics, and Breeding from the Hebrew University in Israel.
With her extensive experience, knowledge, passion and the relationships she has built in the San Francisco Bay Area, Anat will surely be a great asset to the BIRD team.
 
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In September of this year, BIRD welcomed Nina Hakimi, as the new Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant to the Executive Director. Nina comes to BIRD with over 15 years of experience at corporations supporting high-level executives including Netafim, HSBC, JP Morgan and Stifel.

 
Spotlight on BIRD Projects
BIRD Energy Grantee, Ecoplant, Acquired by Ingersoll Rand for $50M
In a significant milestone, BIRD Energy grantee, Ecoplant has been acquired by Ingersoll Rand, a leading global manufacturer specializing in industrial technologies and climate control solutions, in a deal valued at $50 million.

Ecoplant, an Israeli startup based in Kibbutz Gevim in southern Israel, developed innovative technology utilizing IoT and predictive analytics to optimize air compressor systems in factories. This approach not only enhances energy efficiency but also makes substantial strides in reducing air pollution.

In their BIRD Energy collaboration, Ecoplant partnered with Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc. of Louisville, KY to develop and deploy their intelligent air compressor control and monitoring platform within the food and beverages industry.

Their binational collaboration resulted in the development of the novel SafeAir System. This system effectively oversees compressed air quality, automatically detecting and mitigating harmful contaminants, thereby ensuring the highest standard of manufactured products.

 
Corumat and TripleW Complete R&D of World’s First Food Waste-Derived Compostable Packaging, Funded by the BIRD Foundation
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Corumat and TripleW have successfully pioneered the development of the world’s first bioplastic packaging made from mixed food waste, with a project budget of $1M funded by the BIRD Foundation. 
 
The companies validated various food waste feedstocks for polymer-grade lactic acid production. TripleW produced pilot-scale lactic acid and PLA, and provided samples to Corumat for further processing. Corumat then produced carbon-negative, food waste-derived sample products that matched the performance of conventional plastic products. Corumat’s pilot-scale production of plates blended from conventional and waste-derived PLA received positive feedback from clients for its quality.
 
Corumat, Inc. is a materials science company driven by amission to eliminate plastic waste and reduce climate change. The company’s patented materials processing technologies enable it to produce compostable, insulating, strong, and greaseproof packaging, at much lower costs than competitive compostable packaging and are cost-competitive with conventional packaging. Corumat’s technology expands extruded polylactic acid (PLA bioplastic) that is then thermoformed into various food service packaging, such as containers and plates. Corumat has a manufacturing facility in Yakima, WA. 
 
TripleW is at the forefront of addressing both environmental and financial waste management challenges. TripleW transforms existing waste management infrastructure, providing new revenue streams and profits for waste management stakeholders, while producing useful bioproducts. TripleW’s lactic acid and PLA bioplastic is made from 100% food waste and provides a low cost, versatile alternative to fossil-based materials. TripleW’s technology also makes it possible to utilize post-consumer compostable bioplastic waste as feedstock for production of more lactic acid, further closing the loop.
 
 U.S.- Israel Energy Center – Cyber Consortium Event
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From the U.S. to Kiryat Gat!
 
A delegation of U.S. federal cyber policymakers and experts attending the CyberTech conference in Tel Aviv made a special visit to Kiryat Gat in Israel. They were there to learn about the U.S.-Israel Energy Center’s Cyber Consortium, a unique collaboration between U.S. and Israeli cyber experts focused on safeguarding energy facilities from cyber threats.
The Cyber Consortium – is one of four consortia jointly initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Israel Ministry of Energy, and the Israel Innovation Authority and is managed by the BIRD Foundation.  

The delegation, comprising representatives from various U.S. government offices, was hosted by Meptagon, an Israeli consortium member. The Cyber Consortium, known as the “Israel-U.S. Initiative on Cybersecurity Research and Development for Energy” (ICRDE),  is led by Prof. Yang Weng from Arizona State University and Prof. Rami Puzis from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. During their visit, the delegation had the opportunity to see the ICRDE IT/OT Security Demonstrator, developed by Meptagon in collaboration with fellow Israeli consortium members SIGA, Otorio, and RAD Data Communications. This demonstrator showcases security products and gathers data for advanced AI technology testing, aiming to provide comprehensive IT/OT security solutions for the energy industry.

For more information about ICRDE, visit: https://us-isr-energycenter.org/energy_cyber/

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Reception held at Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. to celebrate June Project Approvals
 

On June 28, the BIRD Foundation celebrated its June Board of Governors meeting and project approvals with a reception co-hosted with the Israel Economic & Trade Mission at the Embassy of Israel to the United States in Washington, D.C.  The event began with opening remarks by Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog, who reaffirmed the importance of cross-border R&D collaboration.
 
BIRD Executive Director, Jaron Lotan and U.S. Co-Chair Mojdeh Bahar, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at NIST, offered welcoming remarks and shared valuable insights into the Foundation’s mission and accomplishments. This was Jaron Lotan’s first reception as Executive Director and he expressed his enthusiasm and commitment to continuing the great tradition of U.S. Israel collaboration in technology and R&D.
 
Featured keynote speakers included Dr. Laurie Locascio, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Undersecretary of Commerce and Prof. Paul Albertus, Associate Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, Assistant Prof. at the University of Maryland, and U.S. Leader of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center’s Storage Consortium (UISEC).
 
Special thanks to the team at the Israel Embassy’s Economic & Trade Mission for hosting this reception, specifically Eliav Benjamin, Deputy Chief of Mission; Natalie Gutman-Chen, Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs, and Ruti Koren, Minister-Counselor for Congressional Affairs.
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