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In booths of recycled waste, Israel’s fast-growing climate tech sector holds confab

24 9 1

The line to access Israel’s first-ever climate tech conference held in Tel Aviv was long, with people greeting each other, hugging, and chatting in a range of languages that included German and Portuguese along with Hebrew.

“The fact that many people are dressed in jeans and T-shirts means they’re all from the tech industry and they mean business,” noted one attendee at the Wednesday gathering.

As the line inched forward into the exhibition grounds at the Rabin Center, one young man wearing the semi-obligatory uniform of his ilk said, “I’m exhibiting,” and was fast-tracked into the conference space, quipping, “This is like the line at the airport.”

As with travel, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t allowed many such gatherings. But the event was also Israel’s very first conference on global climate technology, a growing sector where Israeli technologies are hoping to tackle some of the biggest challenges faced by humanity.

Tomorrow.io, for example, develops weather intelligence software. SeeTree built a tree intelligence network to boost production. Asterra displayed its satellite-based system that can locate and analyze water leaks from underground pipes, and Terra Space Lab (TSL) presented its space-based early detection and monitoring system for environmental events such as wildfires.

The displaying startups were housed in temporary building structures made of materials developed by UBQ, a startup that converts unsorted household waste into a recycled thermoplastic for use in products. The multilayered PVC panels made with UBQ products replaced the oil-based plastics used for conference infrastructure, which have a higher carbon footprint.

“All of these structures were made by us,” said Tato Bigio, the co-CEO and co-founder of the startup, as he proudly pointed to the square structures housed under a tent-like pavilion. “The cleantech sector is gaining ground in Israel, and there is an impressive number of startups on display here today.”

When he founded UBQ, in 2012, he said, there weren’t many other climate tech companies in Israel.

At the fair, foodtech startup Solato offered attendees fresh ice cream made on the spot as they waited. This reporter tasted a delicious nocciola (hazelnut) flavor, produced via capsules like those used by home espresso machines, although bigger in size. The capsules, which contain water, fruit concentrate or nuts, fibers and sugar are inserted into the ice-cream making machine — roughly........

© The Times of Israel

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