Abigail Klein Leichman
February 4, Updated February 5

Three Israeli research projects received the $1 million 2023 Breakthrough Climate Solutions Prize (CSP) on January 25.

The prize, an initiative of Jewish National Fund of Canada with matching funds from Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael (KKL-JNF) and in partnership with Startup Nation Central, is said to be the largest incentive prize in Israeli history.

The award is meant to encourage “exceptional nonprofit researchers or organizations in Israel” to devise climate solutions that could minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

Prof. Shanny Barath and Prof. Yechezkel Kashin from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa won for their CyanoCementation project utilizing cyanobacteria to enhance the durability of building materials that absorb greenhouse gases rather than release them.

Prof. Brian Rosen from Tel Aviv University won for his green ammonia emission-free energy alternative that can become a significant clean fuel source for generating electricity with a multitude of applications.

Prof. Menny Shalom from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev won for his rechargeable zinc air batteries with remarkably high energy efficiency and durability for the post lithium-ion era.

KKL-JNF Chief Scientist Doron Markel led the selection process carried out by academic experts in relevant fields.

“The winners of the Breakthrough Climate Solutions Research Prize,” explained Markel, “have the potential to significantly impact the reduction of carbon concentration in the atmosphere either by enhancing the shift to renewable energies – hence reducing greenhouse gas emissions – or by carbon fixation through natural or artificial process.”

Galith Levy, Chief Climate Solutions Prize Officer at the Jewish National Fund of Canada, said she hopes that the Breakthrough Climate Solutions Prize “will help galvanize and solidify Israel’s global leadership while working to alleviate the significant impacts of climate change which directly disrupt lives and the national security interests of countries.”

According to Startup Nation Central, there are more than 850 climate technology startups in Israel.

Jeff Hart, Executive Chair of the Climate Solutions Prize said, “Over the past few months, we received tens of submissions from Israel’s top research institutions that vied to be recognized by the Breakthrough Climate Solutions Prize presented by JNF Canada in collaboration with our partners KKL-JNF and Startup Nation Central. Once again, we have been inspired by the vision and ingenuity of the Israeli scientific community and the remarkable innovations in various climate-tech fields and we congratulate our three winners for their exceptional vision.”

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