Abigail Klein Leichman
September 27, 2023, Updated September 28, 2023

Zohar Cleantech, an Israeli startup whose compact modular waste-collection system produces energy from the trash at the customer’s site and turns the remainder into a construction material, won the Arena Challenge competition held September 12 at the Arena Mall in Herzliya. The mall will host the first pilot of the company’s ZoharX system.

The startup competition was part of an international summit and urban climate-technology exhibition led by Reality Group in collaboration with Herzliya’s Center of Innovation HiCity and other private, public and academic partners.

This was the first initiative in the municipality’s Herzliya 2030 program, which identifies climate challenges and offers beta testing sites for any business or academic institution to examine how climate issues are handled in the urban space.

In addition to Israeli municipal leaders, the event was attended by investors, tech companies, business leaders and delegations from Denmark, Austria, Japan and Germany seeking innovations in climate tech.

“Change should start from bottom up, with cooperation between municipalities and entities in the private sector,” said Avishay Kimeldorf, partner and chief of project management at Reality Group and former city engineer and architect for the city of Hadera.

“We hope that the success of the pilot with Zohar Technologies will allow us to implement this technology, as well as other innovative technologies, in the properties of Reality Group in other cities across the country.”

A waste-collection system that produces energy from trash
Zohar Cleantech’s smart waste system, ZoharX. Photo courtesy of Zohar Cleantech

Other Arena Challenge partners included NetZero Technology Ventures, the School of Sustainability at Reichman University, the Brooks Keret financial consulting firm, SolarEdge, Phoenix insurance company, Mizrahi-Tefahot bank, Startup Nation Central, the Israel Innovation Authority, and the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya.

Some of the other startups presenting their climate tech solutions included:

Bing Klima – a hybrid sustainable system that combines solar energy and hydroponic crops, providing food and energy security.

BioShade –a natural, green shading system for preventing “urban heat islands” and reducing local temperatures by about 10°C as well as conserving approximately 80% of water used in irrigation.

CET Enviro — specializing in advanced treatments for cooling towers and condensers in air-conditioning systems that do not rely on chemicals and save energy and water.

Eco City Green – maker of Ecodrum, a system that converts organic waste into valuable resources.

enSights — a SaaS-based operating system designed for the renewable energy sector, centralizing all field operations into a single user-friendly platform.

Exelerate – software that manages and optimizes traffic light networks to achieve a significant reduction in traffic congestion and its related aspects, such as CO2 emissions.

Freezem — novel technologies to enable stocks of ready-to-use suspended insect neonates and frozen eggs as a promising source for sustainable, alternative protein for the animal feed industry.

Flower Turbines – aesthetically designed low-noise, high-efficiency wind turbines for urban and off-the-grid applications.

Smartcon (Aluminum Construction Group) — innovative architectural photovoltaic panels that not only generate solar energy from building facades but also reduce a building’s overall energy consumption by limiting sun exposure.

Smartflow — a smart valve to manage rainwater and drainage in urban areas during extreme rainfall events, allowing for controlled rainwater release from rooftops.

SoliDrip — autonomous drippers that adjust the water supply to each plant based on weather, soil moisture, evaporation rates, and the individual water consumption of each plant.

Solight – a highly efficient static natural lighting system channeling sunlight into buildings using reflective tubes.

Solutum – a plastic alternative that dissolves safely in water.

TOMGROW — a gel solution giving plants everything that nature provides, but without utilizing soil or fertilizers, and with minimal irrigation.

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