Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology Fund (CIEST Fund)
In December 2012, NRCan selected CIIRDF to deliver and manage the new Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology (CIEST) Fund. The CIEST Fund aimed to facilitate the bilateral development and commercialization of innovative energy technologies and processes. With a strong focus on key challenges in the unconventional oil and gas sector, the CIEST Fund was designed to support industry-led R&D partnerships between Canada and Israel. These collaborations aimed to spur the development of innovative energy technologies and processes that enable the responsible development of unconventional oil and gas resources, including applications to address environmental challenges. The Fund specifically promoted innovation that would reduce environmental impact associated with energy exploration, extraction, processing and production. It also encouraged initiatives on other critical energy sources, such as renewable energy, of interest to both countries. The emerging bilateral partnerships are expected to yield ground-breaking new technologies that enable Canadian and Israeli innovators to capitalize on the evolving global unconventional oil and gas market.
The Government of Canada committed up to $5 million to the CIEST Fund over four years (2013 to 2016), with matching funds to be allocated by the Israel Innovation Authority on a project-by-project basis. Leveraging investment from both countries, the fund was expected to generate up to $20-40 million in collaborative R&D.
Opportunities and Objectives
The CIEST Fund was established to help Canada tap and capitalize on Israel’s world class technological know-how, R&D and commercialization capabilities, and jointly develop new innovations with application in Canada’s energy sector. The fund capitalizes on many synergies between the two nations. Israel is home to hundreds of technology-based SMEs with internationally recognized expertise in materials, intelligent systems, water technologies, robotics and unmanned systems, sensors, imaging and other ‘enabling’ technologies. The nation is also expected to become a gas exporter by the end of the decade. Its Leviathan field features 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, while its Tamar field boasts almost 10 trillion cubic feet of gas. Canada has the third largest crude oil reserves in the world with 97 percent based in Alberta oil sands, and the country is expected to become the fourth-largest oil producer in the world by 2035. With a national energy industry and extensive technological know-how in unconventional oil and gas, Canada is well positioned as an ideal technology partner.
By combining the strengths of Canadian and Israeli firms, the CIEST Fund propelled the development and commercialization of new solutions that address key challenges in Canada’s energy sector. This included new applications in unconventional oil and gas, bioenergy and energy efficient communities, industry and transportation. Canadian firms gained new technological know-how that enables them to develop new products and become more competitive in global markets. Downstream, the emerging innovations will benefit the Canadian economy, creating enhanced efficiencies and reducing negative environmental impact.
During the Partnership Exploration phase and R&D Activities phase of the CIEST Fund, CIIRDF:
- Generated more than 60 linkages between Canadian and Israeli energy technology firms;
- Hosted three partnership development activities with Canadian and Israeli companies, researchers and other innovators in Tel Aviv, Israel; Calgary, Alberta; and Toronto, Ontario. This included three bilateral workshops that assembled more than 250 participants; and
- Established a new bilateral platform with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to enable the development and application of novel technologies that promote the responsible development of Canada’s oil sands.
Funded seven collaborative technology projects between Canadian and Israel companies. With a total value of $23 million, these initiatives leveraged CIEST Funding by a factor of 5-to-1. The CIEST Fund projects have generated significant results ranging from new (to be patented) evaporator cleaning techniques, an enhanced membrane-based hyper-saline desalination technology for oil sands and fracking industry, a number of publications and conference presentations, identification of the content of hazardous elements in key oil shale deposit, a new fast assessment methodology for determination of hydrocarbon source rock, expanded opportunities and strategic partnerships for all the participating Canadian companies.
**CIEST Fund has been fully allocated to qualified bilateral energy R&D projects.