Adapting Defence Technology for Smart Grids

Canada-Israel Industrial Research & Development FoundationAdapting Defence Technology for Smart Grids

Canada-Israel Collaborators Revolutionizing Energy Management

Canadian Company: EllisDon

Israeli Company: RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems

Sector: Energy


EllisDon, a world-leading construction services company with more than 60 years of experience; and RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems, a world leader defense command and control, computing and communications system are combining their expertise to revolutionize energy management.

Valued at $14 million, this ground-breaking Canada-Israel R&D project is adapting technologies developed for civilian defense applications and develop a next-generation smart grid management system that improves energy efficiency and conservation, reduces waste, and lowers costs for utilities, operators and customers. CIIRDF awarded $1 million to this Canada-Israel team through the CIEST Fund. The project also engages municipal partners, Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (GMHI), industry partners, and academic collaborators at the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo and Sheridan College. Once developed, the companies aim to pilot and commercialize the new product, and capitalize on the global smart grid market, which is expected to exceed $60 billion by 2020.


With support from CIIRDF, EllisDon will apply RAFAEL’s defense technology expertise to its energy assets, and develop a new system that revolutionizes the management of district energy and microgrid systems. The emerging system will use command and control, and situational awareness capabilities developed for the defence sector to monitor and manage thermal and electrical energy delivery to a region. It will gather accurate, real time information from the grid; facilitate access to renewable fuel sources such as solar power and biofuel; and provide a central point of smart grid control. This will enable smart grid operators and service providers to take action that lowers operational expenses while reducing carbon emissions and waste. There are no competing products with such capabilities on the market today, creating a wealth of opportunity for the collaborators.

The project will play a key role in the Community Energy Initiative established by Guelph in 2007. As the population of Guelph is expected to catapult by 45 percent by 2031, the delivery of energy will be accomplished by an electrical and thermal distribution infrastructure. To address this challenge, Guelph aims to create the first North American city-wide district energy system to meet the energy demands of its rapidly growing population without expanding its borders. This CIEST Fund project will enable the development of an energy management system that supplies the city with fifty percent of the required energy demand by 2031, and provide economic benefit to the region. To achieve this objective and develop a robust commercial product, EllisDon will bring its wealth of construction and management services experience together with RAFAEL’s real time intelligence expertise and technology with CIIRDF Support.


When employed, the system will help to reduce Ontario’s carbon footprint, and directly support Canada’s goal to reduce national greenhouse emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. For the energy consumer in Ontario, this innovation is intended to provide efficiencies in the delivery of district energy and community energy projects with focus on lower energy delivery costs and improved environmental protection. Moreover, the firms expect to create 50 new jobs with ongoing development and consulting services in Israel and Canada by 2018. 

“This is a first critical step towards the development of a long-term relationship between RAFAEL and EllisDon. Together, we will build new products, technologies and systems that directly impact our local community, and improve the lives of citizens for generations to come.


Moreover, these innovations will enrich the energy management marketplace, and help to redefine the role of the smart grid. This project creates a unique opportunity for EllisDon and RAFAEL to demonstrate leadership on global energy solutions.”

Robert Barnes, Director of Managed Services

“RAFAEL is delighted to contribute to this CIEST Fund project, and apply decades of defence and system of systems development and knowhow to address energy challenges. This initiative will expand our market reach, creating new commercial opportunities for our firm. Today, more than 850 district energy systems are deployed across North America alone, and the capacity of combined heat and power is expected to grow by 40 gigawatts by 2020 according to GlobalData. Our collaboration with EllisDon will enable us to capitalize on this and other global smart grid markets, while creating a more sustainable approach to energy management.”

Dr. Roni Potasman, Executive Vice President, Research and Development of RAFAEL