The ocean– the origin of all life on earth– is the greatest habitat on earth, with all major forms of life living there and most volcanic activity occurring there. Oceanic organisms take many forms, from the tiniest single-celled plankton to the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. The ocean is so vast, that 95% of it remains unexplored. However, human influences and reliance on these species, as well as changing environmental conditions, affect the future health of the ocean and all that inhabit it. Toxic spills, oxygen-depleted dead zones, marine debris, increasing ocean temperatures, overfishing, and shoreline development are daily threats to marine life. Here are some Israeli startups that play a role in the health of our ocean ecosystem.
The way in which we consume wild fish is killing our oceans. Our overfishing is ruining the balance of the ocean's ecosystem and leading to an eroded food web, and loss of marine life, including vulnerable and endangered species. Yet the demand for fish continues to rise which leads to their continued overexploitation. To meet the market demand, fish farms have been established, like factory farms for cattle, poultry, and the like. But just as factory farms negatively impact the environment, so too do fish farms. Fish farms produce waste, pesticides, antibiotics, parasites, and disease– and these issues are magnified due to the immediate contamination of the surrounding ocean water. The Israel startup GiliOcean Technology allows for high-tech, innovative, sustainable fish farms. They use a special technology dubbed SUBflex which is a fish farm method that transports fish into their natural habitat using a net cage system. This system allows for ideal levels of oxygen making the fish grow faster and healthier with no antibiotics. Their system warrants for safe and efficient cultivation of ocean species to then be released into the ocean waters for optimal, natural conditions. GiliOcean also has a product called GOSmart, a high technology designed to analyze water quality, fish mortality, behaviour, and biomass. This is done through cameras, software applications, and a mortality counter.
GiliOcean was founded in 2004, focusing on identifying the future needs and problems of the growing marine world and industry. By delving into the fish farm market, GiliOcean offers solutions to the challenges fish farms face nowadays by using their technology to move fish further offshore for maximized oxygen levels. Their team consists of Josef Melechner (CEO), Nir Gilad (Chairman), Ychiel Swimer (Director of Operations), Nitai Drimer (CTO), Amitai Peleg (Mechanical Engineer), Avi Bar-Shalom (CSO), and Ron Shavit (Business Development and Marketing). GiliOcean is located in Moshava, HaZafon, Israel.
Eco Wave Power
The world is being polluted with CO2 at unprecedented levels. This is causing the climate to change with global warming and more extreme weather patterns. One of the culprits of CO2 emissions is the use of unsustainable energy like fossil fuels. We need to aim to use energy sources that do not harm the environment if we want to save our planet. Eco Wave Power developed a cost-efficient and smart way of turning ocean waves into electricity; they wish to combat climate change from waves by enabling commercial power production. It works by combatting floaters that draw energy from incoming waves; this is done by converting the highest and lowest motion points of the waves into an energy generation process. The movement of the floaters transmits biodegradable fluid into accumulators which then build up pressure. The pressure rotates a hydraulic motor, rotating the generator, which generates electricity into the grid through an inverter. Finally, after the fluid is decompressed, the fluid flows back into the hydraulic tank where it’s reused by the pistons. All of this generates a closed circulatory system which in turn is better for the environment as it is being reused. The whole procedure is controlled and monitored by a smart automation system. In the event of a storm, the system can detect the storm and wait for the storm to pass (should the waves be too high) and the system stays in the upright position until the storm has passed.
Eco Wave Power was founded in Tel Aviv in 2011, by Inna Braverman (CEO) and David Leb (Board of Directors). Other Board of Directors includes Mats Andersson and Elias Jacobson. Eco Wave Power is a publicly traded company located in Jaffa Port, Israel.
Accidental spills from ships account for about 15% of the oil entering the ocean each year. The spills lead to the release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbons into the environment, which wreaks havoc on the marine ecosystems. HARBO Technologies developed a containment system designed to detect and minimize marine oil spills. Their T-Fence system installed can be operated onboard any spill source (ships, tanks, ports, coastal infrastructure facilities, exploration, marinas, etc.). Using a lightweight and portable system that can be positioned in less than 30 minutes using only 2 people, HARBO Boom controls oil spills right at the affected source by quickly stopping the spread of the oil, in turn reducing the long-lasting consequences of oil spills.
HARBO Technologies was founded in 2013 by Haim Greenberg (Board Member), Boaz Ur (CEO & Chairman of the Board), and Anon Shany. They are located in Tel Aviv, Israel.
As mentioned above, overfishing causes huge environmental distress to our oceans. Yet the demand for fish is at an all-time high and is only rising, so alternative fish protein is a suitable solution. Plantish is a startup that develops sustainable, boneless fish made entirely out of plants. Moreover, Plantish’s fish contains all the nutrients and proteins, as traditional fish but without the mercury, microplastics, and other pollutants fish contains. Plantish strives for a zero-net emissions workplace and uses the highest quality and responsibly sourced ingredients.
Plantish was founded in March 2021 by Ofek Ron (CEO), Dr. Hila Elimelech (Head of R&D), Dr. Ron Sicsic (CSO), and Dr. Ariel Szklanny (CTO), all 3D printing, chemistry and bioengineering PhDs, and serial entrepreneurs. So far, Plantish has raised over $14 million in pre-seed funding from State of Mind Ventures, Pitango, Unovis, OurCrowd, Nuseir Yassin (Angel Investor from Nas Daily), and TechAviv. Plantish is located in Rehovot, Israel.
ECOncrete develops sustainable concrete for constructing infrastructures along the coast and marine environments. ECOncrete adapts the environment’s fauna and flora with its biological traits with the concrete to encourage biogenic buildup. This ultimately promotes increased sustainability and longevity, all the while being incredibly cost-effective. ECOncrete’s mission is to have life continue to thrive above and below the water with sustainable concrete along the coasts. ECOncrete consists of three core elements that work in synergy and enable the growth of marine life while also decreasing the ecological footprint: bio-enhancing concrete compositions, texture agents, and science-based moulds.
ECOncrete was founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel (former CEO) and Dr. Ido Sella (CEO). ECOncrete is located in Tel Aviv-Yafo and has raised over $10.5 million to date.