Fuel cell developer CellEra raises $9.2m

Vodafone led the round making its first ever investment in Israel and first ever investment in a cleantech company.

CellEra Inc., which develops cost-effective platinum free fuel cell technology has raised $9.2 million in a financing round led by Vodafone Ventures, the global venture capital arm of Vodafone Group, and Carmel Ventures. This is Vodafone's first ever investment in Israel and also its first ever investment in a cleantech company.

CellEra's CEO Ziv Gottesfeld, CTO Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld and VP R&D and Engineering Dr. Dario Dekel founded the company in 2007 to provide clean and efficient solutions for storing and converting energy at a significantly lower cost than technologies available on the market.

Since its founding CellEra has raised $13 million from, among others Israel Cleantech Ventures, B-2-V Partners and private investors.

Ziv Gottesfeld told "Globes" that the founders have been working for two years to prove the feasibility of the company's technology. "We are asking to develop new fuel cells that are more efficient and less expensive. What is currently blocking use of fuel cells is the high cost."

He added, "Our prototype is already working at CommScope, a large US communications infrastructure company. Two years ago we began a joint development project through BIRD the Israel US Bi-national R&D Foundation. The development project was recently successfully completed. We are signing a commercialization agreement and working on a commercial prototype."

When is the product expected to be on the market?

"We will begin trials of a prototype next year. We believe that we will be on the market in 2013."

CellEra's product is designed to provide a solution for a permanent supply of energy to cellular transmitters instead of diesel and lead-battery operated generators. The market is worth $3 billion annually.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 19, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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