Israeli cleantech company Kenaf Ventures, based in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza Strip, sustained substantial damage during the incursion into Israeli by Hamas on October 7. The company is developing technology based on the kenaf plant for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, and says it is now more determined than ever to complete the launch of commercial production at its recently inaugurated factory. It is currently raising the finance necessary to continue its operations, after many of its workers and investors were also severely affected by the brutal attack on the kibbutz, in which dozens of people, among them many children, were mutilated and killed.
Kenaf Ventures' management said, "We mourn the tragic, untimely passing of many of our partners - a rare mosaic of precious individuals who have long since become family.
"In the two days preceding the disaster, we were still making plans in the pastoral tranquility of the kibbutz for the global innovation that would reduce air pollution and encourage the transition from the use of polluting raw materials in the industry to ones with a negative carbon footprint.
"It is still too early to assess the scale of the tragic events still occurring. Nevertheless, one thing is clear - we will continue our life's work, which is forged in a courageous partnership with the residents of the Hatekuma (Resurrection) Region. We will not allow anyone to discourage us.
"Unfortunately, this disaster damaged the body, soul, and finances of many of our company's partners, employees, and strategic investors, requiring us to generate a subsequent round of financing. Not only to rise and restore a sense of normalcy but to continue the path we paved to combat carbon emissions and reduce the damage caused by over-industrialization around the world with an accessible, cost-effective, easy, and quick solution to implement on existing systems. We are determined to spread the word that will help humanity reduce hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 and other pollutants from the environment."
Kenaf Ventures was founded in 2018 by a group of serial entrepreneurs with proven experience, including Avishay Morag, Aviv Spiner, Asaf Ofer, Ido Hershkovits and Gideon Suzan. At the outset, the company was supported by the Israel Innovation Authority. It is now in the market penetration phase, and addresses markets that it says are worth hundreds of billions.
The company focuses on two of the most challenging environmental problems: carbon dioxide absorption and fixation, and reducing the use of polluting raw materials. The company has developed groundbreaking patented solutions that use the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus) for the natural absorption of carbon dioxide and its conversion into biomaterials.
Kenaf Ventures, which was founded on the basis of a Zionist and pioneering vision, with the support of the Kafrit Group and Kibbutz Kfar Aza, has established a unique factory for processing organic raw material for industrial purposes, close to extensive kenaf plantations. Kenaf is well-known for its mechanical properties and exceptional carbon dioxide absorption capabilities, and the ability to clean toxins and pollutants from the soil. It was recognized by the United Nations-sponsored Kyoto Protocol for Climate Change as an extremely important crop in reducing global warming.
Kenaf Ventures' developments constitute a game-changer in industrial sustainability. They can be easily and inexpensively applied, while also improving products, at a competitive price.
In the plastics industry, for example, the company uses kenaf as a substitute for petroleum-based plastics such as polypropylene, resulting in a bioplastic compound with significant percentages of organic matter as a plastic substitute with the same or, in some cases, improved material properties.
Similarly, the company is developing sustainable solutions for the construction industry with a negative carbon footprint and improved properties in parameters such as thermal and acoustic insulation, strength, weight, fire resistance, ease of implementation, and price.
"From the very beginning, it was clear to us that our developments to promote decarbonization in the industry must be those that will create a real impact at a competitive price and on a significant scale. Our infrastructure is ready to penetrate markets such as the United States, Europe and Asia," the company said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 1, 2023.
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