Yafa Energy has become the first Arab-Israeli company to win a prestigious European Union EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) grant. The grant was awarded through Israel’s Prime Minister’s office, as Yafa was named as the best technological initiative from an Israeli minority community.
Yafa Energy was founded in 2010 by Salih Manasra, a mechanical engineer from the automotive industry. It has previously been recognised by the World Bank for developing an essential solar thermal technology to heat steam for industrial processes that currently consume an enormous amount polluting and unprocessed fuel. The company’s business strategy is based on the notion that in much of the world’s industrial-heavy zones, such as Africa and the Middle East, there is an abundance of solar heat and a huge deficit in the use of renewable energy. Yafa intends to use the grant money to contribute to building a prototype all-in-one, standalone system that provides heating, cooling and electricity for energy-intensive industrial processes.
In an interview with Israel 21C, Manasra spoke of his hope for Yafa to act as a vehicle for building bridges between Israel and its Arab neighbours, by supplying industries in the Arab world with the technology. He also emphasised the need to create equal opportunities for the growing number of Arab engineering graduates in Israel that often get stuck in blue-collar construction jobs, stating that:
“The weight put on education is skyrocketing. Arab-Israelis come to the market today with the highest academic rates, and they are trying to go further.”