A Canadian electricity firm is to be the first international company to apply Iron Dome technology for civilian purposes, reported The Jerusalem Post, using it to manage the smart electricity grid.
According to Henri Rothschild, president of Canada-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (CIIRDF), “It has the potential to change grid management in North America and beyond.”
The Iron Dome is a missile defense system, heavily credited with enabling the success of this summer’s Operation Protective Edge. It takes complex calculations regarding incoming rocket fire and determines whether there is a high probability of civilian danger, only firing in cases where there is. The system thus conserves its very expensive projectiles for times of actual need.
Now, the same precision calculation technology is being modified for civilian use. In November, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems subsidiary mPrest, which developed the Iron Dome’s control system, partnered with the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to use the technology for its information grid, using the same algorithms to help monitor and control the electric grid.
“Similar to its ability to meet the ever changing threats encountered by the Iron Dome, IEC can tailor the system to its unique dynamic methods and various sensors and changes required,” mPrest CEO Col. (res.) Natan Barak said.
Canada appears to be next. A formal announcement is expected imminently, as Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird arrived in Israel earlier this month for a four-day visit.
According to the report, the partnership was made possible through a new CIIRDF fund called the Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology Fund, “a $5 million reserve that focuses on technological cooperation in the energy field.”
Israeli-Canadian economic ties have always been strong, but they have seen a recent boom particularly in the energy field, as Canadians find new and innovative uses for technologies originally developed in Israel for water efficiency, robotics, nanomaterials, big data analytics and even defense purposes.
“There’s an increasing technological spillover from one sector to another,” said Rothschild. “It used to be that we could talk about software technology, biotechnology, mineral technology as if they were different. They no longer are.”
Canada and Israel have enjoyed very warm ties recently, with unwavering support from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the small Middle Eastern democracy. The relationship has been reciprocal; when Israel held the rotating chair of European R&D fund EUREKA, it helped Canada become a member.
“It certainly helps to have that tailwind from the political side,” said Avi Hasson, chief scientist in the Economy Ministry. However, “none of these programs were pushed by the political entities. It was really the professional teams who saw the value, and the end users. If you put smart, relevant people together, good things will happen.”