After a successful run of high-tech and computer-related innovation, Israel is focusing its ambitions on the next big thing – preparing the world for life without coal and oil.
Israel is driving to become a world leader in alternative energy, with the government throwing its support behind cutting-edge technologies. The number of private entrepreneurs entering the so-called "clean-tech" sector has swelled dramatically.
Already, a number of firms are moving to roll out new ideas. Perhaps the country's best known clean-tech company – Project Better Place – aims next year to activate a network of charging stations for electric cars across Israel, which would be one of the most extensive such grids in the world.
Others are still in early stages. On a 10-meter (yard) stretch of a north Israel highway, the firm Innowattech tested out its system of tile-like generators, which are installed under roads and convert the weight and motion of passing vehicles into electricity. It is now looking to expand, claiming that a kilometer-long (0.6-mile) lane of its generators could power more than 200 households.
Alex Klein, an analyst at Emerging Energy Research, a Cambridge, Mass., research firm, said Israel – a country of fewer than 8 million people – has in a way benefited from its small size, forcing it to develop products for export.