Today, we’re meeting with Doron Tamir, Co-Founder and CEO at Luminescent Power
The Climate Journey
Doron began his climate journey in 2008, in the solar energy industry in Israel. As a leading developer in the country, he contributed to the construction of massive solar plants. He ultimately understood, though, that switching to zero-emission energy would require more than just solar energy. In order to develop a stable and dispatchable energy source, we must identify other solutions. With this objective in mind, he sold his solar energy company in 2017 and founded Luminescent in 2020.
The Startup Story
Doron partnered with Prof. Carmel Rotschild, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion, aiming to disrupt the energy industry by developing a small and efficient heat engine.
Most of the world's electricity is currently generated through heat engines, but these systems are inefficient due to the heat wasted in the process. Power plants and large industrial factories must therefore burn more fuels to achieve their desired energy output.
Doron explained that about 70% of all the energy produced in the world is currently lost as waste heat.
To tackle this challenge, Luminescent has created a liquid-based heat engine that uses an isothermal process (instead of an adiabatic process), which is more efficient and can convert any heat source into energy. The company's heat engine is smaller and less expensive than existing systems, making it a solution for capturing and utilizing waste heat from systems where waste heat recovery was previously not viable.
Currently, Luminescent has already built two generations of its heat engine and plans to conduct pilot projects in 2023, with the goal of making its first sales in 2025.
The Luminescent Team (Doron Tamir, Prof. Carmel Rotschild, Tomer Stern, Erez Klein)
We asked Doron a series of questions:
Where do you see Luminescent in 10 years?
D: Today, Luminescent is targeting waste heat from high and low temperatures. Later, down the road, we want to address other markets like geothermal energy, renewable storage, data centers cooling, liquified natural gas, etc.
What's the benefit of starting a startup within a university as you did?
D: If you really want to make a change, you need to incorporate science into your company, especially for hardware products. And the best place to find that scientific knowledge is in a university.
What does the climate tech ecosystem need for faster development and implementation of solutions?
D: Government and investors need to be more informed about hardware solutions, which might be pricey upfront but are essential to addressing climate change.
What's your secret to success?
D: The most important part of a company is the team, so we, at Luminescent, choose our team members very carefully. We are looking for experts who are also great people. Startups are like roller coasters, and you need your team to be resilient through the ups and downs. When things are going great, they need to understand that the next phase might not be as good. And when things get tough, they need to stay motivated and not give up. It also helps to have an open mind because we are doing something unique.
A little advice for other entrepreneurs in the climate field?
D: Be prepared for a long voyage, it's not easy. Even though the climate tech ecosystem has developed a lot in recent years, with more people talking about climate than ever before, it's still a tough path.
And for researchers?
D: Find the right partner to join you on this journey. Someone who understands the industry and the market and can help you identify needs, gaps, and opportunities.