EZKlein Partners announced the closing of a $5 million Series A funding round for AORA, an Israel-based developer of a hybrid solarized gas turbine power station. The funding round, initiated by EZKlein Partners, includes L&Q Solar, a group of international solar energy investors.
AORA, formerly known as EDIG Solar, will use the funds to commission the world’s first commercial hybrid solar thermal gas-turbine power station, expected to begin operations by the end of March in Kibbutz Samar in Israel’s Arava region; to develop manufacturing capabilities and market expansion; and to further its R&D efforts.
AORA’s unique modular solar power station is designed to require a smaller footprint, while generating more usable power and heat at a lower cost than other solar energy systems. The company’s hybrid approach enables the system to run on solar radiation input, as well as almost any alternative fuel, including biogas, biodiesel and natural gas.
This enables a variety of operation modes—from solar-only mode, where electricity is supplied when there is ample sunlight, to hybrid mode, where fuel helps generate electricity when sunlight is insufficient, such as at night or when it is cloudy, guaranteeing an uninterrupted green power supply 24 hours a day.
The company’s scalable solutions consist of very small modular units (100kW / 170kW heat) which are linked together into centrally controlled power plants, customized to client demand. Each mirror unit (heliostat) follows the sun and directs its rays towards the top of a 30 meter-high tower housing a special solar receiver along with a 100 kW gas turbine engine.
The patented receiver then uses the sun’s energy to heat air to a temperature of more than 1,000 °C and then directs this energy into a turbine. The turbine converts this thermal energy into electric power that will be fed directly into the national grid.
AORA has begun construction of a hybrid solar-gas turbine power station at Kibbutz Samar in Israel’s southern Arava region. The Arava plant, which is the first commercial application of AORA’s technology, is scheduled to launch in March.