In addition to the human toll of the recent attack on Israel’s southern communities, many businesses have suffered as well. One startup, Kenaf Ventures, with its main center of operations in Kibbutz Kfar Aza (one of the most severely damaged communities with 58 members killed and 17 kidnapped), was severely hit, essentially closing down the manufacture of its unique plant-based biomaterials used in creating sustainable building materials.
Despite the setback, Kenaf is continuing to raise money to help bring production back on line, What makes Kenaf’s product so unique is the way it approaches its goal of helping to build a better, greener world by using the kenaf plant (Hibiscus cannabinus), grown in the Kibbutz to create sustainable building materials. The kenaf plant is known for its carbon dioxide absorbing properties that can be used in various industries like construction, insulation and plastics to cut down on CO2 levels and help them transition away from other polluting raw materials and help them move closer to achieving a negative carbon footprint.
The kenaf, with its origins in Africa, is extremely versatile and can be grown in different types of soil with minimal water requirements. Its “magic power” is that it can absorb large amounts of CO2 as well as heavy metals from the ground and even heavy oils like tar. Once harvested the plant produces fibers that can be used to make absorbents, packaging materials and oil as well as building materials.
In the construction field, the company has created sustainable blocks and plaster with improved thermal and acoustic insulation with added strength and fire resistance.
In the plastic industry, a bioplastic compound, with a high percentage of organic matter created from the kenaf plant can be used to replace traditional petroleum-based plastics.
With extreme climate events continuing to accelerate, Kenaf’s goal of promoting alternatives to help the decarbonization of various industries takes on more importance especially if it can do so on a significant scale and at competitive pricing. With that in mind, the company’s strategy is of course focused on the United States, Europe and Asia but its products can be used anywhere.
According to Kenaf Ventures President and CTO Avishay Morag, who founded the company with Gideon Soesan, Asaf Ofer, Aviv Spiner and Ido Hershkovits, “In addition to the associated social and environmental value, manufacturers will be fined less for environmental damage and enjoy an improved public image, which will inevitably affect performance in the short and long term.”
Finally, he added, “We are determined to spread the word that will help humanity reduce hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 and other pollutants from the environment.”
Just another way that Israel is helping to build a better world, one brick at a time.