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Case Study: Assimilation of a New Israeli Technology in Korean Company

Target - Promoting the Alternative Bio-Diesel Technology in South Korea

An Israeli start-up company which developed a unique alternative technology for the production of bio-diesel by enzymes, wished to locate big bio-diesel producers in South Korea and to offer them to examine the use of the new technology instead of the current chemical based technology. The Israeli company had a reduced activity in Israel and outside it, especially in small projects which were designated to examine the feasibility of the technology. South Korea has been chosen as one of the main targets for assimilation of the bio-diesel production technology in commercial quantities. 

Challenge – A New Technology which has not been Examined on a Large Scale Commercial Production

The extraction of bio-diesel from animal fat and vegetable oil which is used by most enterprises in the world is a chemicals-based method. The big enterprises in South Korea also make use of the popular chemical technology and the competition between them is very aggressive, with low margins. Introducing a new technology which makes use of enzymes instead of chemicals, and which has not been tested yet on large scale commercial production, carries a great risk for the Korean production companies. Furthermore, the use of enzymes requires allocation of separate production facilities, a fact which means extra expenses for Korean companies which are interested in the new production method.

Work Procedure – Learning the Technology and Market Research

The production of bio-diesel through enzymes for commercial purposes is a new technology which has never been used before in South Korea and therefore the relevant knowledge among the bio-diesel producers in Korea is scarce. Therefore, the KOISRA team began to study the realm of the enzyme-based bio-diesel production. In this framework a presentation in the Korean language has been prepared which explained the advantages of the new technology in comparison with the current technology, both in the business and in the technical level.

After the preparation of the marketing and business materials in the Korean language, the KOISRA research team examined whether there were in the past any attempts to use the enzymes technology in Korea. The purpose of the examination has been to learn whether local studies in this realm exist, what were the government and the regulation attitudes, and whether there were bio-diesel producers which were involved in this realm.

Upon the completion of examining the realm and market dynamics, the task of locating bio-diesel leading producers in Korea with production capability in the local and international markets, has been undertaken. The companies which were located were graded according to their production scope and the existence of big and established R&D departments. The companies list has been delivered to the Israeli customer and together with the cooperation of the business development team of KOISRA the appropriate Korean companies have been chosen and contacted.

After the primary contact has been done, a meeting schedule has been set with the relevant Korean companies, in which the R&D teams of the companies were presented with explanations regarding the new technology and its benefits. Some of the companies requested additional information and some were invited to additional meetings and conference calls, in the presence of the engineers of the Israeli company, in order to deal with technical issues. In addition, the companies were invited to Israel in order to examine an experimental facility which used the new technology.

Result – Establishment of New Bio-Diesel Production Facility Based on Enzymes Technology

Among the companies which expressed their interest, one agreed to come to Israel in order to examine the technology in the experimental facility. A KOISRA representative accompanied the Korean company visit and assisted both in arranging the visit, translating from Hebrew to Korean, and with the negotiation between the parties. Upon its return from Israel, the Korean company made some laboratory tests and after receiving positive results, it has decided to enter into an agreement with the Israeli company. In this framework the Korean company has established a new and first of its kind facility in East Asia for the production of bio-diesel based on the enzymes technology.

The cooperation between the Israeli company and the Korean company is ongoing, and KOISRA continues to assist the parties with the development of more joint projects.