An Ormat 20MW binary power plant at Steamboat, Nevada, USA.
Ormat Technologies Inc. is a provider of alternative and renewable energy technology based in Reno, Nevada. The company built over 150 power plants and installed over 2,000 MW. As of February 2016 Ormat owns and operates 697 MW of geothermal and recovered energy based power plants. The company's shares have been listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange since 1991, and the New York Stock Exchange since 2004. The company's main production facilities are based in Yavne, Israel.
Ormat was established in 1965 as Ormat Turbines Ltd. (later renamed Ormat Industries), in Yavne, Israel, by engineer Lucien Bronicki (who was the company's chairman and CTO until 2014) and wife Yehudit "Dita" Bronicki (who served as CEO until 2014).
In the late 1950s Lucien Bronicki worked in a government physics laboratory, where he developed a turbine to produce electricity from a range of energy sources, including solar; the process is known as organic Rankine cycle, which he co-developed with Harry Zvi Tabor. He retired from the lab to commercialize his ideas and set up Ormat. In its early years the company focused exclusively on manufacturing power generation equipment.
The 1970s energy crisis increased interest in efficient generation technology. To exploit this situation, Ormat obtained financial assistance from the Israeli government and raised capital from private investors to build one of the world's first solar-driven power stations. However the power station was not economically viable and was abandoned in 1988.
During the 1980s Ormat developed generation systems utilizing recovered energy, i.e. heat emitted during industrial processes. The company also applied its technology to generate electricity from geothermal sources.
In 1986, Ormat designed and supplied geothermal power systems to the Kawerau Power Station in New Zealand. Since then 13 geothermal power plant were built by Ormat in New Zealand.
In 1989, Ormat supplied geothermal equipment for the regional heating system at Sudurnes Iceland; which utilizes the abundant local geothermal resources to provide heating for 20,000 people.
In the 1990s the company decided not only to provide power generation equipment, but also to own and operate alternative and renewable energy power stations.
In 1991, the company, then as Ormat Industries, listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
In 1992, Ormat acquired a controlling stake of Bet Shemesh Engines, a manufactures parts for jet engines, that also overhauls, maintains and assembles jet engines. In 2005, Ormat sold its shares the company.
In 2004, Ormat Technologies, completed an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange raising $100 million. Ormat Technologies was founded in 1994 as a US subsidiary of Ormat Industries. Following the initial public offering, Ormat Industries was restructured as a holding company that was still listed in the exchange, while shifting all its operations to the subsidiary Ormat Technologies.
In 2006, Ormat received for the first time, an order for to supply equipment for a geothermal power plant in Germany.
In February 2015, Ormat Technologies Inc. acquired its parent company, Ormat Industries Ltd., in an all-stock merger. Shareholders of Ormat Technologies retained about 38 percent of the company’s shares, while Ormat Industries Ltd. shareholders owned the remaining 62 percent. Ormat Technologies Inc. shares were listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The company owns and operates geothermal power plants in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Guatemala, Kenya and Guadeloupe.
Ormat’s core technology is the Ormat Energy Converter (OEC) power generation unit. It converts low and medium temperature heat into electrical energy, with low or zero emission of CO2 and pollutants. The OEC's main components are a vaporizer/preheater, turbo-generator, air-cooled or water-cooled condenser, feed pump and controls. Ormat has installed more than 900 MW of geothermal and recovered energy generation (REG) power units, based on OEC technology.
Ormat’s technology is optimized for use in geothermal energy generation, and the company is the third largest geothermal producer in the United States. The technology is also suitable for recovered energy power generation, which converts waste heat from industrial processes into electricity that can be used on site or sold to power generation utilities. Ormat’s recovered energy technology was deployed in projects in Germany, Canada, India, USA and Japan.
In the 1980s Ormat built and operated one of the world's first power stations to produce electricity from solar energy, located just north of the Dead Sea in Israel. The plant utilized a technology known as solar pond, a large-scale solar thermal energy collector with integral heat storage for supplying thermal energy. It was the largest operating solar pond ever built for electricity generation and operated up until 1988. It had an area of 210,000 m² and gave an electrical output of 5 MW.
After the decommissioning of the solar pool project Ormat was not active in the solar energy market until recently when it entered the Solar PV market.
Ormat's former parent company, Ormat Industries Ltd., developed an energy-efficient technology, OrCrude, for extracting crude oil from oil sands. The OrCrude process is claimed to be more efficient than other technologies as it includes gasification, which substantially reduces the requirement for natural gas, typically the largest input cost in an in-situ oil sands project. The technology is used in the Long Lake project, a former joint venture between Nexen and OPTI Canada. In 2010, Ormat Industries sold all its holdings (5.1%) in OPTI Canada. In 2011, OPTI Canada was acquired by CNOOC Luxembourg S.à r.l, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited.
Ormat has been involved in establishment and development of several companies, including:
Orbotech develops and manufactures automated optical inspection (AOI) systems for bare and assembled printed circuit boards and flat panel displays. The company's systems, imaging and computer-aided manufacturing technologies enable electronic manufacturers to achieve the increased yields and throughput essential for electronics production.
Orad Hi-Tec Systems Ltd. develops video and real-time image processing technologies for TV broadcasting, Internet, production studio and sports events.
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