Israeli biogas generators turn food leftovers into free, clean energy for Palestinian village

The portable, household "anaerobic digesters" can be taken along if people living in ramshackle huts or tent dwellers decide to move or relocate.

By REUTERS
August 24, 2015 12:13
2 minute read.

Israeli biogas generators turn food leftovers into free, clean energy for Palestinian village

Israeli biogas generators turn food leftovers into free, clean energy for Palestinian village

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIT YANAI, Israel - Palestinian villagers living in desolate, off-grid areas in the West Bank have begun using Israeli-made biogas generators that supply free, clean energy by gobbling up organic waste.

The portable, household "anaerobic digesters" made by Israeli start-up company HomeBioGas turn food leftovers and manure into methane for cooking and lighting.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


They can be taken along if people living in ramshackle huts or tent dwellers, such as local Bedouin, decide to relocate or move home.

"HomeBioGas has invented this simple digester that can easily be assembled and transported," said Palestinian engineer Amer Rabayah, who coordinates installation of the devices.

"(In) this area ... there is no water or electricity. We have no services," said local resident and digester owner Nayef Zayid.

Around 40 digesters have been set up in a pilot project at the Palestinian village of al-Awja in the central West Bank's Jordan Valley.

The European Union has funded the project to the tune of some 500,000 euros ($559,750), and the Peres Center for Peace, set up by former Israeli president Shimon Peres, facilitated Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.



A group of Israeli and Palestinian volunteers helped assemble the digesters, which take about three hours to install.

Some digesters have also been provided to Bedouins in Israel in partnership with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, based in the arid Negev desert.

HEALTHY OPTION

Oshik Efrati, chief executive officer of HomeBioGas, said he hoped the product would save many lives in rural areas across the world where smoke from cooking on an open fire causes severe respiratory illness and death.

Up to 2.7 billion people live in under-served communities with no access to clean energy and waste disposal services, HomeBioGas says, while 4.3 million women and children die each year due to inhaling smoke from indoor open fires.

The company aims to expand its production capacity and enlist governments and aid agencies to buy digesters for impoverished communities, but plans are still in their infancy, Efrati said.

"This system will be available to everyone that needs it in the developing world. It will eliminate waste, it makes clean gas, and there is no need to breathe in any smoke," he said.

A fermentation process to produce the gas is precipitated when bacteria is added in powder or liquid form to a mix of water and waste. The bacteria then multiply to create a self-perpetuating process.

Rich liquid fertilizer, a byproduct of the process, can also be used to boost crop growth for a population that largely relies on agriculture for income, Efrati explained.

HomeBioGas declined to discuss a retail price for the digester, whose materials and construction costs amount to a few hundred dollars. It is best suited for use in warm climates.

The company also sees affluent, environmentally aware Western consumers as future clients for its product, which will be sold to them for profit, marketing director Ami Amir said. ($1 = 0.8933 euros) (Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Megan Rowling)

Related Content

Workers strike outside of the Teva building in Jerusalem, December 2017
December 18, 2017
Workers make explosive threats as massive Teva layoff strikes continue

By MAX SCHINDLER