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August 24, 2015 4:15 pm

Israeli Startup That Turns Manure Into Fuel is Changing the Lives of Rural Palestinians and Bedouin

avatar by Ruthie Blum


Installing a HomeBioGas ‘digester’ in al-Awja in the Jordan Valley. Photo: Facebook.

An Israeli startup is making the lives of Palestinians in rural areas of the West Bank and Bedouins in Israel’s Negev desert easier and healthier.

HomeBioGas, based in the Beit Yanai moshav in central Israel, has invented a portable “anaerobic digester” that turns kitchen waste and livestock manure into cooking-gas.

“Families in these areas not only live off the grid,” HomeBioGas sales manager Ron Yariv told The Algemeiner. “But they dwell in tents or tin huts.” This, he said, forces them to burn wood from trees or goat manure to generate fire for cooking.

“This is arduous and dangerous,” he said, adding that more than four million people across the world die annually from the toxic fumes emitted during this process. “It is also very harmful to the environment.”

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So far, the company has installed 37 systems, one per family. Most of these are in the Palestinian village of al-Awja in Jordan Valley, with a smaller number provided to Negev Bedouins. In two months, another 37 will be delivered.

The portable product is 1.6 by 1 meters, as unobtrusive as the individual gas tanks commonly used in Israel, hooks up to the stove, also provided by the company, with a pipe.

The families in the pilot project were given instructions on how to save and funnel their organic waste into the device for optimal use. And subsequent follow-up visits have been regular, according to Yariv.

The project, in conjunction with Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Peres Peace Center, is funded by the European Union to the tune of half a million euros.

Gas is produced in the “digester” through fermentation of organic waste mixed with water and certain bacteria, which then multiply. An added benefit, said Yariv, is that a liquid is created from the process that can be used as organic fertilizer for crops. The price for consumers has not yet been determined, but the device itself costs a few hundred dollars in materials and construction.

“We have received only positive feedback about the success of the ‘digester’ from the families in the project,” Yariv said. “They caught on quickly to the whole process.”


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