Homebiogas digestor. Pic credit: Israel21c
Israeli company develops mobile “anaerobic digester”. Pic credit: Israel21c

In the West Bank, residents living in marginalised off-grid communities have recently been the beneficiaries of Israeli manufactured biogas generators, which produce free, clean energy through organic waste.

The Israeli company, HomeBioGas, has developed a mobile anaerobic digestor for household use, which converts food waste and manure into methane gas for cooking and lighting, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Palestinian engineer and installer of the biogas systems, Amer Rabayah said: “HomeBioGas has invented this simple digester that can easily be assembled and transported.”

Biogas pilot project

According to media, an estimated 40 biogas units have been installed as part of a pilot project in the Palestinian village al-Awja in the central West Bank’s Jordan Valley.

A local resident and beneficiary of the biogas system, Nayef Zayid said: “(In) this area … there is no water or electricity. We have no services.”

Financial support

The project has been financed by the European Union, which has invested $559,750 to date. The Peres Centre for Peace has played a key role in Israeli-Palestinian co-operation.

A team of Israeli and Palestinian volunteers have worked together in assembling the biogas digesters, which according to The Jerusalem Post take around three-hours to install.

Cleaner and greener means of power generation

CEO of HomeBioGas, Oshik Efrati, is optimistic that the biogas system could help reduce the number of respiratory illnesses caused by traditional methods of cooking and lighting, which entail large amounts of smoke inhalation.

According to the biogas company, an estimated 2.7 billion people live in marginalised communities with no access to clean energy and waste disposal services.

They added that 4.3 million women and children die each year due to inhaling smoke from indoor open fires.

Expanding production

Efrati added that the company has the objective to expand its production capacity and enlist governments and aid agencies to purchase digesters for impoverished communities, but plans are still in their infancy, The Jerusalem Post reported.

He 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.”

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.