Multiple benefits

Resource learns about a project to provide Bedouin and Palestinian villages with free biogas, which is also dealing with waste and helping to promote peace in the Middle East.

HomeBiogas is a company with international origins that is having a positive impact on the environment and society in the specific region where it was set up – the Middle East.

This article was taken from Issue 84

The Israeli startup, which has developed a biogas system intended for home use, was founded in 2012. Yair Teller, the company’s co-founder and Chief Scientist, tells me how the idea came about: “Ten years ago, I saw the system for the first time in India. I was learning about water ecology, and I went up to the top of the mountain, and I was living with an Indian family. I went into the kitchen and I saw them cooking on gas. I asked them: ‘How did you get this gas?’ because I knew that no gas could get to this place, and I was used to seeing Indian people cooking on wood. They showed me an old type of biogas system.” The system, Teller explains, was powered by cow manure, which was fed into a hole before being transformed and pumped into the kitchen as gas for cooking. He adds: “And then they showed me that the leachate, the liquid that came out was a liquid fertiliser, and it was growing big, white flowers on it, and they were selling it in the market, and I thought, ‘Wow.’”

Teller says he immediately recognised the potential of the system to improve the environment by preventing manure from contaminating water supplies, as well as preventing the deforestation that occurs when people require wood for fuel, adding: “From then on, I decided I wanted to study and work with biogas.” Teller continued to Mexico, amongst other places, before returning to Israel. Along the way, he says he realised that the technology needed to be improved for use in developing countries to ensure it needed as little maintenance as possible, and also to be modified so that it could be used in urban areas, where the primary organic waste is food, rather than manure.