Yair Teller is one Arava Institute alumni who is improving quality of life for Palestinians living in Susya, South Hebron.
Despite the relative luxury of Tel Aviv and parts of Jerusalem, many people throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories continue to eek out a meager living with no access to basic amenities such as water, gas, or electricity. In Susya, South Hebron, the Nawaje family have to fork out $15 for a tanker of water and up $20 for cooking gas which doesn’t last long. To help ease their struggles, talented alumni of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies installed a bio-gas system that not only provides cooking fuel but also fertilizes agricultural projects and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The Arava team installed a system that filters grey water – from the shower, kitchen, or bath – which is mixed with sheep manure. That ferments for a while.
Then, Yair Teller explains, it is necessary to empty the mixture into a sack, where anaerobic fermentation takes place. This produces methane, which is combustible.
When bacteria breaks down the organic matter, the remaining liquid compost is used to irrigate vegetables and olives trees. Meanwhile the gas is diverted to a pressurized storage mechanism, which powers the stove. 25 kg of sheep manure provides 2.5-3 hours of cooking.
Before this ecological system was installed, the family cooked on wood fires that produce a lot of smoke, and which releases significant greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By using the manure for cooking, less methane is released.
Yair claims that these systems were installed out of necessity. The project has received significant assistance from various donors, including The Irmgard Baum Estate, The Beverly Foundation, the Marin/SF Jewish Community Teen Foundation and several others.
More on the Arava Institute: