Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design – Israel’s oldest institution of higher learning – is a prolific incubator of brilliant ideas, with its post-grads serving as the school’s best advertising. They move on to produce beautiful artifacts, while kicking forward the antique design credo of “build a better mousetrap”. Now one student has developed a device that can pasteurize raw milk, and do it off-grid, improving human health and safety and the environment, and it looks good too. Meet Guy Feidman Reshef’s battery-powered milk machine.
Bezalel alumni include artist Sigalit Landau who dipped a dress in the Dead Sea, creating crystallized couture. Architecture grad Helen Wexler was part of the Israeli design team Tridom that won honorable mention in NASA’s 2015 3D Printed Habitat Challenge for their prototype structure for Mars habitation. Former student Roee Magdassi created “Stakes”, an ultra-light, portable outdoor cooking grill, that slips easily in a backpack, is dishwasher-safe and an eco-friendly alternative for the common disposable grill. Now student Guy Feidman Reshef joins the Bezalel roster of innovators with “Crescent” (in Hebrew, sahar), his new appliance that cleans raw milk using UV radiation.
Goat milk is an essential element in the Bedouin diet, providing basic nutrition to growing children. Bedouins do not pasteurize their goat milk, leaving consumers vulnerable to disease. When stored at ambient temperatures, milk is an excellent medium for microbial growth, making it one of the world’s most dangerous food products. Pasteurization, as many of us learned in high school chemistry, is the hundred year old process of sterilizing milk using heat.
Pasteurization extends milk’s shelf life and eliminates brucellosis, or Mediterranean Fever, a disease that causes severe disabilities, miscarriage and death. Transmitted from animals to humans through milk, each year hundreds of thousands of people are infected. In Israel, brucellosis affects thousands of patients and most of the Bedouin population.
For his final graduation design project, Feidman Reshef presented “sahar”, his machine for milk sterilization. Under the tutelage Professor Ezri Taraziof, he devised a vessel that utilizes UV technology to sterilize bacteria in the milk without altering its nutritional value. It operates on a 12 volt solar-rechargeable battery, usable in areas without access to electricity. The design combines state of the art technology with the antique lines of traditional terra cotta and clay pots still found in the Bedouin households.
“Sahar” aims to aid people in the struggle against diseases spreading in developing countries. The device purifies milk in 10-liter batches without alternating its nutritional value and without energy-inefficient heating.
The designer says that working with Bedouin society is the first step in dealing with a problem spreading throughout the world, an essential part of a regional information campaign that stresses the importance of milk hygiene. No information is available as to how this device will move into production, but as with energy generating soccer balls, and solar-powered lanterns, it is heartening to see the designers of tomorrow turn their sights on the problems of today.
Video and images from Guy Feidman Reshef’s Vimeo website