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IDF to turn organic waste into renewable energy

Kitchen scraps will be transformed into biogas.

At the IDF's Glilot Base near Herzliya are, from left, Oshik Efrati, CEO of HomeBiogas; Erez Zidon, director of the Defense Ministry’s Logistics and Assets Department; and Brig. Gen. Pini Ben Moyal, head of the IDF Logistics Division, Aug. 7 2023. Credit: Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office.
At the IDF's Glilot Base near Herzliya are, from left, Oshik Efrati, CEO of HomeBiogas; Erez Zidon, director of the Defense Ministry’s Logistics and Assets Department; and Brig. Gen. Pini Ben Moyal, head of the IDF Logistics Division, Aug. 7 2023. Credit: Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office.

The Israeli Defense Ministry and the IDF launched an initiative on Monday to convert organic waste on military bases into renewable energy.

The initiative, in collaboration with HomeBiogas, a startup based in Moshav Beit Yanai, near Netanya, aims to convert kitchen waste into biogas.

Biogas is a renewable energy source produced through the breakdown of organic matter such as agricultural waste, animal manure, food scraps and sewage, in an oxygen-free environment. This process involves the activity of microorganisms that break down the organic materials and produce a mixture of gases, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, along with trace amounts of other gases such as hydrogen sulfide.

The methane content gives biogas its energy potential, making it a valuable resource for generating energy that can be used for cooking, heating or transportation. Biogas can also be applied to fertilizer and waste management.

A ceremony held on Monday at the IDF’s Glilot Base near Herzliya marked the installation of the army’s first system.

The technology can recycle up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of organic waste daily. The biogas produced will be used to heat water for the base.

The HomeBiogas system will be used in a one-year trial. If the assessments are positive, more systems will be purchased for additional bases.

According to the Defense Ministry, the IDF spends approximately $22 million yearly on the disposal of waste, with the majority ending up in landfills.

Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, said, “HomeBiogas’ system represents a promising solution that can significantly contribute to combating the climate crisis, addressing a pressing need in the extensive mass catering industry.”

HomeBiogas CEO and co-founder Oshik Efrati said, “We see this important collaboration as a significant milestone in our company’s journey towards expanding its business activity. This project represents another crucial step in fulfilling HomeBiogas’s vision of offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for generating renewable energy while simultaneously reducing environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation and disposal of organic waste.”

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