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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Israel: Save A Tree By Burning Olive Rolls?

With the global recession upon us, many families are trying to find inexpensive ways to heat their home.

While many people choose wood stove furnaces (mainly because the expense is cheaper than oil and gas--especially if you get the wood for free), Israel may have a greener solution that does not require chopping down a tree.

(Israel 21st Century) In the shadow of Herodion, a group of youngsters -- many of whom were homeless until they were gathered together by a man named Yossi Sadeh, first in Beit Shemesh, then at the Sde Bar farm, a kibbutz-like framework that's turned their lives around -- are changing the face of energy production. Their work is to help create Olivebar's rolls to heat homes in wood-burning stoves which general manager Eli Karniel describes as "ecologically perfect."

The rolls are made from the waste produced after olives are pressed at Israeli olive presses, known in Hebrew as gefet. The material is rich in oil and superb for heating, but if left behind at the presses to seep into the soil, will destroy ground water and render the soil infertile. The simple act of collecting it is the product's first ecological benefit. [...]

Chief among them is the energy component, with a cube of the Olivebar rolls producing almost 2.5 times energy as a cube of wood. No mice or worms come with the rolls, which are aesthetically wrapped in paper that is recyclable and can be used to light the oven. The smoke released has no negative impact on neighbors or the environment, and the ash left in the stove can be used for fertilizing gardens and plants. Using the rolls will also fit into recent moves both here and abroad to avoid cutting down trees for energy use. "It's a totally green product, all natural, without any glues or chemicals," Karniel tells ISRAEL21c.
While this is not the first time Israel has used olives as an energy source, this may be one of the most innovative uses thus far.

Although Sde Bar Farm's green approach to heat may help out Israeli families, their olive rolls could impact the world to a much greater extent as it could help out rural areas where wood and electricity are scarce (especially in the colder climates).

(Image via Olives

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