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HomeBiogas, an Israel-based startup, has created an affordable and compact anaerobic digester that converts organic waste into cooking gas and liquid fertilizer. Home wastes like food scraps, kitchen trash and pet manure no longer have to go to waste.
Here's how it works: after the HomeBiogas system is fed organic matter, microorganisms break down the biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The end product is biogas and biofertilizer.
Photo credit: HomeBiogas
According to the company, you can input up to 6 liters (6 qt) of food waste or up to 15 liters (15 qt) of animal manure in HomeBiogas each day. Every liter of food waste produces about 200 liters of gas, or the amount needed to cooking over a high flame for one hour. On average, HomeBiogas produces 2-3 hours of cooking gas each day—enough for three meals.
The product's built-in tank stores 400 liters of gas. Additional gas generated by the system gets automatically released and dissipates into the atmosphere, the company says.
As for fertilizer, the HomeBiogas can produce between 5-10 liters a day.
The HomeBiogas seems like an environmental no-brainer. Not only does it reduce landfill waste and pollution, it's a renewable and local energy source which can save money on fuel at the same time.
The company also estimates that each year, the device eliminates one ton of organic waste and reduces the equivalent of six tons of carbon dioxide per one household.
"One of the major issues today around the world is waste management," Erez Lancer, HomeBioGas co-founder and COO, says in the video below. "Imagine being able to treat your own waste [and consume] the gas it creates."
"The magic of this system is [how we] bring bio-gas technology into private houses, allowing the consumer to create a closed circle of energy in-house," he adds.
There are some caveats. Because it's an outdoor system, you'll need a yard or space outside to put it. It also requires an average outdoor temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results. For those who live in temperatures below freezing, the HomeBiogas will work if it's installed in a well ventilated and warm space such as a greenhouse.
But for the 1.3 billion people around the world who live without affordable and reliable energy sources, the HomeBiogas is a promising solution.
Even United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Israel President Reuven Rivlin have stopped by the company to check out the system to give their stamp of approval.
“4.3 million women and children die each year due to indoors smoke from open fires," Ki-Moon said. "This is just the thing they need. The UN should be purchasing these units! They can save lives.”
In the video below, the company explains that 150 units have already been installed and have been running for over a year.
The company launched its Indiegogo campaign last Tuesday and reached its $100,000 fundraising goal in less than a day. The system costs roughly $995 through Indiegogo.
The first units will ship May 2016.
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Colorado River Has Lost 1.5 Billion Tons of Water to the Climate Crisis, 'Severe Water Shortages' May Follow
California is headed toward drought conditions as February, typically the state's wettest month, passes without a drop of rain. The lack of rainfall could lead to early fire conditions. With no rain predicted for the next week, it looks as if this month will be only the second time in 170 years that San Francisco has not had a drop of rain in February, according to The Weather Channel.
The last time San Francisco did not record a drop of rain in February was in 1864 as the Civil War raged.
"This hasn't happened in 150 years or more," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to The Guardian. "There have even been a couple [of] wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter."
While the Pacific Northwest has flooded from heavy rains, the southern part of the West Coast has seen one storm after another pass by. Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more Californians are in drought conditions than at any time during 2019, as The Weather Channel reported.
The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.
"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.
Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.
"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.
NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.
As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.
"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.
The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.
"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."
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- California Emerged From Drought and Is Still Catching Fire - The ... ›
A warm day in winter used to be a rare and uplifting relief.
Now such days are routine reminders of climate change – all the more foreboding when they coincide with news stories about unprecedented wildfires, record-breaking "rain bombs," or the accelerated melting of polar ice sheets.
Where, then, can one turn for hope in these dark months of the year?