Published Saturday 13/03/2010 (updated) 14/03/2010 11:37

Gaza – Ma’an – Two Gaza science students are using municipal waste to produce biofuel that could replace domestic gas amidst a shortage as the Israeli imposed siege continues.

Atiyya Al-Bursh and Mahir Al-Jamal said they put 70 kilograms of municipal waste into a sealed barrel and collected the gasses emitted from the decaying biomass. The mostly methane gas was filtered using calcium hydroxide.

The students said the calcium hydroxide absorbed impurities and resulted in a pure methane gas, collected into canisters, pressurized and then used as cooking fuel.

Drinking coffee they said was prepared over a biofuel methane flame, Al-Bursh and Al-Jamal said “We decided to produce biogas in light of the domestic gas shortage,” in hopes the “suffering of the people here in Gaza could be alleviated.”

Al-Bursh explained that the biofuel was produced by the breakdown of organic materials in the absence of oxygen.

Biowaste, he said, makes up 70% municipal waste, and the two said the ample amount of agricultural waste would also be put to use.

The idea was not submitted to any official side, Al-Bursh said, but when it succeeded, the two let local and international media know about their success.

The two said they hoped a local supply of biofuel for cooking gas could decrease Gaza’s dependence on the limited quantities allowed into the Strip by Israeli crossings authorities.

The Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA) in Gaza told the UN last week that it would need at least 2,000 tones of cooking gas and an uninterrupted transfer of 200-250 tones each day in order to overcome the ongoing shortfall.

A UN report said that last week, a total of 843 tones of cooking gas entered Gaza, which constitutes 60 percent of the amount necessary to sustain the population.