Millions of people worldwide are living in areas that are disconnected from local services such as water and electricity. These services represent the basic physiological human needs for survival, and without which, impact on the greatest necessity of all, nutrition. This disconnection is referred to as being 'Off-Grid'.
Living off-grid has a direct impact on quality of life and health and it is the most prominent indicator of the global injustice in the distribution of resources. In most of these cases, there is no future prospect of obtaining traditional grid connectivity. Consequently, there is a dire need to implement solid strategies and tools to deal with the implications of living off-grid.
Implications such as irregular water supplies, or the need to travel great distances to reach a safe water source; sanitation issues; difficulties in cooling and storing food and medicine safely, or even the simplest of necessities that many take for granted such as being able to charge small appliances such as cell phones or laptops. The list goes on.
The attempt to deal with these implications is part of an overall effort to tackle world poverty in developing countries. Currently there are multiple organizations that try and deal with off-grid living, such as the UN, the World Bank and other aid organizations and businesses.
Benefaction in these areas cannot be planned without familiarity of the sociological structures and individual needs and personalities of these communities. In the past, several unnecessarily complicated or high maintenance technologies were sent to off-grid areas with the best of intentions, yet these provided unsuitable solutions for the local populations and consequently wasted unnecessary resources.
For these reasons Eilat-Eilot established the Off-Grid village, located in Kibbutz Ketura. The initiative has now grown and flourished thanks to cooperation with the Arava Institute, which has been heavily involved with African communities as well as Bedouin communities in Israel and with the cooperation of Capital Nature who provide the technological backing to the project.
This village was founded to be a platform for technology companies, young entrepreneurs and others who are passionate about developing appropriate off-grid solutions. The village now serves as a place for experimentation and demonstration of solutions in a "natural environment". More so, the village is enabling the wide exposure of these technologies, and is now becoming a showcase for aid organizations and companies who wish to take these innovative technologies into the field.
Tours and Seminars
We offer educational, hand on experience tours and seminars in off-grid living. Topic range from cooking, harnessing the sun, bio-gas, water, climatic building solutions and many more. All tours and seminars are tailor made to the group's background and available time. For details contact us
Also, during the 2017 academic program is implemented in the field of 'Off grid technologies to the developing world' as part of engineering studies.
Current Installed Technologies
The rural structure was planned in line with traditional and current designs found in rural developing regions. Only minor improvements were included in the design of the structure. Traditional houses are designed mainly to provide shadow and ventilation. The thatched roof, not completely sealed, allows for a more pleasant temperature within the building. This common climate-aware design found around the world is logical and incorporates many advantages. However, there is one main disadvantage to this design: lack of adequate natural light for reading and writing. To solve this problem Arch. Vital added windows below the roof to allow for hot air additional outlet as well as for more natural light to enter during the whole day.
The urban structure is an example of residential quarters in informal urban settlements (slums). The goal of this structure was to improve the design of the structure with minimal investment.
Ventilation is a very important issue not only for temperature reasons but also from a health standpoint of air turnover. Therefore,the design includes a double roof- The first roof is a roof of palm leaves allows air to enter through the outside, and the second roof is a metal roof that protects the structure from rain.
Another imporvment we included are plywood walls that include an insulating layer made from simple materials- straw or unprocessed sheep wool.
This structure is low priced and simple to build. Plywood was the chosen construction material as it is common and cheap in developing countries.
The method of building with sacks of soil, also called ‘Earthbags’, is relatively new and only recently has become practiced throughout the world. Iranian born American Architect Nader Khalili developed this method in the 1980’s. The main advantage of this method is rapid deployment and inexpensive construction. The outcome is a rigid, stable, and thermally balanced structure.
The dome shape offers the following advantages:
1. The static weight of the structure is divided better and there is no need for deep foundations.
2. The roof is part of the dome itself. The roof becomes the wall, so there is no need for beams and a separate roof structure.
3. It is relatively simple and cheap to create many designs with the Earthbag method. The bags are easily manipulated templates that can be filled with local soil.
In this structure we added a special designe of a two-layered dome casing- thermal mass layer of compacted local soil in sacks, and an external insulating layer made from a mixture of straw and soil. The combination of two layers gives the optimal thermal balance for manyclimates worldwide.
For more information watch a video showing sand bags building in Jordan
Power supply solar suitcase
KALIPACK solar suitcase gives an answer in places where there is no national grid. Situations in which there is no network range around common situations: Grid disconnected (natural disasters), a forced situation (you want to connect but can't...), you choose to disconnect (outdoors). The suitcase provides a useful solution for all the energy required for basic home use, when the network crashes or when there is no network.
The suitcase has three main elements: the ability to produce energy from 3 sources - electricity, vehicle and solar; Storage - Lithium-Ion batteries, the most advanced technology in the world today for a battery, in terms of weight and size ratio to mass amounts of energy; UseBility - Monitoring battery usage: very useful for all low voltage, working at 12V. Basically, everything that loads from a vehicle is loaded from the suitcase: a small refrigerator, a laptop, lighting, medical devices (a common solution today for charging professional and medical supplies is through car's charging. A problem when the vehicle needs to stay driven to operate the equipment, it pollutes). Many aid organizations are looking for such solutions.
From waste to energy
In our off-grid village we installed one of the smallest domestic bio-gas systems. The main advantage in this specific system is efficient waste disposal from organic trash and cattle manure- those are usually a nuisance and a hygiene problem, but with this system they can produce three necearay products:
1. Methane gas for cooking
2. Water heating
3. Home lighting
When we think of our most basic human needs, we often think of food, water and shelter and tend to forget a critical need: light. LuminAID has developed a product that is chargeable and easy to use, providing access to light in relief aid situations and also for outdoors use.
Combining kinetic and potential energy, GravityLight works by connecting an elevated weight - filled with rocks or sand - to a pulley system that slowly powers a generator as the weight falls to the ground. GravityLight is tested and compliant with numerous industry standards. Producing a light over five times brighter than a typical open-wick kerosene lamp, GravityLight offers a safe alternative to kerosene. In conducted trials, over 90% of the off-grid households who tried GravityLight said they would use it instead of a kerosene lamp.
A sustainable system for growing fresh vegetables at low costs and resources of LivingBox. The system is based on soilless culture technique -hydroponics. The system is built of modular units, fitting together similar to LEGO blocks, allowing it to be remodeled and adapted to any allocated area and to any desired size.
The system is able to grow a wide range of fruit and vegetables like: lettuce, basil, tomatoes, mint, kale, cucumbers, onions, pumpkin and more.
This method can save up to 80% water use, providing up to five times more produce and can be used anywhere: in the yard, at home or on the roof.
Solar oven - Vacuum Tubes
The tubes are installed in the southern part of the urban structure, so that they receive the most sunlight. The isolated tubes absorb the sun's heat and warm through a thermal effect into very higher temperatures, even higher than boiling temperature. The warmth and insulation quality also allows keeping the water hot throughout the night.
The receiver is made of a double layer with inner and outer glass and vacuum between them. Thanks to the vacuum the receivers insulate the heat excellently, allowing the water to heat up even on cold and sunny winter days - better ability to warm even on cloudy days without direct radiation.
An energy generating pot
The technology is installed at the bottom of the POWERPOT, which is produced in the United States, taking advantage of the heat energy emitted in the cooking process (from the fire), and in a thermoelectric process produces power.
The electricity that is generated can be used for almost any need - Charging the phone, lighting and actually it is an electrical outlet for everything.
The cooker works on a simple principle of concentrated radiation. On a normal sunny day, with this cooker, it is possible to boil water in about 15 minutes and cook rice or beans in an hour. The only option for off grid areas is cooking on an open fire, a polluting process that can become a health hazard due to smoke inhaling, and it's a process that requires effort in gathering the wood, chopping it and building the fire. A solar cooker for off grid areas is a healthy, sustainable solution.
An independent solar water distillation system developed by SunDwater, offers an accessible and simple solution to the problem of drinking water. Running the facility does not require a dedicated infrastructure or external power source. This unique solution by SunDwater converts contaminated or salty water into drinking water and/or irrigation by concentration radiation. This eco-friendly solution relies on natural energy sources and thus solves the problem of the drinking water availability without creating another environmental problem. It is easy to implement and operate on a daily basis.
Water and Waste Water Treatment
NUFiltration Ltd. developed the NUF™ technology in the field of water and waste water treatment.
NUF™ technology is based on a worldwide applied patent, providing for the reuse of sterilized medical devices - (UltraFiltration filters at 3.3 nm nominal filtration rate) - in the field of water treatment. NUFiltration Ltd revolutionary Water Purifier Unit has been specially designed for implementation in developed countries, with the following main characteristics:
Solar Water Pumping
Agriculture is the most important economic activity in developing countries, where over 50% of the population depends on it. Improving crop yields and quality can lead to a significant change in quality of life, especially in areas that are off-grid. As part of an agricultural project of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in Ethiopia, a need for transporting water quickly and efficiently from a natural water source to remote and rural areas without electricity or water network. It was clear that the solution will come from renewable energy.
While irrigation, the system is placed near an available water source and uses solar energy to run electric water pump, which fills water storage tank. The crops irrigation and the flow is regulated by a manual tap. The system is designed so that it can provide electricity to activate household electrical appliances such as power tools and night lighting. In addition, the system is portable and can be transferred, and thus is able provide a solution for several farmers and produce an economic model that justifies its existence.