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.
A big thanks goes out to Lotan's Green Apprenticeship volunteers who lent a hand in building the cabins.
Vision For Future Development
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
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
Off Grid Alert System
uses minimal energy and can be powered with a small solar panel. The technology can be calibrated to activate based on the users needs. When the system is activated an SMS is sent to the user.
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
Optimizinbg off-grid systems
Web platform for monitoring and optimizinbg of off-grid energy resources. The solution include a web based platform for viewing real time information streams, data traffic to and from the server with convenient user-friendly information display. The system makes it cheaper and more efficient to maintain those monitored off-grid systems.
A sustainable system for growing fresh vegetables at low costs and resources. 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 will be able to grow a wide range of fruit and vegetables, e.g. lettuce, basil, tomatoes, mint, kale, cucumbers, onions, pumpkin and more.
Vacuum Tube Solar Oven
using sunlight is installed on the south side of the structure. The insulated inner tubes absorb the sun’s energy. A thermos effect created within the tubes quickly heats up water or food to boiling temperatures, and keeps the water well over 100 degrees even over night.
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 biol rice or beans in an hour. The only former option for off grid areas was cooking on an open fire, a polluting process that can become a health hazard do 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.
A solar water desalination system by SunDwater
Converting contaminated and unsafe water into potable water for consumption or irrigation. The unit is capable of converting contaminated, unsafe or salt water into potable water for consumption or irrigation. Operating the system does not require any infrastructure or external energy source (harnessing solar heat and power as its direct energy spring ).
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
Solar water pumping system by Engineers Without Borders Israel organization. The system is designed for Africa, for farmers and small families. When the system is placed near a water source it uses solar power to run the pump. The pump works in full capacity during the day time and fills the water tank located at a height. Hydrostatic pressure is buiolding up in tank during the day, makes the water stream available for all crops, regardless of sunlight or pump function at any specific moment. With the help of this system, as well as training of farmers, improvement of seeds, etc., yields could rise by 200 per cent and more - from 2 tons to 7 tons. The system can provide approximately 70 cubic meters per day, which water approx an area of 5 dunams.