Green Yemeni Innovation [Archives:1998/40/Reportage]

October 5 1998

Mohammed Abdulkarim Al-Ghabiry, 27, is a budding Yemeni innovator. Although he only has a scientific-section secondary school certificate, Al-Ghabiry has good scientific knowledge, which he acquired through the extensive reading of science books and journals. In short, he is a self-taught inventor.
Environmentally Friendly Bio-gas
One of his major innovations is the mobile bio-gas plant. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. So the need for household fuel at Al-Ghabiry’s remote home village in Dhamar and the difficulty to transport bottled gas, spurred him on to come up with something useful.
“The basic material source for the fuel gas produced by my mobile plant can be found in every village,” said Al-Ghabiry. “It is animal waste and decomposing plant matter, fermented in the machine and converted into methane gas,” he explained. Other materials used to manufacture the machine are ready available in the local market. “The gas produced is cleaned though a simple filtering process using water and harmless chemicals.”
Within three days of putting the organic matter in the machine’s tank, gas starts to form and is ready to be utilized. “The process resemble what takes place in the digestive system of an animal. However, using a filtering system, the gas produced is odorless.”
Experts Give Go Ahead
The device had been tested by Yemeni and foreign engineers and specialist, and was found to be fully functional, practical, economical, and environmentally friendly. A Dutch expert, who inspected the bio-gas device, has strongly recommended it to the Environment Protection Council. “It produces no chemicals or noxious fumes. Moreover, the by-products can be used as fertilizer following a full 12-day operation,” announced Al-Ghabiry.
Having relatively small dimensions Al-Ghabiry’s innovative machine can easily fit into the corner of an average household kitchen. “Size can be varied. A larger plant can be manufactured to supply several houses with cooking, heating and lighting fuel,” said Al-Ghabiry with a futuristic vision. “Or it can be made smaller to suit flats and small families in urban areas.
When did he first get the idea to construct such a machine?
“I started toying with the idea in 1989, but, due to lack of funds, was only able to realize in 1993. I got it patented at the Ministry of Trade and Supplies last year. The device’s prototype now stands in my mother’s kitchen, fully operational.”
Possible Benefit to Society & the Environment
According to Mohammed Al-Ghabiry, the mobile bio-gas plant can have the following positive effects:
1- Getting rid of animal and plant waste matter and food remains;
2- Producing fuel gas, thereby reducing dependence on firewood and halting the process of deforestation;
3- Improving living standards in the countryside by providing an alternative, cheaper source of fuel; and
4- Encouraging rural people to rear cattle and sheep, enriching the country’s livestock.
Adel J. Moqbil,
Yemen Times