Gaza Oil Blockade Fuels Innovative Solutions
Necessity breeds ingenuity – the old cliché is certainly true when it comes to the recent oil shocks. We’ve already seen American farmers turning to mule power, airlines slowing down and returning to turboprop aircraft. Heck, we’ve even seen American drivers abandoning the Hummer. But while the above solutions are an encouraging sign that our fuel-hungry ways are not as ingrained as we might first think, we can still learn a lot from regions where energy supplies are even less stable. Gaza, for example, has been hit hard by Israeli fuel sanctions, and while some folks have been turning to falafel oil to ease their woes, a couple of innovative Palestinian engineers, Fayez Annan and Wasseem Al Khazendar, have converted their Peugot 205 into an efficient, clean electric vehicle that is taking Gaza by storm and generating interest abroad:“With desperately scarce petrol costing about £1 per litre – and more than three times that on the black market – a six or seven-hour charge provides enough power to cover 110 miles at a cost of just over 90p. And all you need to charge the batteries is a simple mains plug. "It is like charging your mobile," says Mr Annan. "You can do it anywhere – even while you are shopping."
But, explains Mr Khazendar, it was the current situation that spurred him to action. The blockade paradoxically provided a double incentive. Growing fuel shortages sharpened interest in alternative forms of transport and, with the shutdown of industry and therefore no demand for Mr Khazendar's products, there was, he bluntly explains "no work".
This conversion has already lead to inquiries from over 400 would-be customers, keen to take advantage of the technology to ease their own struggles with oil shortages. And with Israel also embracing electric vehicles as the wave of the future, it seems that the insecurities brought by present conflicts may just also seed the solutions for future peace - especially if this project for 1000MW of solar in the Negev ever takes off.
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Shalom, Salaam, and Eco-peace from the Middle East