- Project overview
- Biogas and biomass
- Nepal: Biogas plants for household energy
|Total savings :||730.000 tonnes of CO₂ per year in over 240,000 biogas plants|
|Technology transfer :||Biogas units for the energy supply to the rural households of Nepal|
|Local environment :||Replaces non-renewable wood, gas and kerosene, prevents deforestation, produces the useful by-product slurry (fertile liquid manure)|
|Further advantages :||Creates jobs in the construction and maintenance of the biogas units/ Hygiene|
|Project partners :||Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), Biogas Sector Partnership - Nepal, 34 microfinance institutions, over 100 biogas plant manufacturers nationwide|
Nepal’s territory is geographically divided into three regions: Mountains, Hills and the Terai (Lowland). Of the estimated 26 million inhabitants, about 87% resides in rural areas and only 14% live in urban areas. The country is shaped by subsistence farming. Agriculture is the sector in which more than half of the people are employed.
However, only a part of the area in Nepal is suitable for agricultural use and highly dependent on the monsoon. The increased use of agriculturally unsuitable soils and the consequences of climate change lead to erosion damage, increasing landslides and floods in many places. The situation is exacerbated by the decline of forests. Because wood is the main source of energy for households in rural Nepal for cooking and hence, the forests are deforesting every year. The high population growth and the expansion of agricultural land speed up this process.
Moreover, cooking and heating with wood especially for women and children is a health risk, due to smoke. These are exposed to the nascent smoke during the direct combustion of wood. This is not just making it hard to breathe and irritates the eyes. It also causes serious lung diseases.
Under the “Biogas Support Program” – Nepal (BSP-Nepal) small biogas plants are built at households in the rural areas of Nepal, in order to guarantee an environmental friendly energy supply. Target group under the project are households who currently use non-renewable biomass (firewood) for cooking purpose. These households need at least two head of cattle (generally cows or buffalos) to allow sufficient manure accumulation to feed the plant and keep it running continuously. The slurry is mixed with water (approximately 1:1 mixing ratio) and is collected in a septic tank. By anaerobic digestion gas is produced which is collected in the upper part of the tank. This gas is running through pipes to the gas stoves in the household’s kitchen. Therefore, the families, who install a biogas unit, do not require firewood for cooking anymore.
Additionally, there is the option to connect a latrine to the biogas system, which will improve the sanitary conditions of the households remarkably. The latest documentation showed that 80% of the households decided to connect the already existing latrine to the biogas plant. Moreover, the smoke-free incineration of biogas reduces smoke emissions and indoor-air-pollution. These benefits fundamentally improve the household’s sanitary conditions as well as living conditions in general. The families, especially women, save time since there is no need to collect firewood anymore. The saved time can now be used for other productive activities. The slurry (digestate) can later be used in agriculture land as fertilizer and thus helps to improve the soil and thus saving money from buying chemical fertilizer. New jobs are arising from the construction and maintenance of the biogas systems. Furthermore, the biogas digesters reduce deforestation and thus avoid soil erosion end loss of biodiversity.
To support families that decide to invest in a small biogas plant, our project partner AEPC offers a countrywide subsidy program as well as access to microfinance institutions. Together, this support covers 80% of the funding costs.
In cooperation with AEPC atmosfair successfully extended the project period under CDM and Gold Standard. By another 7 years the project can now be further extended. In 2020, we registered another 10.000 biogas plants. In total until today about 240.000 biogas plants have been built as part of this project.
The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) is a government institution established in 1996 under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Its main objective is to develop and promote renewable energy technologies in Nepal. In this Gold Standard CDM project, which is part of the Biogas Sector Partnership Nepal, AEPC is the executive agency.