Cambodia National Biodigester Programme

  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 7. Affordable Clean Energy
  • 8. Work + Economic Growth
  • 13. Climate Action

Domestic biodigesters provide a way for individual households with livestock to reduce their dependence on polluting firewood and expensive fossil fuels for cooking and lighting. The project also provides additional benefits with the bio-slurry providing a great means for fertilizing and improving local agricultural production.

The domestic biodigester disseminated in Cambodia is a ‘Farmer’s Friend’, a fixed dome digester, which has a lifespan of over 20 years. The smallest and most popular digester on the market, it can treat the waste from 2-3 bovines or 4-6 pigs and costs around $500 excluding an investment subsidy of $150.

The Cambodian National Biodigester Programme was originally set up in 2006 by the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and SNV Netherlands Development Organization. In the period March 2006 to December 2018 over 27,000 biodigesters were constructed through 107 micro-enterprises in 15 provinces. The programme was one of the first large-scale biogas projects certified to Gold Standard with support from HIVOS. Since 2017, MAFF uses money generated from the sale of carbon credits to continue running and expanding this programme.

What makes the Programme unique?

  • An important success factor is the special biogas loan that is made available through three nationally operating micro-finance institutions.  Since 2010, over 70% of households have used a biogas loan to finance their biodigester. Loans are generally paid back within two years.
  • The Programme works with a market-based model and has the intention to develop the sector in such a way that it can run without direct involvement of the Programme. The private sector development arm of NBP is therefore establishing independent enterprises in rural areas and building the capacity of those enterprises on marketing and promotion, internal quality control and after sales services.

Project impacts and benefits:

Livelihood and health improvement:

  • 27.231 biodigesters constructed from March 2006 to December 2018 / 93.561 direct beneficiaries
  • 75.5% of constructed biodigesters still operational; i.e. 20,560 smoke-free kitchens (December 2018)
  • Biogas kitchen air pollution reduced with 88% (Particulate Matter 2.5).
  • 29,5 averted deaths and 1,442 averted Disability Adjusted Life Years (ADALYs) realized from 2006 to 2014 with projection of 51 averted deaths and 2,519 ADALYs up to 2020
  • 3.028 biodigester connected toilets
  • $143 USD saving in expenditures on cookinge fuels per household per year

Employment creation:

  • 107 private enterprises established of which 53 are active
  • 810 trained masons
  • 154 trained supervisors

Environmental benefits:

  • On average 5,05 tCO2 reduced per digester per year
  • 759,000 tCO2 reduced between May 2009 and December 2018
  • 257,300 tonnes of wood saved

Photos 2, 3 and 4: Charlotte Pert/ Hivos

“Previously I mixed cow manure with chemical fertilizers, but my crop yield remained low. With the biodigester however, the bio-slurry has improved the soil fertility and my crop yields are much better now, and in addition, biogas has reduced the cost of cooking too!”
Chhim Dy, Biogas owner