Sichuan Rural Poor-Household Biogas PoA

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health
  • 13. Climate Action

The rural regions of Sichuan Province are among the poorest in China. Low-income households have an average annual per capita income of less than 500 EUR, and the province contains 36 counties officially declared as "national poverty counties" by the Chinese government.

This Programme of Activity (PoA) is supporting the installation of one million biogas digesters and convenient smoke-free cookstoves in these low-income households. The digesters recover methane emissions originating from the widely used animal manure storage pits and provide participating households with clean, convenient and free biogas for cooking, heating, and lighting.

The programme also contributes to the formation of many certified technical service providers for biogas digesters and cookstoves, providing the participating households with free annual maintenance service and on-demand technical support via the large network of Rural Energy Offices in Sichuan. In doing so, the PoA prevents interruptions of biogas digester operation and reduces the risk of dangerous accidents.

By avoiding both methane emissions originating from the pits and carbon dioxide emissions from extensive household use of coal and firewood, this programme has the potential to save up to 20 million tCO2e within its 28-year lifetime.These projected savings correspond to roundabout half of Switzerland's annual GHG emissions.

The Sichuan Rural Poor-Household Biogas Programme of Activities (PoA) is jointly developed by German UPM Umwelt-Projekt-Management GmbH (UPM) and its long-term Chinese cooperation partner Chengdu Oasis Science & Technology Co., Ltd. It builds upon and complements a national government subsidy scheme for biogas promotion in rural areas of China and is being implemented in Sichuan by the Sichuan Rural Energy Office (SREO).

Achievements and Awards

This project is:

  • One of the largest in the world with respect to participating households, achieved co-benefits and annual GHG emissions reductions.
  • The first household biogas PoA to apply a new combination of CDM methodologies that are ideally suited for large-scale biogas development programmes at household level.
  • Shortlisted for the 2014 Ashden International Awards and is the winner of the 2014 Energy Globe Awards for the best national project in China.

Project impacts and benefits:

  • As of December 2015, this programme has reached nearly 400,000 rural Sichuan households with an average of 4.2 family members. Thus, a total of 1.68 million people are already benefitting from this PoA, including around 830,000 women and girls.
  • To date, the PoA has avoided more than 1.9 million tCO2e and more than 550,000 tons of coal.
  • The PoA shares a considerable portion of generated CER sales revenue with the participating poor rural households
  • Fuel switch towards climate friendly and renewable biogas puts an end to the farmer's dependency on expensive and dirty fossil fuels, leading to substantial expenditure savings.
  • Superior quality organic fertilizer produced in the biogas digester tanks increases both crop yields and the quality of agricultural products.
  • The practical biogas digesters and the highly efficient new cook stoves significantly reduce the time spent mostly by rural women collecting firewood or purchasing fossil fuel and firing up traditional stoves.
  • The PoA's smoke-free biogas cook stoves strongly reduce indoor air pollution with CO, SO2, PM10 and NH3 and avoid typical respiratory diseases, eye ailment etc. Especially for rural women and children, usually spending much of their time at home, these diseases still are a serious health issue.
  • The proper storage and recycling of animal manure and organic domestic waste in closed digester tanks instead of open pits avoids bad odours, flies, infectious diseases, water pollution and the degradation of arable land.
  • In addition, also considerable amounts of firewood are replaced by biogas which preserves biodiversity and valuable carbon sinks.
  • Much better sanitary and hygienic conditions at the farm sites improve public health tremendously.
  • There are substantial increases of available annual household income of up to 25% resulting from saved costs and time for supply with fossil fuels, higher crop yields and improved sanitation and health conditions.
  • According to SREO figures, the PoA contributes to creating thousands of permanent and temporary jobs related to distribution, installation and maintenance of biogas plants.

You can find out more about this project and how to help support it here>>

“I think that the main reason for building a digester is that it helps saving money. But it has also a lot of additional benefits: our home is now free of smoke, flies and smells. It is also much more convenient for me to manage our family business while taking care of the cooking. With more pigs we would even be able to use the biogas for lighting and heat water for the shower.”
Ms. Huang Mingying