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Cambodia Biodigesters

This project is installing biogas digesters in rural Cambodia, which convert animal manure into a renewable source of energy. By reducing the need to burn wood indoors, the project reduces greenhouse gas emissions, prevents deforestation, and improves indoor air quality.

Where & Why

In Cambodia, many rural families lack access to electricity and are forced to cook their meals over open wood fires. This releases harmful pollutants into the air which can cause health problems such as stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer. Worldwide, nearly 4 million people die each year as a result of indoor air pollution. 

Along with these health concerns, cooking over wood fires is also harmful to the environment. Sourcing the wood depletes local forest resources, while burning it releases high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Relying on wood fuel also places an extra burden on women who are typically responsible for gathering and cooking over it. The more time that women spend collecting wood and cooking, the less time they have for education, work, or socializing with their family. 

At the same time, many rural Cambodian families raise livestock and struggle to dispose of their herd’s waste in a hygienic manner. This coupled with poor sanitation leads to diseases, such as diarrhea. Additionally, the cow or pig dung releases harmful methane emissions as it breaks down.

How & Who

This project is installing dome biogas digesters outside of households in rural Cambodia. To date, more than 27,000 digesters have been installed; this phase of the project aims to install 8,600 more. Local people are trained as masons and earn an income constructing the digesters. These digesters convert the animal waste into biogas – a much cleaner, renewable fuel source. The biogas is then piped into households where families can use it for cooking and lighting. Because families are able to use the manure produced by their own cows or pigs to feed the digesters, the biogas is a highly affordable energy source. 

Along with biogas, the digesters produce bio-slurry, which is the remaining treated animal waste. This bio-slurry is rich in nutrients and can be used by farmers to fertilize their fields and increase their crop yields. This reduces the need for harmful chemical fertilizers. Because the bio-slurry has been hygienically treated, the project also helps prevent diseases caused by poor animal waste management. 

Thanks to their new biogas fuel, families no longer need to prepare their meals over wood fires. As a result, the project improves indoor air quality and reduces deforestation. Each digester is expected to prevent around 3MT of CO2 emissions each year. 

The use of biogas also cuts down the amount of time that women spend on tasks like collecting wood, cooking over the fires, and cleaning soot off of their pots and pans. The project further promotes gender equality by ensuring women are included in trainings and village meetings.

Environmental Benefits

  • Mitigates climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Fights deforestation
  • Produces organic fertilizer

Community Benefits

  • Trains local community members 
  • Creates jobs
  • Provides an affordable energy source
  • Improves indoor air quality 
  • Improves hygiene and health
  • Improves living conditions of women 
  • Increases local food security

Project Type

Energy

Forests

Location

Annual CO2 Reduction

10,000 metric tons CO2e

SDGs Supported

Verification Standard

Project Developers

Cambodia’s National Biodigester Programme

Project Documents

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