Biodigester Project in Cambodia

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 2019 nearly 28,000 biodigesters were constructed through 118 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:

  • 27,980biodigesters constructed from March 2006 to December 2019 / 78,853 direct beneficiaries
  • 4%of constructed biodigesters still operational; i.e. 18,020 smoke-free kitchens (December 2019)
  • Biogas kitchen air pollution reduced with 88%(Particulate Matter 2.5).
  • $143 USD savingin expenditures on cookinge fuels per household per year

Employment creation:

  • 118 private enterprisesestablished of which 53 are active
  • 810 trainedmasons
  • 154 trainedsupervisors

Environmental benefits:

  • On average 52 tCO2reduced per digester in 2019
  • 821,440 tCO2reduced between May 2009 and December 2019
276,300 tonnes of wood saved