- Project name
- Sichuan household biodigester project
- Project location
- Sichuan Province, China
- Funder and supplier
- Natural Capital Partners
- CDM, Gold Standard
- Project status
All project information is sourced from the supplier – correct as of July 2018
About the project
The project distributes small-scale biogas plants, aiming for installations in up to one million low income households with livestock across the Sichuan Province of China.
The project is being implemented in a particularly disadvantaged region of China, with a typical rural disposable income of €347 a year (2015 statistical yearbook: 2,614 CNY which is 353 using today’s exchange rate/May 2018). The Sichuan province contains 36 national poverty counties that qualify for economic assistance from the government.
About 2,000 people, most of them farmers and bricklayers before the project started, have been trained as biogas technicians to build the biogas plants and have been employed on a permanent basis by the Sichuan Rural Energy Office (SREO).
To support rural development and environmental protection, carbon finance is used to build on an existing governmental biogas programme to scale its distribution. Together with Chinese government subsidies, this covers roughly 40% of the cost of the biodigester, offering clean and affordable energy to homes.
By replacing solid fuels for household energy needs, the project reduces levels of indoor air pollution which can contribute to increased likelihood of respiratory illness. Biogas systems can also be connected to household toilets, leading to improved sanitary condition. Jobs are created for local masons and technicians.
As of December 2017, the project had installed over 395,000 biogas plants across the Sichuan province.
Contribution to carbon reduction
About 880,000 tonnes of CO2e per year and 3.3 million tonnes CO2e for the entire PoA since the project started in May 2012 up to the end of 2017.
How do the projects contribute to carbon reduction?
The project supports the installation of robust, locally appropriate biogas plants that store 6-10m3 of household swine waste. Through the process of anaerobic digestion, the biogas plants digest manure and recover the methane (CH4) by-product.
The biogas is then fed into appliances such as cookstoves, rice cookers, water heaters and lighting to displace coal as the main household energy source.
Biogas produced by the digesters burns cleanly without producing ash or smoke, delivering a significant improvement to the livelihoods of household members.
Aside from the greenhouse gas emission reductions from the fuel-switch, by diverting manure to the biogas plant, the project helps reduce emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere from decomposing manure in open deep pits.
- SDG 3 – Good Health & Well-being
The project replaces solid fuels like coal for household energy needs. Such fuels cause indoor air pollution which can contribute to increased likelihood of illness, including acute lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia in young children, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer in women (and to a lesser degree in men)
- SDG 5 – Gender Equality
Biogas produced by the digesters burns cleanly without producing ash or smoke, delivering a significant improvement to the livelihoods of household members.By displacing other fuel types, the biogas plants grant women more time for other activities, as they no longer need to collect biomass or travel to purchase coal or spend as much time watching over the meal preparation and tending the fire.
- SDG 6 – Clean Water & Sanitation
Some households connect household human waste to the bio-digestion systems improving sanitary conditions
- SDG 7 – Affordable & clean energy
The project improves energy access by offering a scaled, free, renewable and clean energy source (biogas) for cooking, lighting and heating.
- SDG 8 – Decent work & economic growth
The project specifically targets low income households, which are selected by the Sichuan Rural Energy Office (SREO) based on a comprehensive list of inclusion criteria (including per capita annual income).
Under the new Gold Standard for the Global Goals the above SDG impacts, as well as SDG 13 Climate Action, have been verified. However, a study conducted by the Centre for Sustainable Environmental Sanitation at the University of Science and Technology Beijing confirmed that the programme impacts at least 14 of the 17 UN SDGs.
Carbon finance is used to provide these selected households with financial support. Together with Chinese government subsidies, it covers roughly 40% of the cost of the biodigester.
With a sustainable and affordable energy source (biogas), households report a cost saving through avoided purchase of coal for cooking needs.
In addition to the subsidies the project has a clear revenue sharing plan1, distributing revenues from carbon sales to participating households, the local rural energy office that provides biodigester servicing, and to the project developers.
Across the entire region, there are over 10,550 staff working on installing biodigesters in rural households as part of the existing government programme.
About 2,000 people, most of them farmers and bricklayers before the project started, have been trained as biogas technicians to build the biogas plants and have been employed on a permanent basis by SREO. The large majority of staff are certified technicians working in service centres or independently, while others work on project monitoring and administration.
Added value benefits
Carbon management projects are able to contribute to improving the livelihoods of local their communities in significant ways. These benefits are a vital part of the broader aims of creating lasting social and environmental sustainability. The benefits are in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and include improvements to local economies through employment, higher value produce and infrastructure upgrades. Many projects will have health benefits, education improvements and a positive impact on gender equality. Different types of projects will carry different benefits. Research commissioned by ICROA and carried out by Imperial College in 2014 set to quantify the impact of voluntary carbon market investments.
For every one tonne of carbon emission reduction, biogas projects deliver additional added value equal to $3042:
- UPM gets 40%, OASIS gets 18%, households get 36%, SREO gets 6%.
- Source: Figures from ICROA survey Kountouris, Y., Makuch, Z., Tan Loh, E.F. (2014) ‘Quantification and Evaluation of the Voluntary Carbon Market’s Co-benefits’, Imperial College London University June 2014
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