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Household Agricultural Biogas, Vietnam

Transforming waste into a clean, affordable energy supply for 800,000 people

Project overview

  • Region: Asia

  • Project type: Household devices, Resource recovery

  • Standards: Gold Standard

This Ashden award winning Gold Standard project has installed over 170,000 small scale biogas plants in households and small livestock operations across 55 provinces in Vietnam. Small fixed-dome biogas plants, also known as anaerobic digesters, provides a clean, affordable, and convenient form of energy to some of the two million rural families with pig farms that create huge odour and waste problems. In addition, jobs are created for local populations, improved sanitation and reduced air pollution enhances health, and the replacement of synthetic fertilisers greatly reduces the environmental impact on surface and groundwater. The project reduces emissions by preventing the release of methane and by replacing the use of unsustainable fuels like firewood, charcoal and kerosene, and unsustainable chemical fertilisers.

Sustainable Development Goals

The project delivers emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13). In addition, the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. These include:

  • Affordable and Clean Energy: Households no longer need to purchase fuel or collect wood for their energy needs, and the bio-slurry by-product can be used as an organic fertiliser alternative. Households can save US $120 per year from avoided fuel purchase and US $62 per year from avoided fuel purchase of chemical fertiliser. These savings can be a significant proportion of income, particularly as nearly half of project households make between US $1,100-$2,800 per year (2,000,000– 5,000,000 VND per month).
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: The most common response from users in purchasing household biogas plants is that they are looking for a “cleaner house and environment.” Over a third of biogas systems have been connected to household toilets, resulting in an improved living environment. The World Bank estimates there are 27 million pigs in Vietnam that produce sanitary and environmental problems, with the total animal waste estimated to be 80 million tonnes per year for the entire country.

Read More information to find out how the project delivers other sustainable development benefits.

  • Good Health and Wellbeing for People: Indoor air pollution is reduced by using biogas as an alternative to other conventional forms of energy. Wood, which was previously used for cooking and kerosene, which was used for lighting, both have significant health risks associated with pollution. The biogas systems also reduce unpleasant odours by containing the waste in closed chambers, attracting fewer flies and helping decrease incidence of associated diseases. 
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: The project is helping create a new industry in using agricultural waste to generate free, renewable energy. Long-term employment opportunities are created with various masons and entrepreneurs involved in the project. The project provides more than 1,200 local masons who build the biogas plants with training and employment. The programme has also trained over 1,600 micro-entrepreneurs since 2003, with an average of six people working for each biogas enterprise. Staff members of the provincial and district extension offices support the programme with promotion, training, and supervision activities. In turn, this provides more business and financial skills for masons to operate their micro-enterprises self-sufficiently.
  • Life on Land: the biogas systems reduce the degradation of surface waters by preventing runoff of untreated manure. As households would previously source fuelwood from nearby forests, the project helps reduce pressure on these habitats by eliminating dependence on wood for fuel. 

Over 130,000 biogas plants have been installed across 53 provinces in Vietnam.

2,600 jobs and training opportunities have been offered to local masons.

There are 27 million pigs in Vietnam that produce sanitary and environmental problems, with the total animal waste estimated to be 80 million tonnes per year for the entire country

World Bank

Methane emissions are comparatively 25 times more impactful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (over a 100-year period).

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Phúc Trần Thị’s Story

Phúc lives in Bách Thuận, on a farm with her parents, husband, child, and 12 pigs. “We have had the bio digester for two months and it is working well. Before, we used ash as fertilizer which was very strong smelling. The neighbours noticed that there was less smell and have come to visit our home and now are interested in the biodigester technology.” “We used to use rice husk for cooking which made a lot of dust and smoky air pollution. The cost was approximately 200,000 VND / month, so even though we had to pay up front, the bio-digester helps to save money in the medium and long term.”