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Nepal: Biogas Program
(Community Development Carbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference Nos.: 0136 , 0139 , 5415 , 5416

Project Photo 1
Biogas is produced through an anaerobic digestion of cattle dung in a biogas digester and contains a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases (Photo: World Bank)

Project Description
The project aims to develop biogas use as a commercially viable, market-oriented industry in Nepal. Between 2004 and 2009 the project will install 162,000 quality-controlled, small-sized biogas plants in the Terai, Hill, and Mountain regions of Nepal. The estimated useful life of a biogas plant is 20 years and its rate of successful operation has been 97 percent.

The provision of subsidies has been a key element in making these biogas plants accessible to poor households. Revenue from the CDCF will reduce the dependency on large government and external donor subsidies and will help expand the biogas installation to more remote and poorer areas of Nepal. These biogas plants displace traditional fuel sources for cooking-fuel wood, kerosene, and agricultural waste and introduce the proper treatment of animal and human wastes as well as produce a high-quality organic fertilizer. Each biogas plant can reduce 4.6 tCO2e annually. The project will generate a total of approximately 6.5 million tCO2e during the crediting period of 10 years. The CDCF expects to purchase a minimum of 1 million tCO2e, with the potential of additional purchases.

Project Photo 2
One community benefit is the reduction in kitchen smoke which will improve indoor air quality leading to improved health primarily for mothers and children (Photo: World Bank)

Current Context
Nepal is an agrarian country where more than 80 percent of the population has agriculture as a primary occupation. Rural people spend most of their time in agricultural and household activities and struggle to provide their basic necessities. Only 10 percent of households are connected to the power grid. Most energy comes from traditional fuels such as fuelwood and animal dung. The dependence on fuelwood has contributed greatly to deforestation resulting in fuelwood scarcity and widespread erosion. Fossil fuel such as kerosene is expensive for many rural people. The villagers, in particular women, often spend hours collecting fuelwood in order to cook a proper meal each day.

Community Benefits
The project has inherent direct benefits. Consultations have taken place between the Biogas Support Program, BSP-Nepal, biogas companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and householders. Householders were involved from the beginning of the process in order to understand their needs, the possibilities of the technology, and where to locate it. The Biogas-Support Program also involves NGOs to disseminate information about the benefits of biogas plants. Addressing indoor air quality, waste management, and time management were among the most important issues for the local community. The additional deliverables from the plan are direct and integral benefits of the project.




Families were encouraged to construct a latrine attached to the biogas digester, and 65 percent of biogas user households have connected their latrines with the plant. The addition of human waste to the process will increase gas production as well as improve local sanitation and hygiene and reduce the incidence of disease.

Reduction in pollution

Kitchen smoke is the main factor in indoor air pollution. By using the new biogas fueled stoves, indoor air pollution is dramatically reduced. In 2005-2006, 91 percent households reported a reduction in indoor smoke after the installation of biogas plants.

Lower incidence of disease

Installing latrines and biogas fueled stoves will lower the incidence of common diseases such as eye infections, respiratory disease, smoking-induced coughs, diarrhea, dysentery, and parasites among both adults and children.

Improved agricultural yields

Applying bio-slurry, the byproduct of biogas production will improve soil fertility and increase agricultural output. A side benefit is reduced use of chemical fertilizers, saving money and the environment.

Employment creation

Construction of the biogas plants generates both part-time and full-time work. BSP estimates that for every 100,000 plants, about 10,000 masons, laborers, and other employees are permanently employed.

Timesaving for women

Biogas plants reduced women's need to collect fuelwood and thus their workload. BSP estimates that women save three hours daily per household using biogas for cooking versus cooking with collected fuelwood. Some 59 percent of the women reported that they used the saved time in various activities like income-generating efforts, attending literacy class, recreation, social work, and so on.

Reduction in firewood consumption

The biogas fuel for cooking has resulted in reduced pressure on native forests for fuelwood. Users' survey data indicates that household fuelwood consumption was reduced by about 50 percent in both the Hill and Terai regions of Nepal following installation of biogas plants.

Time Frame: 2004-2009

Monitoring Plan: A set of indicators has been developed to monitor the community benefits from project implementation. To verify the satisfactory delivery of community benefits, the monitored indicators will be compared with baseline values.


Punyadumari Sanjel (Photo: World Bank)

“The new stove is cleaner, faster and more reliable. Before, smoke used to irritate my eyes, and nose and lungs, and I had less energy. Now I don’t have any of these problems. Before, I used to spend three hours preparing a meal. With the new stove I spend half that time. Now I can use that extra time to do other things at home.”
Punyadumari Sanjel, age 70

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