Focus: Biogas digesters for Vietnam

A farmer woman in Vietnam uses a cooker supplied by a newly installed biogas digester (photo)

A farmer in Vietnam uses a cooker supplied with fuel from a newly installed biogas digester. We supported this award-winning carbon offsetting programme by buying our Voluntary Emissions Reductions from it.

In 2015, we supported one major offsetting programme through our Voluntary Emissions Reductions, a “Gold Standard” project providing biogas digesters in Vietnam. Biogas digesters decompose animal manure and toilet waste to produce biogas, which can replace petrol, coal, wood or agricultural residues as a fuel for cooking, heating and lighting.

By making these biogas digesters available to low-income livestock farmers in Vietnam, the project helps them to tackle two common problems: costly and unhealthy cooking and heating practices, and untreated animal waste. Biogas digesters generate a reliable supply of clean and affordable energy, and reduce the health problems associated with animal waste and using wood as fuel. The economic savings a family can make on cooking fuel are estimated at USD 120 per year, meaning that a digester pays for itself in four or five years.

Coupled with these significant social, environmental and economic benefits for the farming families, the project generates massive greenhouse gas reductions. These come from three sources: less use of fossil fuels, prevention of methane release from animal waste and reduction of deforestation. On top of this, biogas digesters produce a by-product called bio-slurry, which the farmers can use to improve soil fertility.

The award-winning project is active in 52 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces and municipalities. Until 2011, it had supported the construction of 110 000 plants; in its current Phase 2 it aims to support another 140 000 plants, benefiting a total of 840 000 people. The emissions reductions it achieved in 2015 were approximately 167 000 tonnes of CO2e.