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National Biodigester Programme in Cambodia.

In Cambodia, the emission-intensive fossil fuel kerosene is used for lighting, and food is usually cooked on open wood fires. The resulting smoke constitutes a substantial health hazard especially for those in charge of cooking, i.e. women and children.

Moreover, collecting fire wood leads to deforestation. Due to the carbon dioxide bound in plants, cutting down trees contributes to global warming. Another problem resides in the unmanaged animal waste which is both unhygienic and causes methane emissions. This Cambodian project provides a sustainable solution to these issues. 20.000 biodigesters of a size of 4-15 m3 are disseminated to families in eight provinces across the country. In addition, each participating household receives a biogas stove, biogas lamps, and all the necessary piping. Local pig and cow manure is collected and stored in the biodigesters where microbes turn it into biogas which can be used for cooking, lighting, and heating water.

Environmental impacts:

  • Impact on soil and water: Reduction of deforestation which simultaneously prevents soil erosion, the destruction of natural habitats, and the loss of biodiversity; prevention from land fertility degradation due to reduced use of chemical fertilizers, replaced by bio-slurry; better waste management system.
  • Impact on air and climate: Gas harnessing by biodigesters avoids polluting methane emissions.

Expected social and economic co-benefits:

  • Improvement of hygienic conditions by removing previously unmanaged animal manure
  • Improvement of living conditions by eliminating hazardous smoke from wood fires
  • Time previously needed to collect wood can now be used more productively for agriculture or education
  • Job creation through construction and maintenance of biogas digester