Rural Biogas Development- One Digester with Three Facilities [China]

approaches_2658 - China

Completeness: 58%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:

Wang Yaolin


GEF/OP12 Gansu Project Implementation Office (Gansu Sand Control Institute)


Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
GEF/OP12 Gansu Project (GEF/OP12 Gansu Project) - China
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
CDE Centre for Development and Environment (CDE Centre for Development and Environment) - Switzerland

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

A campaign of “One digester with three facilities”, launched by the government and promoted by demonstration, is going on Jingyuan County of Gansu Province. This campaign is aimed at improving biogas digester and three facilities used in the kitchen, animal house and toilet.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

The demonstration project is located in Jingyuan County of Gansu Province. Historically, Jingyuan is a naturally harsh region, where shortage of "three materials” (materials for fuel, fodder and building) are felt. Furthermore, ecological degradation has led to poverty of the rural community. In the 1970s the government encouraged people to use biogas digesters, and in the 1980s the government called people to use firewood saving stoves and solar cookers, which to a certain extent alleviated the rural shortage of fuel material. However, due to financial and technical constraints the biogas application had a very limited progress.
In May 1979 the National Biogas Application Conference was convened. After this conference a Biogas Office was set up in Jingyuan County dealing with the promotion of the biogas technology. During the period of the Five-year Plan the entire Gansu Province implemented a pilot village program entitled “Ecological Homestead and Enriching People”, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, in addition to the National Programme of Conversion of Farmland to Forest and of the Program of Poverty Reduction. Some farmers spontaneously made investment to build biogas digesters. Since 2003 the government has launched a series of programs, including a program of rural biogas digesters (financed by treasure bonds) and large/medium-sized biogas engineering program (financed by Ministry of Agriculture). Powered by these programs, more households were using biogas, and the scope of use was expanded to cover integrated uses in addition to lighting, cooking and boiling etc. In 2003, Jingyuan county had 121 certified biogas workers, and over 2100 sets of biogas digesters, including 1200 sets with advanced technology (lateral hydraulic automatic rotational-flowed digester). Four pilot villages were arranged. At present total of 6000 households are using biogas in the county.
The extension of biogas digesters is made mainly through project demonstration under the leadership of the county energy office. The extension approaches are: training, village meetings, on-the-spot explanations, handouts distribution. Trainees are the rural biogas technicians, administration staff as well as the farmers. Generally speaking, the village meeting is convened firstly for farmers to discuss and decide who should be financed by the project for biogas digester construction. In course of the publicity and construction, the county energy office staffs are responsible for answering the inquiries. The project or government will supply the building materials while farmers are responsible for transportation and labor input. The households which use 'one digester with three facilities' have an advanced digester with features of simple structure, reasonable layout and convenient operation. It also features more automatic operation, high gas production, easy cleaning and environment friendly.

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:

Jingyuan County

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

Aims are to establish effective extension mechanism, raise community participation capability, alleviate soil erosion, provide energy to rural areas to meet daily needs; and improve rural living environment
The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: community lacks funds for biogas digester construction; community lacks biogas knowledge; community lacks effective organization; households lack fuel; farmers are extremely poor; arid climate, low rainfall, low land productivity;

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Short of Found: Current technological application is supported by the project. Those areas without a project have difficulties adopting it because of high initial investment.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Seek more social support and governmental special finances.

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

Natural factor: Low temperature in late fall, early spring and winter has an influence on biogas output.
Treatment through the SLM Approach: To keep biogas digester warm by combining animal breeding in warm houses.

  • hindering

Low knowledge level: Some farmers feel difficulties to learn and accept new technology, and can not manage and operate the biogas facilities correctly.
Treatment through the SLM Approach: Increase training intensity

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities
  • national government (planners, decision-makers)
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation passive The departments at levels of Province, prefecture and county conduct surveys, convene meetings, carry out publicity to make villagers aware of the purpose of project.
planning external support Villagers have consultations with design staff/technicians.
implementation self-mobilization Farmers contribute labor and participate in the construction work.
monitoring/ evaluation external support Related departments explain the purpose of monitoring to the villagers and encourage them to participate in monitoring recording and reporting.
Research external support Join In the digester construction and analysis of socio-economic effect during process of introduction and research of new technologies.

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Were decisions on the selection of the Technology(ies) made:
  • Land users and the government

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by Government and farmers

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Form of training:
  • demonstration areas
Subjects covered:

The contents of training are: biogas digester construction, operation, maintenance and the use of dregs and residue liquid. The training forms are: demonstrations, meetings, wall newspaper, household visits and brochure distribution. Training is conducted mainly by county-level technicians. The training plays an extremely important role in technological application and improved knowledge of farmer

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



bio-physical aspects were monitored by government through observations; indicators: Field vegetation cover, ratio change of coal consumption and firewood consumption, the temperature
technical aspects were monitored through observations; indicators: Gas production is obtained by observations and tests.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Research work has been mainly conducted at national and provincial levels, with little participation by farmers.

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: local community / land user(s) (Households): 23.0%; other (Project finance): 77.0%

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)


Building material such as cement, brick, plastic pipe etc., are wholly or partially financed by the project while working tools such as shovels, tractor and pickaxe is supplied by farmer households.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

At the beginning, the extension was done by efforts of government cadres to mobilizing the farmers. Now it is the government-project- farmer integrated extension pattern. Most farmers now have strong wishes to build biogas digesters and the biogas digester have evolved from single energy use to the

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The technology has been adopted in the county as well as the surrounding areas.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Governmental extension combined with farmer spontaneous adoption of the technology (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: reinforce propaganda, training )
Increase capability and knowledge level of farmers (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: access more projects to cover more biogas users)
Add income (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: reinforce integrated development )
Promote organic agriculture (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: further develop the uses of residues)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Relatively complicated technology reinforce training and propaganda
The inputs are higher obtain more external support

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

Links and modules

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