Home Running Small-scale Shanximothers

Shanxi Mothers in China (photo: Martin Wright Ashden Awards)


Building fixed dome plant Nepal

IndianDome Floatingdrum

Floating drum plant India

Building fixed dome plant India

History of Biogas 2

Biogas Technology in Asia

The projects set up in China, India and Nepal continued effectively in different ways and are described in the new book. Ashden provide a useful video overview.

The technical weaknesses of the early Chinese project were overcome by the Biogas Research Centre in Chengdu. Quality standards were published. Technicians were trained to supervise the building of good quality plants. Many local agencies were still involved in the building of plants, but they had to used trained people. The programme did develop at a slower rate, but with a much lower failure rate. The rate has since increased again.

The Indian programme became much less centralised, as groups adapted the fixed dome design for India. KVIC adapted by developing fibre reinforced plastic floating drums as an alternative to steel drums. Several designs of fixed dome plant, based on the Chinese designs were developed such as the Janata and Deenabandu designs. As different NGOs and private companies manufactured these designs, quality became more variable.

In Nepal, the single company that had been set up to make biogas plants was replaced by several smaller ones (between 40 and 50). However, quality control was maintained by BSP (Biogas Support Programme, set up under SNV). The plants that were built mainly used the fixed dome design adapted from the one developed by DCS. BSP did careful follow-up work and has evidence that 98% of plants were still working 5 years after they were built.

The three programmes were successful, because the respective governments offered subsidies. This  allowed the government to have central control of quality. The biogas training institute claims over 12 million plants in China, based on thorough records, although the total number of plants in China is now more than 40 million. The numbers in India are less clear, but records suggest more than 4 million plants. BSP (now Biogas Sector Partnership) in Nepal had thorough records for over 250,000 plants at the end of 2012 (with a claim of having more per head of population than anywhere else in the world).