Biogas Technology in Cambodia

From energypedia


Cambodia has very favorable conditions for biodigesters: warm climate, available feeding materials (water and dung) and construction materials, easy access to transport (for construction materials), technical skills for plant installation locally available, difficult access to or high prices of other household energy sources. Estimates in 6 provinces for the potential of domestic biodigesters amount to 224,000 units.

The National Biodigester Programme (NBP)

Cambodia’s National Biodigester Programme (NBP) is a joint venture intervention of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV). The NBP is part of the Files/A01/The scope and risks of the Asia Biogas Programme.pdf Asia Biogas Programme (ABP) which is a joint programme of SNV and the Netherlands Government (DGIS) that aims to provide access to household biogas to 1.3 million people in Asia over a period of 2005 up to 2012. The NBP is fully supported, owned and implemented by MAFF of the Royal Government of Cambodia, targeting to achieve 18,500 biodigesters in 12 provinces in its first phase from 2006 to 2012.


Funding is provided through ODA (DGIS, GIZ), government contribution (which includes the VER revenue) and farmers’ investment.

GIZ/BMZ provides funding of 2.2 million EUR for the two year period of the Renewable Energies Project in Cambodia:

  • EUR 700,000 to b used from the 1st of July till the 15th of November 2010
  • EUR 1.5 million to be used from December 2010 till June 2012.


The biodigesters built are fixed dome plants with a closed dome and a manhole via the outlet. The so called Farmer’s Friend Model is based on the Deenbandhu Fixed Dome model developed in India. Five different sizes are available: 4/6/8/10/15m3.

Payback period for a biogas plant of 4m3: between 1.6 years (firewood, charcoal used before) to 1.3 years (LPG) .

1.44m3 biogas are produced/day = one stove for 3.5-4 hours.

Iif 80% of the gas are used per day, this replaces 6kg firewood or 2 kg charcoal or 0.7 liters of kerosene or 0.5 kg of LPG or 1.8 units of electricity.

  • Chemical fertilizer reduction/year: 50kg/hh
  • tC02e saved per year: 4.74 tC02e per unit
  • Fuel wood saved per year 2.210 kg/hh
  • Kerosene savings/year 28.8 liters/hh

Production costs vary between 395 USD (4m3) and 885 USD (15m3) on average (depending on location, transport cost etc.)

The Programme's Partners/Network

The NBP is working together with a range of partners who are specialized in a certain field.

The network comprises MFI, NGos, trainings institutes and businesses:

  • HIVOS – VER Buyer
  • FMO – Provides soft loan to PRASAC MFI and Amret MFI
  • PRASAC-MFI – Providing special loan for plant construction
  • Amret-MFI – Providing special loan for plant construction
  • ACLEDA Bank – Channeling of subsidy funds to farmer
  • DTW – Produce biogas appliances, R & D
  • PPI – Technical Training institute for masons and technical supervisors – contract
  • CIEDC – Providing training on entrepreneurship and management to Biogas Construction Companies (contract)
  • CEDAC – Implements PBPO in Kandal, Kampot, Prey Veng, KTM
  • BCCs – Biodigester Construction Companies building the plants


The main objective of the overall project is to improve the accessibility of rural energy technologies in rural areas in Cambodia. In the case of the NBP, the main objective is the establishment of a sustainable, market-oriented biodigester sector in Cambodia.

In greater detail, the objectives of the NBP are:

  • To increase the number of family sized, quality biodigesters by 12,000 for 2010-2012
  • To ensure the continued operation of all biodigesters installed under the biodigester programme;
  • To maximise the benefits of the operated biodigesters, in particular the optimum use of digester effluent;
  • Technical and promotional capacity development of the stakeholders within the NBP for further wide scale deployment of biodigester technology in Cambodia. This objective will particularly focus on the development of a capable and viable private sector responsible for marketing, construction and after-sales service of biodigesters;

The NBP aims at constructing 18.500 plant in its first phase from 2006 to 2012.

With Funds from BMZ/GIZ, the National Biodigester Programme is expected to achieve the following objectives according to the following indicators:

  • At least 5,500 additional biodigesters are being constructed, achieving
  • Emission reductions of Co2e of at least 20.000t
  • At least 90% of the issued micro-credits for households biodigesters can be re-used for the construction of new biogas plants by 09/2011
  • activities will be extended to 4 new provinces. Reaching 12 of the total 25 Cambodian provinces

The NBP plans to built 23.000 plants in its second phase from 2013-2016.


The following activities are carried out by the NBP and its partners on an ongoing basis:

Training and workshop

  • Technical training and refreshing training (development of training curriculum, material and training of trainers – Polytechnical Institute) for masons and PBPO supervisors, bio-slurry coordinator, administrators, directors
  • Organizing user training, pre-construction training and NBO training
  • Organizing national/provincial workshops, credit training and management training for biodigester construction companies.

Promotion and marketing to create awareness about the advantages of biogas technology and to raise the interest in biogas technology

  • Additional subsidy in form of ceent and skilled labour for demonstration plants in new provinces
  • Marketing and information material (posters, brochures, leaflet, T-Shirt, identity shirt, information folder, construction manuals, billboards, standing pannnel)
  • Media coverage (tv, radio, print media), promotional DVD
  • Organizing village workshops
  • Participating in trade fairs and national events (sanitation day, earth day, …)
  • NBP website


  • 150 USD/plant subsidy are provided by the NBP (for quality enforcement, reduce farmer’s investment, promotion)
  • MFI-Scheme with PRASAC and AMRET, loan of 1.2%/month (funded by the FMO – Netherlands Development Finance Company)

Quality management – key aspect and long-term success factor of the programme

  • Quality control conducted by supervisors of the PBPO, and quality control on quality control from NBP technicians
  • Partner companies of the NBP need to comply to standardized design and size of biogas plants, employ certified and trained masons, provide user instruction manuals and visit the biodigester in time
  • After-sales-service: one year guarantee on appliances, two year guarantee on civil structure of biodigester

Bio-slurry extension – contribution to financial return (increase in production, partial replacement of chemical fertilizer)

  • Demonstration farms and farmer exchange visits to these farms
  • Training on bio-slurry for farmers

Institutional support

  • Develop a system to select masons with entrepreneurial potential to become biodigester construction companies (21 already functioning in 4 provinces)
  • Provide training to the new companies (by CIEDC through SNV)

Internal monitoring and evaluation

  • Completion report after plant completion but before first fill of the plant by PBPO supervisor
  • Conduct user survey
  • Sale of VER

Research and development

Biogas appliances (stoves, taps,) adapted to locally available materials and workshop facilities

  • Improve biodigester, adapt it to changing circumstances, product innovation, standardization, testing on plant performance, construction under high water table conditions,

Challenges and Learnings

Success factor private sector reasons for the growth and sustainability:

  • NBP’s main objective is establishing a sustainable sector. A private construction sector is essential to a sustainable industry.


  • The understanding of and trust in the technology is not yet well developed, especially in provinces with a low penetration rate
  • Limited capacity of new biogas companies
  • Weather conditions and high ground water table slow down construction 5 months per year
  • Permanent supply of appliances, imported lams and locally made stoves
  • Resource mobilization for phase II, 2012-2016
  • Resource mobilization for PS-BCC

Further Information