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Greening China's rural energy: new insights on the potential of smallholder biogas

  • Luc Christiaensen (a1) and Rasmus Heltberg (a2)

Abstract

This study assesses a new generation of smallholder biogas, an applied sustainable energy technology currently being rolled out on a massive scale in rural China. In the past, the implementation of biogas programs has been largely disappointing, in China (and elsewhere). User satisfaction with the new program is high, based on purposively collected data from 2,700 households in five provinces, and the available evidence suggests tangible environmental and economic benefits. There are strong indications of fuel switching away from fuelwood and crop residues. Less time is spent on fuelwood collection and cooking, which benefits women especially. Adopters save on fertilizers by using biogas residues. Finally, problems with suspension and interrupted supply appear lower than in earlier studies. Overall, these initial findings are grounds for optimism about the potential for scaled-up smallholder biogas to deliver safe and clean rural energy, in China and beyond, provided critical conditions are met.

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Greening China's rural energy: new insights on the potential of smallholder biogas

  • Luc Christiaensen (a1) and Rasmus Heltberg (a2)

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