Access to energy is essential to reduce poverty. Globally, over 1.2 billion people still do not have access to electricity. About 2.8 billion use solid fuels — wood, charcoal, coal, and dung — for cooking and heating.
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Environmental benefitsFor Ou and her fellow villagers, biogas means convenience, less work and less smoke. But the project has even more benefits. “In the bigger picture, it means using less foss... Show More +il fuel and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases,” said Cao Wendao, a senior agricultural specialist with the World Bank. On average, a biogas digester would annually reduce 2.83 tons of CO2 emission. Assuming that in carbon trade, per ton of CO2 emission is priced at RMB79 ($12), biogas unites at the mature stage of the project would displace about 1.55 million tons of greenhouse gases, generating a value of RMB 122.7 million (US$ 20 million) per year, Cao said. Biogas replacing firewood also helps prevent deforestation. And using slurry from the digesters as fertilizer reduces farmers’ use of chemical fertilizers and helps maintain soil quality, according to Tang, the Gongcheng agricultural official. The environmental benefits do not stop there. In Gongcheng, like many rural areas in China, animal farms are a growing industry. But the improper disposal of animal waste poses a big problem: it pollutes waterways and the waste naturally emits methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. So “biogas management companies” were established to solve this problem. “For example, just in our township alone, there are about 50 pig farms. Without treatment, pig waste causes pollution,” said Fan Jiaqiang, who works with a biogas management company. “Our company signed an agreement with pig farms to help dispose the waste which we bring to farmers to feed their biogas digesters. This way, we ensure adequate supply of waste for biogas and also reduce pollution caused by large pig farms,” he said. Show Less -