The project will improve the performance of the biogas subsector through the demonstration of an integrated renewable biomass energy system in the poor rural areas of Heilongjiang, Henan, Jiangxi, and Shandong provinces, where the densities of livestock are almost triple the national average and the pollution problems from livestock farms and agro-enterprises are severe. There are 66 national poverty counties and 131 provincial poverty counties in the four participating provinces, with a poor population of about 9 million. About 43% of the project's subprojects are located in these poor counties.
The project consists of four components: (i) sustainable development and demonstration of commercial practices of medium- and large-scale biogas plants (MLBGPs), (ii) effective utilization of biogas sludge in eco-farming, (iii) capacity development for improved sector performance, and (iv) project implementation support.
The project will assist about 118 medium-sized and large livestock farms and agro-enterprises in constructing biogas plants, and introduce a new technical specification to the plant design. The new specification involves the installation of high-temperature flares in the MLBGPs to minimize the methane gas emissions during maintenance and emergency this has been a common standard in developed countries but not yet in the PRC. The project will also demonstrate business models of centralized biogas plant systems to improve their cost-effectiveness, and technical and environmental performances; and assist 25 subprojects to overcome barriers to connect to local power grids to maximize the benefits of biogas power generation. The project will also support subprojects in manufacturing of bio-fertilizers from the biogas sludge and in eco-farming to achieve the government's goal of circular economy, which is to reuse and recycle organic waste in rural areas, and improve livelihoods in the project area.
Capacity development activities will be carried out to (i) strengthen technical service systems and human resources for biogas plant design, operation, and maintenance in the participating provinces; (ii) demonstrate best design and operational practices of MLBGPs; and (iii) develop a performance monitoring system to improve the subsector performance. The project will also support the MLBGPs in connecting and selling electricity to the local power grids. The revenue of the power sale will help improve the financial viability of the MLBGPs.
The project will provide consulting services to assist in the review of subproject preparation and implementation to ensure timely and effective project implementation.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
With increasing industrialization and improving living standards, the PRC's overall demand for energy has risen rapidly, posing severe concerns about energy supply and environmental protection. Rural energy consumption is increasing at a rate of 2.6% annually. Meanwhile, livestock breeding and agro-industries have been developing rapidly and are gradually changing from small household farms into medium-sized and large commercialized farms. The number of medium-sized and large livestock farms reached more than 19,740 in 2007, but only about 43% were equipped with waste treatment facilities. It was estimated that livestock waste will reach about 5.21 billion tons by 2010, and 6.76 billion tons by 2020. Because of the high concentration of organic materials in the waste, anaerobic digestion is an effective technology to manage the livestock waste, while generating substantial renewable energy to help relieve energy shortage. According to the 2007 Medium- and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy in China of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), about 10,000 large-scale biogas plants will be set up on large livestock farms by 2020, and the annual biogas yield from MLBGPs will be as high as 14 billion cubic meters (m3) per year. As of 2007, it was estimated that about 1,646 large-scale and 6,930 medium-scale biogas plants had been constructed; and the annual biogas production was reaching 800 million m3.
The government has established a comprehensive policy and strategic framework on renewable energy development, and has been promoting the construction of biogas plants since the early 1990s to (i) tackle the environmental pollution problems of the livestock farms and agro-industries, (ii) use biogas as an alternative fuel to replace fossil fuel and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rural areas, and (iii) reuse the sludge and effluent from the biogas plants in eco-farming to accomplish a circular economy. The project will adopt a sector loan approach to supporting the government and the four provinces in the expansion of the rural biomass renewable energy system. The project also complements the government's stimulus package on biogas plant development to boost the construction of biogas plants, provide training to biogas engineers and technicians, and increase jobs to maintain social stability in rural areas.