The Biogas Program, initiated by SNV and developed in collaboration with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), is developing a commercially viable biogas sector in Vietnam. Rural small-holder farmers can now access technology to convert animal waste to energy via household biogas digesters, which produce clean and affordable energy for cooking. The biogas technology also reduces health and environmental problems associated with animal waste and the use of wood fuel for cooking.
Most importantly, the project is improving the socio-economic status of Vietnamese rural households, particularly women and children. Biogas means instant cooking (i.e. not having to start a fire and wait for it to reach optimum temperature) and reduced time and labor for the collection of traditional fuels such as wood and charcoal. Biogas is clean, smokeless and does not require constant attention or blowing. The workload reduction provides opportunities for women to embark on other activities (time for family, income generation activities, or education of children).
The project is also reducing the economic and financial household budgets spent on fuel and energy. Furthermore, farmers are improving agricultural yields from bio-slurry (the by-product of biogas production) as an organic fertilizer used for agricultural purposes.
In addition to the improvement of the environment at household level, biogas plants help to reduce deforestation, by avoidance of wood burning for cooking purposes. Results are exponential:
*Construction of 180,000 biogas plants throughout Vietnam by 2018
*2,500 permanent rural jobs to be created, 2,000 people will be trained
*Emissions reduction: 589,125 tonnes CO2eq / year
*Reaching 840,000 persons in 58 provinces, uses local skills and material
*Market-based long term approach: Establishment of biogas enterprises
*Awards : Energy Globe Award (2006), the Ashden Award (2010) and World Energy Award (2012)