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China’s domestic biogas sector must adjust to changing conditions

Xia Zuzhang

IIED Briefing, 4 pages

China’s biogas programme is renowned for its rapid expansion in rural areas and community-level uptake. A decade of heavy government investment means that around 100 million rural people now benefit from biogas digesters, turning livestock manure into clean cooking fuel and organic fertiliser and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by up to 61 million tonnes a year. But China is
changing. Rapid urbanisation has reduced rural labour, and household livestock are declining. A shortage of technical services poses another challenge. China’s new socioeconomic landscape could threaten biogas as a sustainable energy solution for millions of rural households. Reviewing the biogas sector and taking objective action to secure its future would benefit China and provide lessons to other countries facing challenges in rural energy supply.

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