Clean Biodig

Throughout the summer, discover the projects of the nominees of the 2016 Convergences  Awards. Energy and environment, employment, health… Discover projects built by innovative partners that contribute to the Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty objective. The Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, September the 7th at the City Hall of Paris, during the third and final day of the Convergences World Forum.

Competing for the International Project Award, the Clean-Biodig project involves the installation of individual biogas digesters in rural areas thanks to a Payment for Environnement Services (PES) system for an eco-responsible and sustainable use.

Digesters: eco-friendly tools, but they can cause pollution

The biodigester technique spreads very quickly in poor farming communities in developing countries. The biodigester receives livestock urine to produce usable methane as an energy source for farming needs. But behind this virtuous vision, the biodigester can cause a vicious cycle of serious environmental pollution, resulting from poor management of the biodigester waste, released into the wild without any safety precautions. Yet, this substance is filled with concentrated nitrogen that could rather be used as a fertilizer.

Turning the problem into a solution:

The CLEAN-BIODIG programme makes farmers understand risks brought by biodigestat and its use, thanks to the Payment for Environmental Services (PES) principle. As a part of the the micro-credit financing suggested by the NGO Zebunet , the contract allows the construction of a second vessel to retrieve the biodigestat and a bi-annual environmental control along with a training programme. Contractualised lists of environmental, economic and social indicators modulate the loan based on environmental control. If a farmer pollutes the environment by improper use of biodigestat, penalties are applied to the loan and additional trainings are imposed.

Project’s impact :

The impacts are diverse: economic, environmental and social. CLEAN-BIODIG imposes eco-responsible practices for all players in the industry, ranging from the installation company to users. It helps improving the use of the biodigester, and promotes responsible innovation by inducing an eco-responsible attitude throughout the use of the Payment for Environmental Services concept. Micro-credits for a two years period, the refund of which is modulated via a PSE system, mobilizes  farmers  to participate in training and bi-annual environmental controls. This ensures an understanding and integration of  good farming practices by the farmer, a limitation of environmental pollution and leads to a better production.

A “research/NGO” partnership

The objective of the partnership is to have an innovative scientific expertise to improve the use of biodigesters in small peasantry in order to avoid the vicious circle of pollution related to biodigestats. The convergence between research and NGO partners made the promotion of eco-responsible practices in villages possible throughout the sharing of expertise between users, suppliers and researchers.

Moreover, this public-private partnerships’ ultimate objective is to demonstrate that the Payment for Environmental Services, through its eco-environmental contracting, is a responsible innovation, which is reproducible and transferable elsewhere, also applicable for other technological processes in small peasantry thanks to the development of micro-credits.


A multi-sectoral partnership

The partnership between NGOs, technical experts and research institutions around the Payment for Environmental Services tool is at the heart of CLEAN-BIODIG’s innovation. This multi-actors convergence between NGO, public research actors and private experts in self-purification technology has helped develop an original method, reproducible and transferable, combining scientific and financial expertise of the partners and promoting the effective involvement of small farmers. This multi-actors partnership feeds a convergence around the implementation of the Payment for Environmental Services , mobilizing environmental responsibility of all stakeholders, accompanying the economic success of the poorest while retaining their autonomy in action.