Measuring small-scale biogas capacity and production


December 2016

This field guide presents various methodologies for estimating biogas capacity, production and consumption. Such information can be integrated into national censuses, household surveys and energy surveys.

Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, many governments have launched national biogas programmes in recent years, aiming to promote and facilitate the use of household biogas digesters for cooking and lighting. Given this growing trend, reliable and transparent methods are needed to monitor and measure biogas use, including down to the average household level.

Accurate biogas data is vital for national energy statistics, project and policy monitoring, assessing environmental impact and tracking progress on sustainability targets. The shift to biogas helps to expand energy access, in line with global Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

As different sections of the guide make clear:

  • Several variables affect the operation of biogas digesters. These include digester technology, the type and amount of feedstock used, plant capacity and digester temperature;
  • Biogas plant capacity can be measured in different ways, including through volume estimates based on plant design;
  • Biogas production and consumption can be estimated based on digester size, appliance use, feedstock use, fuel substitution, or direct measurement of gas production;
  • The switch to biogas offers measurable environmental and socio-economic gains, including emissions reductions, positive effects for women and children, and health benefits.

For more about renewable energy statistics see:

Renewable Energy Statistics 2016

Renewable Energy Statistics 2016: Latin America and the Caribbean

Capacity Needs Assessment for Renewable Energy Statistics

Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016

Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2015

Statistical Issues: Bioenergy and Distributed Renewable Energy