Determination of the Potential Impact of Domestic Anaerobic Digester Systems: A Community Based Research Initiative in Rural Bangladesh

Khondokar M. Rahman, Lynsey Melville, David J. Edwards, David Fulford, Wellington Didibhuku Thwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines the potential impact of domestic anaerobic digester (AD) systems adopted in Bangladesh and similar developing countries. Cattle dung and poultry litter feed stocks were specifically investigated, because these were freely available and plentiful to people living within agricultural areas of rural Bangladesh. Data was collected to ascertain whether these two representative AD facility types provide tangible social, economic and environmental impact that benefits homeowners. Primary quantitative and qualitative data was obtained by field data collection, and meeting with expert groups and stakeholders. Empirical analysis conducted revealed that variations were found in the biomass feedstocks available on different sites but also differences were apparent in terms of the operations and maintenance (O and M) systems of the biogas plants operated. The biogas and methane yield variation was also measured, and variations were found in the cattle dung and poultry litter AD yield capacity. Overall, 64% of feedstock was utilised, 91% of biogas plants remain underfed and energy yield efficiency was 57% from cattle smallholdings’ AD and 28% from poultry farms’ AD. These results showed that small scale AD can offer a significant impact upon rural lifestyles through augmented economics, improved social activities, relationship building with neighbours and improved lifestyle achieved via time savings accrued. These results could help rural entrepreneurs, AD equipment providers and government institutions to develop a road map to implement future AD installation on a much wider geographical scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number512
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • anaerobic digestion
  • biogas
  • energy
  • feedstock
  • impact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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