BioEnergy for Sustainable Rural Development

What is the project about?

 UNDP 2014

In partnership with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, the objective of this project is to remove the technical, institutional, informational, financial and other market barriers to the increasing use of biomass energy in promoting sustainable rural development in Egypt and in reducing the negative global and local environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels and the environmentally not sound management of agricultural and solid waste. This is envisaged to be achieved by:

i.    Testing the technical, and in particular, the economic and financial feasibility of selected bioenergy technologies on the basis of new business and financing models, and developing further the financial, institutional, and market strategies for their large scale replication;
ii.    Supporting the development and adoption of an enabling policy framework to implement and leverage financing for the recommended strategies;
iii.    Building the capacity of the supply side to market, finance and deliver rural bioenergy services; and institutionalizing the support provided by the project to facilitate sustainable growth of the market after the end of the project.

During the life time of the project, engineers and masons trained by the project succeeded in building 700+ biogas digester units that are functioning well and producing gas and bioslurry (bio fertilizer) that meets the satisfaction of the beneficiaries (rural households). The project is now collecting the required waste and energy needs data to design a commercial-size unit that will economically generate biogas.

The project continued cooperation with a number of NGOs in the areas of awareness creation and data collection, adding to the project-trained companies now working as Bioenergy Service Providers. The project has also assisted NGOs, working in the same governorates in which the project is active, to successfully apply for GEF-SGP grants to work collaboratively with the project and install more units.

The project has also opened up dialogue with specialized university faculties to support the idea of bioenergy in general and biogas technology in particular, raising technical understanding of the technology and developing elective courses for students.

The project addresses market needs on both the supply and demand sides, working with registered Bioenergy Service Providers (BSPs) to address the technical, cultural and financial needs of village communities.


What have we accomplished so far?

  • 950 family size biogas units have been functioning well for more than eighteen months and beneficiaries are satisfied. 100 units are 100% grants and others are 50% cost sharing by beneficiary;
  • 7 large biogas units that each serve three houses. These units have also been functioning well for almost twelve months.
  • 9 biogas specialized companies registered and are now working to install biogas units and take after the sale services in the market; 
  • Private and public factories domestically manufacture required stoves and pipes that were imported from India during last year:
  • Two new batches of 8 engineers and 8 masons joined the on-job training program;
  • The Project Management Unit (PMU) and its counterparts have developed, organized and facilitated 18 seminars, workshops and awareness meetings in 13 governorates to present the project and distribute application forms.

Who finances this project?

The Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The Government of Egypt

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Delivery in previous fiscal year

$ 492,682.22 (2014)


  • The main energy resources available in Egypt are oil, natural gas, hydropower and other renewable sources of energy, coal and non-commercial sources of energy.
  • The large capital investments required to secure adequate and reliable supply of energy to meet the demand continue to increase in line with economic growth and the expanding population.
  • Prices of liquid petroleum fuels, natural gas and electricity had been kept stagnant over a long period, despite increase in production costs.
  • Low cost recovery and deteriorating financial performance of the entities responsible for energy production and distribution have ensued.
  • Subsidized energy prices do not promote efficient energy use and distort prices in the manufacturing sector.
  • The 2008 Supreme Council of Energy decision to diversify Egypt’s sources of energy production, severe shortages of butane gas cylinders and the increasing burden posed by energy subsidies on the government budget, provide an opportunity for the promotion of bioenergy as a source of rural energy.
  • The market potential in Egypt for biogas units is enormous.  If each household can source the equivalent of 50 kg of animal waste on a daily basis, biogas units will have the potential to displace all LPG usage from biogas units for more than 8.9 million rural households, and generate emission reductions of over 7.56 million tons CO2 per year.

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