First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China

In Hengshui, local farmers are receiving payments for their pig waste and producing electricity using biogas, reducing the need for coal-fired generation in the area.

The PRC has the world’s highest per capita pork consumption, but as producers rush to meet demand, waste products from the industry can have detrimental impacts on the environment and public health. In Hengshui, a new facility has the capacity to treat waste from 140,000 pigs using four 5,000 m3 anaerobic digesters. The biogas created by this process is then used to generate 8.42 GWh of electricity annually, bringing in revenue of more than CNY 6 million. Between 2012 and 2015, the project reduced emissions by 108,000 tons of CO2 equivalent through replacing coal-fired power generation and initiating proper waste processing.


A payment scheme has been developed between the biogas company and local livestock farmers, with those farmers receiving payments for delivering waste of a high solid concentration. As well as avoiding signifi cant methane emissions, proper processing of manure is improving local air and water quality, which is of increasing importance as more citizens live in areas close to pig farming. The project is actively helping others to learn from their experience of bringing value to waste products, and three other companies in Hengshui are planning to implement the same measure.

The facility’s larger biodigesters have the capacity to process waste from 140,000 pigs (photo by ADB Photo Library).

The Challenge

The PRC’s love for pork comes at a cost to the environment and public health. Pig slurry not only emits vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere, but pollutes water and air, causing issues from high blood pressure to respiratory problems. This project in Hengshui is turning this challenge into an opportunity.


Economic  Electricity production from the biogas project creates annual revenues of more than CNY5.9 million.

Environment  Removing open lagoons of manure means a reduction in methane and ammonia emissions, and improved soil and water quality.

Health  Better management of manure reduces odors and wastewater, improving the well-being of all those living near pig farms.