Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

Biogas based poly-generation for rural development in Bangladesh

In this project , we have developed an integrated biomass based poly-generation system for delivering electricity, cooking gas and arsenic-free drinking water and validated it’s feasibility in rural areas of Bangladesh. Study has shown that these kinds of integrated systems are technically feasible and attractive in terms of their socio-economic benefits. The Levelized costs of production of various services from such technical system are market competitive and financial returns are also very attractive.


Large populations in Bangladesh have no access to electricity and even those who have access face extreme shortages of electricity, and mostly rely on traditional biomass for cooking. Most areas in the country suffer from ground water contaminated with arsenic which kills thousands every year. Some arsenic removal techniques are also being applied which, although reducing the arsenic content, still do not guarantee the drinking quality of the water. Rural development is a multi-dimensional challenge. Therefore, Energy system solutions have to fit local conditions, providing not only physical infrastructure for energy provision, but also a vector to promote sustainable development.


The aim of this project was to develop an integrated biomass based poly-generation system and validate it’s feasibility in meeting the cooking energy, electricity and safe drinking water needs of small rural villages of Bangladesh. Integration of three different components (biogas digester unit, electricity generation unit and membrane distillation unit for water cleaning) and supplying services with a system approach is the innovation within this developed technological solution.

Research highlights

The research carried out included lab experiments and local case studies. The MD unit’s performance was tested in lab experiments to verify its efficiency when using low heat from a biogas unit to deliver clean drinking water. On the supply side, the case studies included a resource assessment to verify the potential for biogas production. On the demand side, the case studies served to verify energy needs and evaluate household’s preferences.

The experimental performance test of the MD unit showed that the amount of arsenic level in the water purified througt this process is 0.4μg/liter only, which is in the safeside in comparision to the permissible maximum amount of arsenic (10 μg/liter of drinking water) recommended by World Health Organization.

Study has shown that these kinds of integrated systems are technically feasible and very attractive in terms of their socio-economic benefits. The Levelized costs of production of various services from such technical system are market competitive and financial returns are also very attractive. The case study carrried out in the rural Bangladesh (for an example in Pani Para village) has shown that the large amount of cow dungs and agriculture wastes available in the local vicinity could be used for generating biogas. It was observed that the mono digestion of the available bio-resources wouldn’t be able to meet the all the demands (cooking, electricity and safe drinking water) of typical rural villages. However, with co-digestion of available cattle dung and agricultural residue, the biogas production can be increased. The study demonstrated that it is feasible to supply all the households with electricity and clean drinking water and two-third of household with access to cooking gas, considering both the supply and demand sides. The poor sections of the population had constraint to pay for the bill of cooking gas. One option for such poor households could be providing with improved cook stoves for better cooking environment. Appropriate business model to maintain the regular supply of the various feedstocks is crucial to make this technology sustainable. The study has proposed a business model for biogas based poly-generation system and analyzed the model using CANVAS.

Project Team

Professor Dr. Semida Silveira (Team leader)

Other Team members from KTH

  1. Professor Dr. Andrew Martin (Senior team member)

  2. Ershad Khan (Team member)

  3. Dr. Brijesh Mainali (Team member/coordinator)

In addition, the Masters interns Hassan Ahmed, Nasrin Akter, Caroline Saul and Saad Been Emran have been involved in the project particularly contributing with field work.

Team members from Partner organizations

  1. Mr. Aapo Sääsk(SCARAB AB, Sweden)

  2. Dr. MS Islam (Grameen Shakti, Bangladesh) 

The project was developed during three years between 2012 and 2014, and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).  

Glimpse of some of the project activities

Smart City Concepts in Curitiba: Low-carbon Transport and Mobility in a Digital Society
Urban Circularity Assessment Framework
The interface of sustainability science and bioenergy systems
Using the sustainable development goals for shaping holistic energy programs, projects and policies
The Clean Cooking Explorer platform for Nepal
Geospatial Analysis and Electrification Investment Scenario Preparation for Yemen
Capacity building on geospatial electrification analysis for industrializing countries
Capturing emissions in least-cost electrification planning
Assessment of the potential for battery storage to provide affordable electricity access through solar PV mini-grids in West Africa
Mwinda Project: Data-driven solutions for people-centered electrification in the DRC
Preparation of an Indicative Least Cost Geospatial Electrification Plan To Achieve Universal Access In Somalia
Preparation of an Indicative Least Cost Geospatial Electrification Plan to Achieve Universal Access in Benin
World Energy Outlook 2019
Least-cost electrification Pathways for Benin
The Global Electrification Platform
Least-cost electrification Pathways for Madagascar
The UNECE nexus assessment of the Drin River Basin
Climate, Land and Energy Analytical study of Potential Nexus Issues in Jordan and Morocco
OPM Ethiopia project “Energy system development pathways in Ethiopia”
National energy planning and policy support for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals
Bio-based circular model for sustainable urban economies
Chemical Recycling for Circular Flows of Plastic Waste
African Power Pool Modelling
Assessing the sustainability of bioethanol production in different development contexts: a systems approach
Assessing the Water-Land-Energy-Food Nexus in trans-boundary river basins
Bioethanol strategy for Indonesia
Biogas based poly-generation for rural development in Bangladesh
Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) in China’s power plants
Climate Vulnerability of African Countries (completed projects)
Cost optimal pathways for the Cypriot energy system
Country level CLEWs
Developing an electricity supply model for Cyprus
Development of long-term energy projections for African countries
Development of the Model Management Infrastructure (MoManI) interface
Electricity Access in the Brazilian Amazon
Electrification paths for developing countries
Energy systems-CGE modelling Link up for pilot countries
Energy Systems Analysis Agency
Estimating Investment Needs for the Power Sector in the Africa Region
Fuel options for public bus fleets in Sweden
Global CLEWs model (completed projects)
INSIGHT_E: An energy think tank informing the European Commission
INSISTS Sustainable Bioenergy Development in Indonesia
Nexus assessment of the North West Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS)
Open Geospatial Data for Energy Access
OpeN Source Spatial Electrification Toolkit (ONSSET)
Oskarshamn CLEWs
Providing rural energy access in developing countries
Renewable energy mapping for Africa
Robust Energy and Climate Indicators for the Steel Industry
About the project
Urban Smart Grids in Brazil
Supporting the Design of Sustainable Development Policies with Policy Modelling Tools
The Development of Bioethanol Markets under Sustainability Requirements
The Electricity Model Base for Africa (TEMBA)
CO2 Emissions and Energy Efficiency in Sweden
Uganda 100% Renewable by 2050
About the project
Wireless Bus Stop Charging