Using biogas technology is, besides direct thermal or photovoltaic use and hydropower, a
form of using solar energy, mediated through the processes of photosynthesis (for build-up of
organic material) and anaerobic decomposition. As such it is a renewable energy source. In
many regions of the world, the consumption of firewood exceeds natural regrowth. This leads
to deforestation and degradation of forests and woodlands with adverse effects on climate,
water budget, soil fertility and natural products supply. Biogas is one of the solutions to this
problem, because it substitutes firewood as a fuel and helps sustaining favourable soil
conditions. It is also an important contribution to the mitigation of the global greenhouse
The potential contribution of biogas technology to combat deforestation, soil erosion, water
pollution and climate change is undisputed. But how much support biogas dissemination will
receive from government institutions will depend largely on the role of environmental
considerations in government decision making.
The success of biogas technology also depends on the influence of potential allies in the
environmental NGO scene. Biogas programs can, if environmental policies are favorable, be
perceived as "status projects" for environmental authorities.