China will spend 50 billion yuan (about 7.3 billion U.S. dollars) on building methane projects in rural areas as the government seeks to increase the use of clean energy.
According to a plan released by the country's top economic planner, during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period, China will build 172 new biogas projects and 3,150 large-scale methane projects.
The plan aims to increase the country's methane producing capacity by 4.9 billion cubic meters, replace the equivalent of 3.49 million tonnes of standard coal with cleaner energy and cut carbon emissions by 17.62 million tonnes.
The projects will benefit more than 230 million rural residents.
China's fast-growing economy has seen rural energy consumption surge and the rapid expansion of the livestock breeding and agro-industries. These rural businesses create billions of tons of biomass waste annually, which can potentially be used to produce energy.
According to official estimates, China generates 1.4 billion tonnes of rural waste materials annually that could be used for methane production. This amount of waste could produce 73.6 billion cubic meters of biogas and replace 87.6 million tonnes of standard coal.