Generating clean energy from local biomass in Tongliao, China

Published by Georgia Crump on

This project uses local surplus biomass residues to produce electricity.


The National Bio Energy Tongliao Biomass Power Plant is located in Tongliao City, in the North East of China. Farming in this region produces large quantities of agricultural biomass (particularly residues-corn straw). Prior to this project’s existence, this biomass was open burnt or left to decay.

Now, the biomass is burned in a biomass-fired boiler to produce electricity. The project is large enough to burn roughly 113,000 tons of biomass residue every year, generating 81 GWh of electricity. 

How does Biomass Power fight climate change?

When plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When they die and decay, this carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere. The carbon cycle works on the basis that carbon is continually recycled between plants growing and taking it out of the atmosphere, then dying and releasing it again.

Rather than letting biomass decay naturally, it can be harvested to create steam for electricity production. Although CO2 is released into the atmosphere, this is no more than what naturally occurs, so no additional CO2 is being released. By generating electricity in this way, we reduce the need to burn fossil fuels for energy, meaning less greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. 

Biomass energy is a way of providing clean energy, and is more reliable than solar and wind power which are dependent on weather conditions. Project Drawdown describes Biomass Power as an efficient way to replace energy generated from fossil fuels.

However it’s important to remember that biomass power is only a good substitute for fossil fuels if the biomass being burned is waste. 

This project is certified to the highest level by Gold Standard, as approved by the UN. Read more about Gold Standard’s certification process. 

The impacts and benefits of this project: 

Environmental benefits:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the need to burn fossil fuels for energy.
  • Reducing methane emissions from rotting plant residue that will now be burned in a controlled manner. 
  • Managing agricultural waste in the region, which would otherwise impact on the environment due to dumping and uncontrolled burning in open air. 

Social benefits:

  • Improving the livelihoods of local communities by providing a source of employment and training.
  • Creating a source of income for local communities by purchasing the biomass residue from local farmers.
  • Stimulating the development of clean energy technology in the region.

Sustainable Development Goals

One of the requirements of Gold Standard certification is that the projects meet at least 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, of which one is climate action. This means that as well as fighting climate change by offsetting carbon emissions, the projects your money is supporting contribute to sustainable development for eco-systems and communities around the world. 

The goals met by this project are: 

7. Affordable and clean energy – Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity

9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure – Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development.

13. Climate action

Read more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Your impact

You can see a record of our donation to this project on our public ledger. You can also view global contributions to this project on Gold Standard’s impact registry. 

Thanks to the contributions of our members, we are reducing carbon emissions for a more sustainable future.