Topic brief: capacity building

Date: 28 November 2017                   Coordinator of the exchange session: DFFB, Jakob Lorenzen

The following topic brief summarizes discussions held during an EU level exchange sessions (T4.1) among BiogasAction project partners. It aims at providing the main outcomes of the discussions. Each topic brief focuses on one specific development topic for biogas in Europe. Topic briefs can be downloaded at

What is the topic about?

  • Capacity building(or capacity development) is the process by which individual and organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills and knowledge needed to do their jobs competently.
  • It encompasses a wide variety of activities (such as fundraising, exposure visits, office and documentation support, on the job training, etc.) and organizations (training centers, academic actors, consultants, etc).

What is at stake?

  • Biogas is a recent field of activity – very few dedicated and integrated courses are available. Trainers are lacking.
  • Self-taught plant operators
  • Business association tend to focus on framework conditions for biogas and less on capacity building
  • Paradigm shift for farmers and plant operators. For a long time, biogas production was not the main focus of the plant – it was the production of fertilizers
  • No standard training programme that fits the needs of farmers and plant operators

Partners experiences:

Experience from Denmark/DFFB: Training centre: strong drivers for training

  • Well developed educational system in Denmark
  • Growing training needs from farmers and plant employees
  • DFFB, dedicated training centre is gradually being more and more known
  • Commitment from the business associations to the State (as part of the energy negotiations) to strengthen the capacity building activities (be more professional)

Experience from Wales/UK: Training videos

  • Early discussions with AD industry bodies in the UK, and the Environment Agency, suggested that there was a definite gap in training provision for “self-taught” plant operators.
  • These people (often farmers) would rarely take time out to undertake in-depth training – and would be unlikely to want to pay for it.
  • Severn Wye Energy agency has developed dedicated online videos:

Key findings and lessons learnt:

  • Know well your National and Regional educational systems and closely cooperate on the development of biogas integrated or dedicated courses
  • Consult farmers and plant operators. Identify their training needs and best ways of implementing them
  • In complement, propose courses they already know – e.g. ATEX (safety courses in DK) – that way they get to know you
  • Develop adapted training solutions for “self-taught” plant operators
  • Follow up one plant in particular and gain on-site knowledge and experience.

Download the Topic brief here (PDF version).