study. potential for biogas in Morocco.

200 anaerobic digestion plants.

As a project developer, generizon in Rabat, looked at the potential for industrial scale biogas plants in Morocco (typically 1 large digester, 500kW electric equivalent).

It is important to do the first step in Morocco, show the benefits, and how to share them, work out the payment and owner/client mechanisms. Once the first anaerobic digestion plant put in place, the technology’s potential

  • to treat/neutralize organic waste
  • and produce a lot of green CO2 neutral/negative energy,

will be intuitively comprehensible.

We’ve estimated the potential number of biogas plants in Morocco based on

  1. the number of installations in Europe,
  2. the availability of waste streams in Morocco,
  3. the particularities of the different sectors and provinces in Morocco.

Numbers of biogas plants in Europe.

There are more than 15,000 biogas plants in Europe: Italy 1,500, France and Suisse 600-700, even Austria with a population of 10 million 400 BG installations, the UK 400, Poland 200. Germany with more than 9,000 is an exceptional case and cannot be considered as an example to other countries like Morocco.  ̑

Obviously preferential tariffs for electricity grid injection and subsidies had a huge impact in Europe’s development. Especially in Germany, biogas production is very often based on fresh agriculture products, such as corn, together with manure and thus serves as an effective tool for manure management. For Morocco, we do not consider any fresh agriculture products, only waste and residues.

Morocco has almost 34 million people, half France’s, and three times Austria’s population. In Morocco 15% of the GDP is being produced in agriculture, plus another 5% in agro-industry; waste streams are accordingly.

Organic waste streams in Morocco.

According to FAO:

  • 5-6 million tons of organic household waste (humidity 70%, this is well suited for wet anaerobic digestion). See below.
  • 3 million tons of liquid and solid waste from agro-industry, slaughterhouses, dairies, juice, breweries, wineries, oil mills, fruit and vegetable canning, fish industry.
  • 52 million tons from agriculture; of that 19 million agricultural residues, 33 million tons of manure (15 million tons from cattle, 11 million poultry, etc.)
  • Sludge from wastewater treatment plants wwtp. The only sector that has working installations in place (two wwtp, Marrakech and Fes in operation, each four digesters, 3 smaller ones). In a national effort to reuse more water for municipalities and agriculture, more activated sludge systems will be introduced in many/most of the big cities over the next decade.

Sectorial and provincial approach in Morocco.

Four sectors that generizon considers a ready market:

  1. livestock farming and processing.
  2. poultry farming and processing.
  3. communal organic fraction of solid waste.
  4. waste water treatment plants.

livestock sector in Morocco.

There is a realistic potential of 20 AD/biogas installations. 15 million tons of manure and slurry, not all is collectable, but more every year, concentration towards larger farms, industrialized slaughter.

  • Dairy farms and dairies, 10 biogas plants, input comes from farms and dairy effluents.
  • Fattening bull farms, and slaughterhouses, 5-10 AD/biogas plants. With Plan Maroc Vert, there is a development program for integrated meat production sites (slaughterhouse + meet processing plants + feed lot). Three have already been put in place.
  • It should be mentioned that there is a potential for hundreds of thousands of very small digesters (for 3-10 cow owners, these are not dealt with here), would be possible once the LPG-containers are being de-subsidized.

poultry sector in Morocco.

There is a realistic potential of 50-70 AD/biogas installations. A lot of waste is relatively concentrated and usable. There is usually a nitrogen problem associated with poultry waste (manure, slurry and SHW), that problem can be dealt with adequate co-digestion substrates that are available, especially in Morocco, like cactus, generizon has prepared a study on that.

  • Broiler chicken production dry manure waste (some straw as bedding material in it): est. 3-4 million tons/year (eq. of theoretic 300 plus biogas plants). Currently used as manure spreading on fields. Realistically, 20 installations possible.
  • Turkey production dry manure waste (some straw as bedding material in it): 2 million tons/year (eq. of theoretic 170 biogas installations). Currently used as manure spreading on fields. Realistically, 20 installations possible.
  • Laying hen slurry (no straw): 1.5 million tons/year, constitutes the biggest problem, as no good alternative use as spreading on fields. Potential: 80 biogas installations. Realistically, 20 installations possible.
  • Poultry slaughterhouse waste: there are several big private industrial slaughterhouses that produce waste that goes to landfilling. 5-10 installations realistically possible.
  • A lot of poultry slaughterhouse waste derives from market and traditional slaughter; ends up in assimilated household waste, collected usually together with market fruit and vegetable waste.

organic fraction of municipal solid waste OFMSW.

30 AD biogas installations for the organic fraction of municipal solid waste OFMSW of communes and cities (this is dealt with here).

Cities (commune urbaines) in Morocco, and their landfill sites face a huge problem that is called leachate, caused by the high fraction (60-70%) of wet (75% humidity) organic waste in household waste. Unlike in Europe (30% is organic), every ton of waste that goes to landfill produces ~250 liters of leachate. Diverting organic waste to AD plants, saves on leachate production and treatment costs. Please read the details.

AD Projects are ideally being carried/supported by the responsible bodies, commune in collaboration with collectors and landfill site operators (délégataires). Such installations can use existing facilities, weighing at the landfill site, use existing paying schemes, carbon credit schemes, etc.

Something can be done today!
generizon’s approach here is to target the “clean and pure” organic waste streams that are already available in source separated form: such as

  • hotel and restaurant waste, waste from university and hospital cantines, (a huge source are Agadir’s and Marrakech’s tourist areas).
  • expired food from supermarkets.
  • market fruit and vegetable waste.
  • communal slaughterhouse waste.
  • organic waste from agro-industry that is assimilated.

Modular approach, 40-50 tons/day organic waste fermented in one large digester equates to 500kW electric power, 70 tons/day may give up to 800kW.

In phases.

  1. Estimates for big cities to be realized immediately: 10 AD/biogas installations.
  2. 2nd phase up to 30 AD/biogas installations, never treating more than 10% of a city. (please read details).
  3. In the long run these numbers shall increase as districts (arrondissements) are being introduced to waste separation at the source/household level. That means, more is possible but only after phase one and two where we use what is available in aggregated form today.

waste water treatment plants.

30 – 50AD biogas digesters for wastewater treatment plants wwtp. With rising population and less available space, and general water scarcity the preferred technique for “all” wwtp will become the activated sludge system, with attached sludge digestion and cogeneration. The system allows for the reuse of water. Morocco is a country hit hard by climate change, severe water stress can be observed every other summer, it is “impossible we keep wasting water to the ocean”; this is how it is formulated in the Strategie National du Developpement Durable.


We think 200 AD/biogas plants for Morocco are possible over the next 10 years; maybe many more over a 20 year period.

Region cattlepoultryexpired foodhouseholdwwtp
Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceïma15124
Béni Mellal-Khénifra31033
Guelmim-Oued Noun22
Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra1311
Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab211
possible Moroccan wide distribution for industrial scale biogas/anaerobic digestion installations (~500kW el.)