Position Description

Anaerobic Digester Expert
Location Sri Lanka
Department Programs
Employment Type Volunteer
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Anaerobic Digester Expert


Location of Assignment: Sri Lanka

Proposed Level of Effort: One Month (approx.)

Anticipated Start Date:    flexible

Anticipated End Date:      flexible


Objectives of the Assignment:

To obtain services of an Anaerobic Digester Expert to provide technical assistance to several selected large farms in Sri Lanka.


IESC is implementing a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress funded project in Sri Lanka. The four and a half-year, Market-Oriented Dairy (MOD) Project supports farmers and enterprises to meet the increased demand for dairy and aims to catalyze sustainable growth in Sri Lanka’s dairy sector. The project will increase productivity and expand the trade of milk and milk products in Sri Lanka. In partnership with the private and public sector, the project will increase milk production of participating farmers and farms to 83,400 metric tons by 2022—an average annual growth of 18 percent, for a life of project growth of 127 percent. The project will ensure 80 percent of beneficiary farmers are earning a price premium due to milk quality improvements.

MOD is working with several dairy processing companies in Sri Lanka, assisting them to make changes that will increase milk production and quality. Through working with these companies, it has become evident to MOD staff that these companies need assistance in new value-added product development in order to pay farmers better prices for milk quality improvements as well as increase their capacity to purchase higher milk volumes from MOD beneficiary farmers.

The government funded Livestock Import Project has imported close to 8,500 Jersey Frisian crossed animals to-date. These dairy cows have been given to 67 farms across the country in regions ranging from the dry zone to very rainy up-country provinces. Most of the country’s larger farms are located in the up-country. These up-country farms have been developed on hilly land making it imperative to manage farm waste in an appropriate manner.

Most of the farm owners are very interested in being able to better manage their animal manure to control environmental problems in a productive manner. They are also concerned about potential problems with storing manure in pits and/or spreading the manure which may contaminate ground water, surface runoffs, or spills.

Multiple large farms that MOD works with are considering anaerobic digesters as a potential solution to their manure management problem as well as a possible generator of economic returns.

Anaerobic digesters biologically treat manure and produce a stable effluent with slightly different chemical characteristics than raw manure. In this process, a biogas composed of methane is produced and captured. This gas is then combusted in an engine, boiler, or flare which can generate electricity. The generated electricity can be used for on-farm use and/or sold to the National grid.

The MOD Project has selected three large farms who have requested technical assistance under this SOW. These farms range from 2,000 animals to 200. All farms that will receive assistance under this assignment are located in the up-country of Sri Lanka.


The Volunteer Expert will complete the following tasks:

  • Identification of the most appropriate technology for an anaerobic digester considering present effluents and potential expansion of the farm;
  • Assess the cost of building the digester; 
  • Assess the economic feasibility of installing an anaerobic digester;
  • Assess the cost-benefit of producing energy and its payback period;
  • Present findings to the management of respective farms; and,
  • Recommend next steps to farm management and MOD.

Assignment Roadmap:

Level of Effort will likely be four weeks; below is the anticipated structure of the assignment phasing and timeline:

Date/Time Period


Week One - Day 1

Meeting with MOD staff and introduction to partner companies

Week One

Work with Company 1

Farm visit, conduct feasibility, develop economic model and recommend appropriate technology

Week Two

Work with Company 2

Farm visit, conduct feasibility, develop economic model and recommend appropriate technology

Week Three

Work with Company 3

Farm visit, conduct feasibility, develop economic model and recommend appropriate technology

Week Four

Develop three separate presentations, meet with respective farm management, share findings and recommendations

Complete final report for MOD



The Expert Volunteer will submit the following deliverables:      

  • Three separate presentations for each company recommending the most appropriate technology
  • Three separate feasibility reports for each company
  • Meeting notes from meetings with farm management
  • One final report including presentations to MOD


Reporting Relationship:

The Volunteer Expert will report to the Project Director and work closely with the Deputy Project Director, Business and Value Chain Director, and other staff of the MOD Project as needed.


Administration and Logistics:

The MOD Project will provide airfare, hotel accommodation, ground transportation, and per diem for the volunteer expert when in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Selected partner companies will provide accommodation including meals and ground transportation for the volunteer expert when outside of Colombo.


Expert Volunteer Qualifications:

  • The Anaerobic Digester Expert must have over 10 years of hands-on experience in

installation of anaerobic digesters and conducting financial feasibility assessments;

  • Must have a degree in engineering or in an appropriate field of study;
  • Prior experience in commercially establishing, including sourcing of equipment, for anaerobic digesters and effluent management systems;
  • A good understanding of effluent management and technologies that are currently available;
  • Ability to work effectively in cross-cultural contexts. Prior experience working overseas—especially in South Asia—is helpful; and,
  • Good interpersonal and communications skills in English.




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