April 05 2019
Loughborough University and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) joined forces in leading a UK aid research project to find innovative, clean and modern alternatives to biomass fuels, such as charcoal and wood.
Currently, over a third of the world’s population cook using these polluting fuels, leading to around four million premature deaths each year – primarily among women and children.
Using charcoal and wood to cook has a significant impact on climate change, contributing three per cent of the total CO2 emissions every year. The use of these biomass fuels, particularly charcoal, involves cutting and burning of wood sources, of which 34 per cent comes from unsustainable sources.
The partnership between Loughborough University and UK aid will find ways for two billion people to use electricity to cook at home in an affordable, reliable and sustainable way. It will also find solutions to provide clean cooking options for the one billion people that do not yet have access to electricity.
Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, said: "We cannot ignore the impact of using unsustainable wood and charcoal for home cooking because it contributes to climate change and harms people’s health.
"By using British expertise from world-leading UK research institutions and the private sector we can bring together the right technology, ideas and researchers to help tackle climate change and prevent millions of unnecessary deaths."
Thanks to UK government funding already awarded to the team Loughborough University and Gamos, a company working with the social factors of technology, have produced a series of stove prototypes. These include battery supported stoves that people can use even if they live off-grid or don’t have reliable access to electricity.
The £39.8 million programme, run by Loughborough University and ESMAP of the World Bank, will:
Professor Ed Brown, National Co-Coordinator of the UK Low Carbon Energy for Development Network at Loughborough University, said: "For too long clean cooking has been the poor relation of the global clean energy sector, receiving less attention and funding than electricity access. Without a major change in direction, the global commitment to bringing clean modern cooking services to everyone by 2030 stands no chance of being met.
"With this programme, we intend to provoke a revolution in how the international community approaches this issue and significantly accelerate the progress being made in moving people away from cooking with biomass to really clean and modern energy cooking services."
Rohit Khanna, Program Manager for ESMAP in the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice, said: "Accelerating the transition to clean stoves and fuels requires a serious global effort to push the boundaries on innovative technologies and to mobilize unprecedented levels of public and private financing.
"ESMAP brings to this partnership a wealth of experience and lessons learned in promoting clean cooking solutions, drawing on the World Bank’s work in low income countries."
Loughborough University will also work with other UK research institutions such as The University of Birmingham, De Montfort University, Durham University, Gamos, The University of Liverpool, University College London, Newcastle University, University of Strathclyde, The University of Surrey and The University of Sussex.
The full article is in publication and should be out soon.
Click on the following link (or copy then paste the link in your browser) to view the recording.
In this Commentary, Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), discusses the urgent need for investments towards energy access. On clean cooking she observes:
Across the 20 countries with the largest clean cooking access gaps, representing 84% of those without access globally, the committed annual finance that can be tracked is in the tens of millions of dollars, compared with an estimated annual investment need of at least $4.4bn.
This inability to close the clean cooking investment gap has become a severe development problem – impacting on health, women’s time and natural resources. But it is one with solutions on offer. We need to examine how best to create big markets for affordable clean fuels and much more attention needs to be given to consumer finance, distributor finance, leasing and other mechanisms that have been used to open up markets to those on low incomes in other aspects of basic services. If we include the bundling of clean cooking into safety net payments and invest in innovative cook stove technologies, then this situation could improve rapidly.
The full commentary can be accessed on this link http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/news/the-time-to-invest-in-energy-access-is-now/?deliveryName=DM5334
A report by Oil Change International gives a snapshot of public finance into energy in Africa. The report claims that nearly 60% of official finance over 2014-16 for African energy schemes went to support fossil fuel projects, compared to just 18% for clean energy projects – which excluded large hydropower developments.
I would like to draw your attention of my recent blog “Cooking helped us survive… modern energy cooking services can make us thrive”
Please kindly note that we have deliberately use the term “modern energy cooking service”. I highlighted “modern” instead of “clean” with the purpose to capture multiple dimensions/attributes of cooking (e.g. clean/health, efficiency, convenience, affordability, availability, and safety which the multi-tier framework is already measuring). I also highlighted “service” to emphasize the need to focus on end users and their preferences. Without focusing on the end users’ needs and their context in mind, any interventions are unlikely to be successful and sustainable. Let’s ensure we have these elements in our ECCH projects design and implementation in order to have more successful stories.
The main complaints from the article have been the lack of health benefits and under delivery of climate benefits from biomass cookstoves. Solutions? LPG has been the highlighted solution in the article. There is also another article from Quartz referring to the ProPublica article and giving more emphasis on solar-powered electric cookstove. But both articles shied away from discussing the costs/time needed for providing either LPG or solar e-cook to nearly 3 billion people…what do you think?
Undercooked: An Expensive Push to Save Lives and Protect the Planet Falls Short
Millions of lives were at stake. Hillary Clinton was on board. Money poured in. And yet the big aims behind an effort to tackle the plague of third-world cooking fires has produced only modest gains.
by Sara Morrison, July 12, 2018, ProPublica, https://www.propublica.org/article/cookstoves-push-to-protect-the-planet-falls-short
THE WIN-WIN MIRAGE - A $75 million attempt to end indoor air pollution ended up siding with fossil fuels - Akshat Rathi, Quartz, 14 July 2018
Please kindly note that the package of a blog, a video, and a full report about the Indonesia Clean Stove Initaitive Results Based Financing pilot has been published on the WB website. It is not only a valuable experience for all of us and could be useful for many others. Please disseminate through your networks.