Improved cookstoves: next generation ideas

Author(s): Open University (UK), African Centre for Technology Studies, Gamos, The Nairobi Women's Hospital, United International University, Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Publication date: October 2016

Publication type: workshop report

Executive summary:

This report summarizes the discussions that took place at The Improved Cookstoves: Next generation ideas workshop organized by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Kenya on 3-4 October 2016.

This is one of the outputs to be documented under “The Next Generation of Low-cost Energyefficient Products for the Bottom of the Pyramid, (LCT project)” in 2016. The LCT project is a threeyear project funded by EPSRC/DFID, with the objectives of:

(i) Understanding the types of low-cost energy efficient appliances that are demanded in low-income communities of Kenya;

(ii) Developing 2 to 3 technologies based on the articulated demands of consumers for lowcost energy efficient appliances in Kenya;

(iii) Developing one or more innovation hubs in Kenya that will sustain the project and access to these appliances long term and;

(iv) Assessing the effectiveness of the project through the appliances it promotes.

The workshop brought together 25 participants; technicians, facilitators and organizers. Amongst our project partners present were Gamos Ltd UK and United International University, Bangladesh. The full programme and list of participants is available in the appendix. Invitees were a mixture of those involved with improved cookstoves and those involved with Solar Lighting.

The report describes the various presentations in brief. Opening remarks were made by Dr Rebbeca Hanlin who described the history of ACTS and its role over the last decade or more in promoting improved cookstoves and renewable energy. Dr Simon Batchelor then gave the keynote address. His key point was that Solar PV technology has and continues to become cheaper, as do Lithium batteries. By looking into the short term future, if trends continue, the monthly discounted price for a solar PV battery cooking system could become about $12 per month by 2020. This is about the same as many households pay for charcoal for cooking. He told the participants that this iis an emerging landscape of new territory. While it has been a struggle to get solar lighting to scale, virtually no one is looking ahead and talking about solar PV based cooking. He explained some recent research looking into this, and said that the workshop would be the first place two solar PV prototype cookers would be exhibited. Dr Batchelor also said that the battery cooker combination had some potential to strengthen the National Grid in Kenya by demand side management, and that without the battery, cooking with electricity would create even higher peak loads causing more load shedding.

Dr Scott presented the results of a choice modelling survey that the project had undertaken. This methodology was able to document some features respondents wanted to see in clean stoves and to provide some insight into their willingness to pay for such features.

The workshop then proceeded with demonstrations of equipment. These included the Gamos Prototype for Solar PV cooking, UIU (Bangladesh) Prototype for Solar cooking, an induction stove from the market, UIU (Bangladesh) forced draft gasification stove, the rocket stove and the Wonderbag. The Wonderbag is not a stove per se, but it demonstrates how insulation can reduce the overall energy consumption thus making the meal cheaper to cook regardless of fuel. In the second day the sets of equipment were used to cook rice, and a 3 simple trial of speed and energy consumption was conducted – for demonstration more than scientific validity.

The participants then discussed the trials and noted the possible drivers and barriers to the uptake of each. In particular, moderated by Dr. Ann Kingiri, the groups considered the enabling environment – what would government and private sector have to do to enable these technologies to come onto the market. In conclusion, the workshop successfully introduced new stove designs to technicians working in the field in Kenya. At the same time, it started a dialogue with regards to the future of improved cooking and clean cooking options. The LCT project team received good feedback from the participants which will be utilized to enhance the design of the project activities moving forward. By the end of the workshop, there appeared to be considerable interest from participants to take some of the ideas presented forward. Not least one NGO participant took away the Wonderbag so that her constituency of women’s groups might consider their viability in Kenya – this seems to be a simple and easy win for the project. The ACTS team in Nairobi will now work with interested participants as they work through business plans to take any of the technologies forward.



The full report can be accessed here.