Monthly Archives: August 2014

Supporting the move toward zero household emissions

During the year many of those we have interviewed and involved with improved cookstoves have acknowledged that even the best cookstoves currently available still produce emissions which affect the health of the family. There is a growing momentum towards zero emissions for household health. Our concept supports that move and could make significant improvements to health.

Linked to the goal of zero emissions is the idea that carbon finance may be available if the source of the electricity is renewable. The original concept note was predicated on a final unit price of $300, which would make clear economic sense as it tracks with monthly expenditure for households combined with a leasehold model or microfinance to overcome the initial cost barrier. During the last year we have learned that Rwanda offers subsidies and low interest loans to incentivise a biogas programme where each unit costs £900 ($1,440). While acknowledging that biogas certainly has the potential for longevity (10 years or more) which a battery/cooker would not have, nevertheless the idea that donors and government have calculated that it is worth £900 ($1,440) a unit to move people away from biomass stoves suggests that a solar electric cooking system is already financially feasible. For £900 a household could afford a cooker with a lifetime of five years, a very strong battery system and enough solar panels to comfortably meet a household’s cooking needs!


The believe that continued research will be needed in order to faciliate the development and uptake of solar electric cooking. In particular, the frame of a research proposal needs to encompass one or more of the following elements:

  • Design – of a 12V deep cycle battery and hob combination. Battery lifetime needs to be investigated. Similarly, optimising the charge controller and inverter needs to be undertaken, with due consideration for harsh environments and lifetime. Such research design could also include enables M2M capabilities for monitoring of use (and potential cut off) as per the MKopa/Azuri model of service supply. The question of an inverter should not be taken as a given – the system could be designed for 12V, in which case the battery will need to be very close to the hob, in order to keep the wires as short as possible. A 12 V system might have to include hob design.

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