So where to investigate further?

The in-depth qualitative exploration of the 16 shortlisted countries in the GMA report revealed more about the value that that eCook could add to the existing national infrastructure in each particular place.  We chose 3 to undertake further market study.PV ecook map of opportunity TZM We recently published our eCook Global Market Assessment.  Find the report HERE

The key opportunities include:

  • Load balancing
    • Load balancing in hydropower-dominated grids prone to load shedding in the dry season (Bhutan, Zambia).
    • Small Island Developing States (SIDS – Vanuatu, Comoros, Tuvalu, Palau) usually have high grid electricity tariffs, so load balancing of mini-/micro- grids running on expensive imported diesel is expected to be particularly valuable.
      • Diesel-based grids often only run during certain hours of the day, so Grid-eCook (or Mini-grid-eCook) could offer 24h access to electricity by charging quickly during normal operating hours.
      • Alternatively, operating hours could be extended to charge multiple eCook units slowly, creating a much more even (and efficient) load profile for the diesel generator.
      • PV-eCook may also have an economic advantage, as although shipping costs are likely to be high, shipping PV-eCook components once is likely to be more cost effective than continually shipping fuel.
      • In island nations (SIDS, Philippines), a multitude of different markets is likely to exist within their archipelagos, meaning that eCook is likely to find a niche.
    • Hybridisation to reduce fossil fuel demand
      • Fuel stacking between eCook and LPG can offer HHs an affordable and flexible clean cooking solution by leveraging the advantages of both fuels. eCook could be marketed as a fuel saving device sized to take on the everyday cooking load in contexts where gas is already cheap and widely available (Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Ecuador, Bangladesh). This is expected to become more attractive as fossil fuel reserves begin to dwindle and prices inevitably start to rise.
      • Countries with significant numbers of kerosene users (Djibouti, Comoros, Palau, Tuvalu, Kenya) seem most likely to transition to LPG, as behavioural change and adaption of supply chain infrastructure is minimal. However, eCook could play a complimentary role in the transition away from kerosene, supporting the key weaknesses of fossil fuels: price volatility and supply chain dependency.
      • In island and landlocked nations without indigenous fossil fuel reserves, long supply chains lead to high fuel prices (Zambia, Malawi, Palau, Vanuatu, Comoros, Tuvalu). eCook could reduce dependence on imported fuel, but would increase dependence on imported PV & li-ion.
    • A cheaper cooking solution
      • Myanmar, Zambia and Bangladesh offer extremely low cost electricity (<10USD/kWh), however there are still considerable economic opportunities for Grid-eCook in countries offering attractive lifeline tariffs (Vanuatu, Philippines, Myanamar, Tanzania, Ghana, Vanuatu) or off-peak tariffs.
      • The price parity data for kerosene, charcoal and LPG shows that economically, the greatest opportunity for Grid-eCook is in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite significant variations between countries, the general trend of high imported fuel prices and cheap grid electricity creates many markets where cooking with electricity is already cost effective.
      • The economic proposition of diverting an existing expenditure will be challenging in contexts without a significant commercialised polluting fuel market segment, as most people either collect their cooking fuel or already pay for a clean fuel (Bangladesh, Ecuador, Vanuatu, Bhutan).
    • Reduced deforestation
      • East, Central and Southern Africa are characterised by large charcoal markets, but significant charcoal markets also exist in Asia, notably in the Philippines and Myanmar. Deforestation hotspots create regions with strong political and economic drivers to find alternative cooking fuels (Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Myanmar, Vietnam, Ghana). By 2020, it is predicted that PV-eCook will become cost effective for some HHs currently cooking on charcoal in almost all Sub-Saharan African countries. What is more, rapid deforestation is continually pushing up the price of charcoal in many of these countries (Philippines, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana).
    • An aspirational clean and modern cooking solution
      • eCook is expected to be an aspirational product in all contexts, but particularly where a significant number of people are already cooking with electricity and LPG/kerosene markets have not yet developed (Myanmar, Zambia, Malawi), or where both electric and LPG market segments are developing in parallel (Bhutan, Palau, Vietnam).
    • Reliability
      • Frequent blackouts create a strong driver for Grid-eCook. Bangladesh and the Comoros top the list with averages of over 60 per month.
    • An upgrade for existing SHS users
      • Strong SHS (Solar Home System) industries in Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania are expected to pave the way for PV-eCook. Kenya and Tanzania both represent large markets that are likely to transition quickly with significant populations relying on charcoal and kerosene for their HH cooking needs. Kenya is also East Africa’s commercial hub and has a strong track record for innovation in the energy for development space, so eCook is likely to evolve rapidly here.

In particular, three countries stand out and have been selected for further study:

  1. In Zambia over 10% of the population already cook on electricity and recent load shedding caused a significant number of these users to revert back to charcoal, rapidly accelerating deforestation.
  2. The liberalisation of Myanmar opens the door to a significant charcoal market, with a small percentage of users already cooking on electricity, paving the way for eCook.
  3. Tanzania has a strong SHS industry and is one of the world’s biggest charcoal markets, creating several global deforestation hotspots.

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