Using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) techniques

cumulative weightingsCumulative weightings for each factor under the PV-eCook (left) and Grid-eCook (right) weighting sets.

This study employs MCDA techniques to quantitatively compare countries according to the viability of eCook in each particular country context. Weightings were assigned to each indicator, sub-category and category to balance out their relative influence over the final result. Simple Multi-Attribute Ranking Technique (SMART) was selected as the most appropriate MCDA technique for this study, as it is simple to understand (it is similar in nature to the well-known cost-benefit analysis) and is relatively streamlined (it only requires one decision to be made per indicator, sub-category and category).

The SMART technique requires the decision maker to assign a value to each indicator in descending order of influence, using the most influential indicator as a reference point with an assigned value of 100. The reliability of the results of the study depend on minimising the bias imposed by those carrying out the weighting process. A focus group was carried out to debate the relative influence of each factor and collaboratively decide on the weightings. Participants comprised eCook consortium members from Gamos, University of Surrey and Loughborough University, with 15 years’ cumulative experience of research on eCook and many times more with comparable technologies such as SHS. The weighting was carried out in stages:

  1. Each individual indicator against the other indicators in the same sub-category.
  2. Each sub-category against the other categories in the same category.
  3. Each category against the other categories.

The cumulative weighting for each indicator is then calculated by multiplying its own weighting by the weighting of its category and the weighting of its category group. The cumulative weightings are eventually multiplied by the fractional scores of the matching indicator for each country. Finally, the weighted scores across all indicators are summed to achieve a final overall score for each country in the assessment.

To reflect the unique characteristics and target markets of Grid-eCook and PV-eCook, two separate weighting sets were produced. Grid-eCook weightings are designed to prioritise countries with high levels of access to unreliable grid infrastructure, but with low unit costs of electricity. In contrast, PV-eCook weightings are set up to identify countries with a high and consistent solar resource, a large rural off-grid population and a strong SHS industry paving the way. Both sets of weightings prioritise countries with favourable energy policy, business ecosystems, strong governance, capacity and finance. Deforestation, gender equality and the HH energy requirements of typical diets are also considered equally important for both PV-eCook and Grid-eCook. High numbers of polluting fuel and electric stove users are seen as positive for both, as are attractive fuel markets, however LPG is seen as more of an urban fuel, so has less influence on the viability of PV-eCook.

WeightingsComparison of cumulative weightings for each indicator for Grid-eCook and PV-eCook weighting sets.

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