All posts by elstove

Grid-eCook price parity in Africa

africa gridKittner et al. (2017) suggests that the main eCook component cost, battery storage, is following Leach and Oduros’ optimistic scenario, with faster than expected learning curves suggesting that 200USD/kWh could be a reality by 2019.  Similarly, initial prototyping has shown that efficiency gains in the cooking processes can even exceed Leach and Oduro’s optimistic scenario for energy demand.  We created a set of choropleths for Africa, in the hope they become a decision tool for policy actors.  The figure illustrates the LCoE[i] thresholds eCook will have to cross to be at price parity with the alternative fuels.

[i] Levelised Cost of Energy

Swappable batteries

There have been a few half hearted tests on the idea of swappable batteries for electric vehicles.  The idea that you pull into a fuel station and in 90 seconds swap in a fully charged battery has enormous potential on paper.  Imagine – while the UK is running out high speed charging points and strengthening infrastructure, how will most developing economies which are currently struggling with domestic electricity access ever accommodate EVs?  One answer is swappable batteries – and that has relevance to eCook.

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Learning from the UK? Pt 3

  • Much of the savings at a household level come from pre-prepared food, and the overall energy to prepare the food has likely remained the same.

JB1_-32-550x350

(A random photo – but our thanks to http://ballymaguirefoods.ie )

However thirdly, in the UK  “the huge expansion in ‘ready meals’ and takeaways is probably a bigger factor in the decline in cooking energy, and it is questionable whether these lifestyle changes have saved energy overall.Read more…

Learning from the UK? Pt 2

  • The amount of energy households use for cooking has approximately halved over the last 40 years!

(Read this in the context of  this blog)

cooking in uk halved

This is surprising to me as I would have expected given all the cooking programmes on TV would have led to people doing fancier cooking – which I assumed would take more energy.   However….. Read more…

Learning from the UK? Pt 1

In these three related blogs, I would like to explore the history and current use of energy for cooking in the UK, as a indicative lessons for our work in Sub Saharan Africa.  I am going to suggest that there are three key aspects:-

  • The rise and fall of solid fuel (which in our case meant coal), took 160 years – time which we dont have for our current climate change agenda.
  • The amount of energy households use for cooking has approximately halved over the last 40 years!
  • Much of the savings at a household level come from pre-prepared food, and the overall energy to prepare the food has likely remained the same.

rise and fall of coal

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Reprint:- I disagree with Bill Gates

In 2015 Bill and Melinda published an annual letter.  They dont seem to have done one for 2018 yet?  In it Melinda highlighted the problem of time for women cooking with Biomass, and Bill emphasised energy.  But in one section of what he said I really didn’t agree with him……..

Woa!  Having just published a blog on the benefits of storage as captured in the UK Smart Power report, I came across this blog from Bill Gates.

gates superpower

I dont disagree with the title – it certainly is difficult to store energy; but I do disagree with his maths. He states:-

“This figure is based on the capital cost of a lithium-ion battery amortized over the useful life of the battery. For example, a battery that costs $150 per kilowatt-hour of capacity with a life cycle of 500 charges would, over its lifetime, cost $150 / 500, or $0.30 per kilowatt-hour.”   Bill.

I have two difficulties with this, one of which makes his numbers worse and one makes them better.

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