Ethanol will replace biomass for cooking in Africa

According to recent research, households in Africa are ready to switch from the traditional Biomass fuel to Ethanol stoves. The SEI (Stockholm Environment Institute) has presented a report asking the question whether or not African consumers will buy cleaner stoves and fuels. The findings were revealed in Brussels at the EU sustainable energy week.

Across the globe, it is estimated that approximately 2.4b people still rely on the Biomass fuels for cooking. The dependence on Biomass has serious consequences on climate, health and the environment and also socioeconomic. SEI are making an effort to support this transition and have developed a tool to help Africans understand the choice of stoves that are available to they can choose the best one to suit them individually.

This methodology had been successfully tried out in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia. The research has also generated information for the producers of stoves, those working to promote alternative cooking methods and also the those who are supporting the market for alternative fuels. Despite all the benefits of cooking with cleaner fuels, the transition to the new way of cooking has ground to a standstill in the Sub Saharan area of Africa.

Why is it that well-designed, efficient and clean stoves often fail to penetrate the market in developing countries? In order to design effective policies and programs to promote the use of cleaner cooking alternatives, the barriers to improved cooking technologies must be understood at the household level.

“To date, research regarding the determinants of stove choice at the household level has focused mainly on socio-economic attributes, such as income, age, gender and education” says SEI researcher Fiona Lambe, “while the role of product-specific attributes, such as safety, indoor smoke, usage cost and stove price, have been given less attention.”

The results of the study demonstrate the insights that can be gained from detailed consumer choice analysis, and that these insights can support policy makers and cooking stove programme designers who are interested in evaluating markets for new stoves and cooking fuels.

“We must see how ethanol stoves in developing countries can save millions of lives and significantly contribute to improving the quality of life in these regions” says MEP Christofer Fjellner.

SEI presents the research report at the European Parliament in Brussels, as part of the event “Clearing the Smoke: Promotion of CleanCook Ethanol Fuel Stoves in Developing Countries” at the EU Sustainable Energy Week.

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