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Special Issue "Clean Energy Innovations: Challenges and Strategies for Low and Middle Income Countries"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "I: Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 22688

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Simon Batchelor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Gamos, Reading RG1 4LS, UK
2. School of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
Interests: modern energy cooking; clean cooking; complex development; Solar PV; SDG7; low carbon energy; ICT; mobiles; IoT; mobile payments
Prof. Dr. Ed Brown
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
Interests: low carbon energy; modern energy cooking; solar PV; low carbon finance; results-based financing; international development; governance and corruption

Special Issue Information

Colleagues,

Significant progress has been made in the use of clean energy in low- and middle-income countries over the last 20 years. Almost 1 billion people have gained access to electricity in developing Asia since 2000, with 94% of the region having access to electricity in 2018 compared with 67% in 2000. In Africa, the number of people gaining access to electricity has doubled from 9 million a year between 2000 and 2013 to 20 million people between 2014 and 2018 (IEA), outpacing population growth. Kenya and Uganda currently have surplus grid electricity and are now building into their policy instruments a focus on cooking. IRENA state that the coming decade will be the ‘renewable technology’ decade. The cost of renewables has become competitive with conventional technologies, and the resulting modern energy is cost-effective in many contexts even within LMICs. Thus, there has been progress and will likely be more progress as we move towards 2030.

Nevertheless, there remain 800 million who do not yet have access to reliable, sustainable electricity, and there are between 3 to 4 billion who do not have access to modern energy cooking services. There are promising innovations such as energy-efficient electrical cooking appliances, off-grid use of those appliances on mini grids to enhance the profitability and revenue of such grids, pay as you go approaches, and innovations in infrastructure and subsidies for LPG. 

How can we leverage the gains to reach Sustainable Development Goal 7 so that it is inclusive of the cooking needs? What are the challenges to be overcome and the strategies that might accelerate the reach of modern energy? How will the generation of grid and off-grid energy move forward in a low carbon way? After the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are talking about building back our society in a better way. They are talking about more green energy. What might this look like for low- and middle-income countries? How will transmission and distribution be made available for the hard to reach places? Is the World Banks’ call for 500 million mini grids the way forward, when profitability of mini grids is still in question? How can we ensure that modern energy cooking services and solutions are part of the same energy access planning? What are the finance mechanisms that will ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable modern energy for all?  

Dr. Simon Batchelor
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ed Brown
Co-Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • SDG7
  • modern energy
  • electricity
  • renewable technologies
  • low- and middle-income countries
  • clean cooking
  • modern energy cooking
  • eCook
  • low carbon
  • climate mitigation
  • poverty alleviation
  • COVID recovery plans
  • energy finance
  • gender issues

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue: “Clean Energy Innovations: Challenges and Strategies for Low and Middle Income Countries”
by and
Energies 2021, 14(24), 8577; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14248577 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 388
Abstract
All the papers in this Special Issue situate their research in the context of a failing clean cooking strategy and the potential contribution of electricity to this [...] Full article

Research

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Article
eCooking Delivery Models: Approach to Designing Delivery Models for Electric Pressure Cookers with Case Study for Tanzania
Energies 2022, 15(3), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15030771 - 21 Jan 2022
Viewed by 398
Abstract
This paper defines eCooking Delivery Models (eCDMs) as the activities, resources and actors needed to deliver modern electric cooking (eCooking) appliances to end-users in need of innovative clean cooking solutions in the Global South. We define the eCooking Market System (socio-economic and cultural [...] Read more.
This paper defines eCooking Delivery Models (eCDMs) as the activities, resources and actors needed to deliver modern electric cooking (eCooking) appliances to end-users in need of innovative clean cooking solutions in the Global South. We define the eCooking Market System (socio-economic and cultural context, the enabling environment, market chains, support services) which conceptualizes the real-world market factors and surrounding context related to enabling the uptake and sustained use of eCooking appliances by end-users. We also describe an approach to design eCDMs and identify the support services required to start and sustain the market delivery infrastructure. The eCDM concept and approach are demonstrated through designing eCDMs and support services for electric pressure cookers (EPCs) for two end-user segments in Tanzania: rural and peri-urban/urban customer segments. Research methods included: focus groups and workshops (12), household surveys (51), cooking demonstrations (11), offering end-users the chance to purchase EPCs through various financing mechanisms, and interviews (eight with market actors, 18 with enabling environment stakeholders). This led to stakeholder mapping, understanding end-users, market chains, and enabling environment, and identification of eCDMs and support services to reach the focus customer segments. The case study outcome was a plan to implement support services, which is being carried out by a Tanzanian NGO, and we reflect on progress thus far in supporting the eCooking market in Tanzania. The concept and approach can support similar action research in other contexts to accelerate the transition to modern energy cooking services. Full article
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Article
Unbending the Winding Path of a Low-Income Country’s Energy Sector amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from Malawi
Energies 2021, 14(21), 7184; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14217184 - 02 Nov 2021
Viewed by 868
Abstract
This paper discusses the impact of COVID-19’s vulnerability context on Malawi’s Energy Sector and outlines mechanisms for enhancing Malawi’s energy-sector resilience based on experiences from a range of stakeholders. The investigation was conducted online by inviting purposively selected stakeholders to create presentations responding [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the impact of COVID-19’s vulnerability context on Malawi’s Energy Sector and outlines mechanisms for enhancing Malawi’s energy-sector resilience based on experiences from a range of stakeholders. The investigation was conducted online by inviting purposively selected stakeholders to create presentations responding to thematic questions. The final sample had 19 stakeholders with representation from policy-makers, regulatory bodies, national grid supply players, off-grid players, development agencies, bankers, professional bodies, civil society, and women’s rights bodies. The presentations from the stakeholders highlighted how COVID-19 affects the operation costs of energy systems and implementation of energy systems projects in areas that require stimulus packages to contain energy system delivery costs and prevent disruption of essential services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These services include stakeholder responses to COVID-19 in the energy sector, the role of digital payments particularly when purchasing electricity units, and the state of third-party service providers such as banks and mobile network operators to enhance preparedness and continuity of operations for the energy sector. Based on the findings in these thematic areas and an application of systems thinking in the analysis, the paper finally makes recommendations on how Malawi and similar low-income countries can strategise to enhance energy systems resilience. Full article
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Article
Towards Sustainable Development Goal 7 “Universal Access to Clean Modern Energy”: National Strategy in Rwanda to Scale Clean Cooking with Bottled Gas
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4582; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154582 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
More than 90% of Rwandans rely on polluting solid fuels to meet their cooking needs. The negative impacts on health, climate, and the environment have led the Rwandan government to set a target of halving that number to 42% by 2024. A National [...] Read more.
More than 90% of Rwandans rely on polluting solid fuels to meet their cooking needs. The negative impacts on health, climate, and the environment have led the Rwandan government to set a target of halving that number to 42% by 2024. A National Master Plan to promote scale up of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has been developed to define (i) the necessary market conditions, (ii) public and private sector interventions, and (iii) the expected societal impacts. Findings are reported from modelling scenarios of scaling LPG use towards the 2024 policy target and the 2030 target for “universal access to clean modern energy” (SDG7). Household LPG use is projected to increase from 5.6% in 2020 to 13.2% by 2024 and 38.5% by 2030. This level of adoption could result in a reduction of 7656 premature deaths and 403,664 disability-adjusted-life-years (DALYs), as well as 243 million trees saved. Reductions in carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions equivalents (CO2e and BCe, respectively) are estimated to reach 25.6 million MT and 14.9 MT, respectively, by 2030. While aggressive policy intervention is required, the health, environmental, and developmental benefits are clear. Implementation of the Rwanda National LPG Master Plan will provide a model for other sub-Saharan African countries to address the priorities for cessation of reliance on solid fuels as an energy source. Full article
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Article
Tracking the Adoption of Electric Pressure Cookers among Mini-Grid Customers in Tanzania
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4574; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154574 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1066
Abstract
“Are electric cooking appliances viable clean cooking solutions for mini-grids?” To help answer this question, the Access to Energy Institute (A2EI) set up a pilot project in six different mini-grid locations around Lake Victoria in Tanzania and gave 100 households an electric pressure [...] Read more.
“Are electric cooking appliances viable clean cooking solutions for mini-grids?” To help answer this question, the Access to Energy Institute (A2EI) set up a pilot project in six different mini-grid locations around Lake Victoria in Tanzania and gave 100 households an electric pressure cooker (EPC) to use in their homes. Each EPC was connected to a smart meter to collect data on how the EPCs were used. The paper presents findings from a study designed around the A2EI pilot project that aims to provide an understanding of cooking practices, the adoption of electric cooking over time, and to assess the potential for electric cooking to substitute traditional cooking fuels. Through collaboration with the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) program, Nexleaf Analytics, and PowerGen, the pilot has generated data on electrical energy consumption from 92 households in six remote areas as well as a comprehensive range of other datasets gathered from 28 households in two of the locations. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of this data. It starts with an analysis of cooking practices in these communities—dishes cooked, utensils used for cooking, and choice of fuels. It goes on to examine fuel stacking behavior, and finally, it examines how people have integrated EPCs into their cooking practices before the highlighting key impacts associated with using EPCs. The answer to the original research question will be useful for different stakeholders such as utility companies, mini-grid operators, electric cooking appliance manufacturers, the clean cooking sector, and international organizations. Full article
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Article
Results-Based Financing (RBF) for Modern Energy Cooking Solutions: An Effective Driver for Innovation and Scale?
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4559; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154559 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
Results-based financing (RBF) programmes in the clean cooking sector have gained increasing donor interest over the last decade. Although the risks and advantages of RBF have been discussed quite extensively for other sectors, especially health services, there is limited research-documented experience of its [...] Read more.
Results-based financing (RBF) programmes in the clean cooking sector have gained increasing donor interest over the last decade. Although the risks and advantages of RBF have been discussed quite extensively for other sectors, especially health services, there is limited research-documented experience of its application to clean cooking. Due to the sheer scale of the important transition from ‘dirty’ to clean cooking for the 4 billion people who lack access, especially in the Global South, efficient and performance-proven solutions are urgently required. This paper, undertaken as part of the work of the UKAid-funded Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme, aims to close an important research gap by reviewing evidence-based support mechanisms and documenting essential experiences from previous and ongoing RBF programmes in the clean cooking and other sectors. On this basis, the paper derives key strategic implications and learning lessons for the global scaling of RBF programmes and finds that qualitative key performance indicators such as consumer acceptance as well as longer-term monitoring are critical long-term success factors for RBF to ensure the continued uptake and use of clean cooking solutions (CCS), however securing the inclusion of these indicators within programmes remains challenging. Finally, by discussing the opportunities for the evolution of RBF into broader impact funding programmes and the integration of energy access and clean cooking strategies through multi-sector approaches, the paper illustrates potential steps to enhance the impact of RBF in this sector in the future. Full article
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Article
Stacked: In Their Favour? The Complexities of Fuel Stacking and Cooking Transitions in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Zambia
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4457; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154457 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
It remains unclear whether the decision to cook with both polluting and cleaner-burning fuels (‘fuel stacking’) serves as a transition phase towards the full adoption of clean-cooking practices, or whether stacking allows households to enhance fuel security and choose from a variety of [...] Read more.
It remains unclear whether the decision to cook with both polluting and cleaner-burning fuels (‘fuel stacking’) serves as a transition phase towards the full adoption of clean-cooking practices, or whether stacking allows households to enhance fuel security and choose from a variety of cooking technologies and processes. This paper offers a unique contribution to the debate by positioning fuel stacking as the central research question in the exploration of existing household survey data. This research analyses the World Bank’s Multi-Tier Framework survey data concerning energy access and cooking practices in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Zambia. Its novel approach uses fuel expenditure data to group urban households according to the intensity of biomass consumption (wood, charcoal) relative to modern fuel consumption (electricity, gas). The research explores how different fuel-stacking contexts are associated with factors related to household finances, composition, experiences of electricity, and attitudes towards modern fuels. This study shows the diversity of characteristics and behaviours associated with fuel stacking in urban contexts, thus demonstrating the need for fuel stacking to feature prominently in future data collection activities. The paper ends with five key recommendations for further research into fuel stacking and its role in clean-cooking transitions. Full article
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Article
Transforming Access to Clean Energy Technologies in the Global South: Learning from Lighting Africa in Kenya
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4362; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144362 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 875
Abstract
As SDG7-related interventions seek to transform access to clean energy, this paper presents an analysis of both a previous transformative intervention (Lighting Africa) and a theoretical approach to understanding how such transformations can be achieved in the Global South (socio-technical innovation system, STIS, [...] Read more.
As SDG7-related interventions seek to transform access to clean energy, this paper presents an analysis of both a previous transformative intervention (Lighting Africa) and a theoretical approach to understanding how such transformations can be achieved in the Global South (socio-technical innovation system, STIS, building). The paper makes four contributions. First, it tests the extent to which the STIS-building concept is useful in understanding and conceptualising how Lighting Africa transformed the market for solar lanterns in Kenya from an estimated market size of 29,000 lamps in 2009 to one where 680,000 Lighting Africa certified lamps were sold in Kenya by the end of the Programme in 2013. Second, it presents the most in-depth analysis of Lighting Africa that we are aware of to date. Third, it presents a conceptual framework that illustrates the Lighting Africa approach, providing a framework for future policy interventions aiming to transform access to clean energy technologies in the Global South. Fourth, it reflects on weaknesses in the STIS approach. In particular, these include a need to better attend to: the gendered implications of interventions (and social justice more broadly); implications of different scales of technologies; value accumulation and the extent to which interventions benefit indigenous actors and local economies; and the political and economic implications of any intervention and its distribution of benefits. Full article
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Article
How to Make Off-Grid Solar Electric Cooking Cheaper Than Wood-Based Cooking
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4293; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144293 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1041
Abstract
Low-income sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) households rely on wood for cooking for the simple reason that it is the lowest cost cooking fuel. Thus, full attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) requires developing clean cooking technologies that are cheaper than wood cooking. This [...] Read more.
Low-income sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) households rely on wood for cooking for the simple reason that it is the lowest cost cooking fuel. Thus, full attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) requires developing clean cooking technologies that are cheaper than wood cooking. This study provides a comparative marginal levelized cost of energy (MLCOE) analysis for wood cooking vs. innovative solar electric cooking technologies. The two key off-grid solar technologies evaluated are: (1) direct-use DC solar (DDS) electricity for cooking applications, and (2) high-cycle-life lithium titanate (LTO) batteries. MLCOE is reported in USD/kWh for energy delivered to cooked food. A low median MLCOE of USD 0.125/kWh is attained using DDS electricity which is output directly by a solar panel with little or no intervening electricity storage and few electricity conversion and control costs. DDS solar panel output has variable voltage and current that is managed by a specialized DDS cooker. LTO battery-regulated electricity has a median MLCOE of USD 0.24/kWh which declines to USD 0.16/kWh with electric pressure cooker use. The distributions of MLCOE for wood-based, DDS-electric, and LTO-electric cooking strongly overlap. The MLCOE cost model suggests specific means for modifying input costs, component lifetime, and system efficiency to improve solar MLCOE further relative to wood MLCOE. Full article
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Article
Techno-Economic Modelling of Micro-Hydropower Mini-Grids in Nepal to Improve Financial Sustainability and Enable Electric Cooking
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4232; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144232 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1280
Abstract
In rural Nepal, micro-hydropower plant mini-grids provide renewable electricity to thousands of communities but the plants often have poor financial sustainability. Widespread uptake of electric cooking in such communities is currently not feasible due to high peak loads and limited capacity. In this [...] Read more.
In rural Nepal, micro-hydropower plant mini-grids provide renewable electricity to thousands of communities but the plants often have poor financial sustainability. Widespread uptake of electric cooking in such communities is currently not feasible due to high peak loads and limited capacity. In this paper, we develop a Remote-Areas Multi-Energy Systems Load Profiles (RAMP)-based stochastic techno-economic model for evaluating the economic viability of off-grid communities and improving their financial sustainability by introducing new appliances, productive end uses, and demand-side management measures. The model can be used to understand community electricity demand, assess economic status, determine equitable and profitable tariff structures, and plan new connections including electric cooking promotion or new industrial machines. Detailed electric cooking load modelling functionality was developed to represent Nepali cooking practices, scalable to approximate widespread uptake of electric cooking, and adaptable to other cookers and contexts. The model showed that a payment structure based on electricity consumption rather than a flat tariff could increase the income of a case study community in Eastern Nepal by 400%, although increased monthly payments for certain households from NPR 110 (USD 0.93) to NPR 500–1100 (USD 4.22–9.29) could present difficulty. However, households could reduce their electricity consumption and a more equitable tariff structure could be chosen while preserving plant profitability. The number of industrial machines such as mills could be doubled and up to 40 households provided with electric cookers if demand-side management measures were introduced. Full article
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Article
Environmental Hotspot Assessment for a PV Mini-Grid Design: A Case Study for Malawi
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4227; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144227 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
The United Nations Sustainable Goal 7, access to affordable and clean energy, is unlikely to be achieved, with an estimated 600 million people still without access to electricity by 2030. One potential route to support this goal is through the use of mini-grids [...] Read more.
The United Nations Sustainable Goal 7, access to affordable and clean energy, is unlikely to be achieved, with an estimated 600 million people still without access to electricity by 2030. One potential route to support this goal is through the use of mini-grids to provide electricity in densely populated rural areas for which grid connection is not possible. This paper presents the results of a life cycle assessment of a mini-grid, designed for construction in Malawi. It analyses the cradle to end of use for this mini-grid configuration, for a grid sized for lighting, refrigeration and phone charging, and for a grid sized for electric cooking (e-cooking). The results suggest that for lighting configuration, the main contributors to environmental impact are the poles, the overhead cabling, and the PV panels. The use of a chromium-based preservative is the main issue for the poles, and a switch to concrete poles can deliver significant benefits. When the grid is sized for e-cooking, the PV panels become the greatest contributor. Adding a diesel generator to the mini-grid configuration can reduce number of panels required and hence the environmental impact, but only if the generator is used for no more than 2 h per day. Full article
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Article
Understanding Load Profiles of Mini-Grid Customers in Tanzania
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4207; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144207 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Strategies for meeting Sustainable Development Goal 7 of providing access to electricity for all recognize the important role that off-grid solutions will need to play. Mini-grids will from part of this response, yet little data exists on household demand from these customers. Predicting [...] Read more.
Strategies for meeting Sustainable Development Goal 7 of providing access to electricity for all recognize the important role that off-grid solutions will need to play. Mini-grids will from part of this response, yet little data exists on household demand from these customers. Predicting demand accurately is a crucial part of planning financially viable mini-grid systems, so it is important to understand demand as fully as possible. This paper draws on metered data from two solar PV diesel hybrid mini-grid sites in Tanzania. It presents an analysis of load profiles from the different sites and categorizes households by demand characteristics. The paper then combines load profile data with household demographic and electrical asset ownership data to explore factors behind distinct load profile patterns of use. It concludes that load profiles are determined by a complex mix of appliance ownership, occupancy, and socio-economic status. Full article
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Article
Joint Optimal Planning of Electricity and Modern Energy Cooking Services Access in Nyagatare
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4093; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144093 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 943
Abstract
In 2019, there were 759 million people globally without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people lacked access to clean cooking. Cooking with electricity could contribute to achieving universal access to energy by 2030. This paper uses geospatially-based techniques—a computer model named REM, [...] Read more.
In 2019, there were 759 million people globally without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people lacked access to clean cooking. Cooking with electricity could contribute to achieving universal access to energy by 2030. This paper uses geospatially-based techniques—a computer model named REM, for Reference Electrification Model—to show the impact of integrating electric cooking into electrification planning. Three household scenarios were analyzed: one for providing basic electricity access with no electric cooking; another for cooking with electricity; and the third for cooking half of the meals with electricity and half with another fuel, with a clean stacking process. Results of the application of REM to the three scenarios were obtained for the Nyagatare District, Rwanda. The case study showed that electric cooking substantially changes the mix of technologies and the total cost of the least-cost electrification plan. It also showed that electric cooking can be cost competitive compared to LPG and charcoal in grid-connected households and can reduce greenhouse emissions. Stacking with energy-efficient electric appliances provides most of the benefits of full electric cooking at a lower cost and is a pathway worthy of further consideration. Full article
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Article
BioLPG for Clean Cooking in Sub-Saharan Africa: Present and Future Feasibility of Technologies, Feedstocks, Enabling Conditions and Financing
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3916; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133916 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1638
Abstract
Energy supply for clean cooking is a priority for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, i.e., propane or butane or a mixture of both) is an economically efficient, cooking energy solution used by over 2.5 billion people worldwide and scaled up in [...] Read more.
Energy supply for clean cooking is a priority for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, i.e., propane or butane or a mixture of both) is an economically efficient, cooking energy solution used by over 2.5 billion people worldwide and scaled up in numerous low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Investigation of the technical, policy, economic and physical requirements of producing LPG from renewable feedstocks (bioLPG) finds feasibility at scale in Africa. Biogas and syngas from the circular economic repurposing of municipal solid waste and agricultural waste can be used in two groundbreaking new chemical processes (Cool LPG or Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IH2)) to selectively produce bioLPG. Evidence about the nature and scale potential of bioLPG presented in this study justifies further investment in the development of bioLPG as a fuel that can make a major contribution toward enabling an SSA green economy and universal energy access. Techno-economic assessments of five potential projects from Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda illustrate what might be possible. BioLPG technology is in the early days of development, so normal technology piloting and de-risking need to be undertaken. However, fully developed bioLPG production could greatly reduce the public and private sector investment required to significantly increase SSA clean cooking capacity. Full article
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Article
Bottled Biogas—An Opportunity for Clean Cooking in Ghana and Uganda
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3856; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133856 - 26 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion (AD) can bring benefits in terms of effective management of organic waste, recovery of nutrients and energy recovery, and is consistent with circular economy principles. AD has been promoted and implemented worldwide, but at widely differing scales, influenced by the availability [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) can bring benefits in terms of effective management of organic waste, recovery of nutrients and energy recovery, and is consistent with circular economy principles. AD has been promoted and implemented worldwide, but at widely differing scales, influenced by the availability and location of feedstocks. In developing countries, feedstock arises from small- to medium-scale agriculture and agro-processing operations, as well as from household and municipal waste. Biogas produced from residues from agro-processing facilities may be used for on-site heat and power, but the lack of a gas and electricity grid infrastructure can limit opportunities to distribute gas or generated electricity to wider users. This paper presents the findings of the first study to consider novel technologies for small-scale and low-cost biogas clean-up into biomethane, and compression into small bottles, suitable as a clean cooking fuel. The paper reports on the initial evaluation of biomethane for cooking in Ghana and Uganda. Full article
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Article
An Overview of the Technical Challenges Facing the Deployment of Electric Cooking on Hybrid PV/Diesel Mini-Grid in Rural Tanzania—A Case Study Simulation
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3761; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133761 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 554
Abstract
This paper lays out a methodology that could be used by mini-grid developers to assess the design readiness and future design requirement to accommodate electric cooking (eCook). While mini-grids in developing countries continue to grow in popularity, typically their designs are not yet [...] Read more.
This paper lays out a methodology that could be used by mini-grid developers to assess the design readiness and future design requirement to accommodate electric cooking (eCook). While mini-grids in developing countries continue to grow in popularity, typically their designs are not yet sufficiently developed to accommodate large power appliances. Moving towards clean cooking using electricity will cause technical risks for mini-grids in terms of voltage drop, voltage unbalances and capacity shortage. In this paper, these parameters are studied on a mini-grid network modeled in OpenDSS/MATLAB as a simulation platform, where the selected mini-grid topology is hub and spoke. Two network studies are considered, the first investigates the limitations of the mini-grid in terms of the generation capacity available to supply the demand for different levels of eCook penetration, while the second focuses on the network constraints for different eCook penetrations. In general, the results show that voltage drop and voltage imbalance issues can be reasonably and affordably addressed by using cables of a larger cross-sectional area. The main issue prohibiting higher penetrations of eCook centre on generation capacity requirements, which led to a techno-economic analysis being conducted to assess future mini-grid sizes as well as targeting economic and environmental objectives and meeting the overall demand on a generically representative mini-grid in a rural region in East Africa. The discussion section in this paper highlights the main barriers to the accommodation of eCook on rural mini-grids and presents suggestions for future work that addresses new design specifications for the next generation of eCook mini-grids. Full article
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Article
Modelling the Costs and Benefits of Modern Energy Cooking Services—Methods and Case Studies
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3371; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123371 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
Globally, 2.8 billion people still cook with biomass, resulting in health, environmental, and social challenges; electric cooking is a key option for a transition to modern energy cooking services. However, electric cooking is assumed to be too expensive, grids can be unreliable and [...] Read more.
Globally, 2.8 billion people still cook with biomass, resulting in health, environmental, and social challenges; electric cooking is a key option for a transition to modern energy cooking services. However, electric cooking is assumed to be too expensive, grids can be unreliable and the connection capacity of mini-grids and solar home systems is widely assumed to be insufficient. Developments in higher performance and lower cost batteries and solar photovoltaics can help, but they raise questions of affordability and environmental impacts. The range of issues is wide, and existing studies do not capture them coherently. A new suite of models is outlined that represents the technical, economic, human, and environmental benefits and impacts of delivering electric cooking services, with a life-cycle perspective. This paper represents the first time this diverse range of approaches has been brought together. The paper illustrates their use through combined application to case studies for transitions of households from traditional fuels to electric cooking: for urban grid-connected households in Zambia; for mini-grid connected households in Tanzania; and for off-grid households in Kenya. The results show that electric cooking can be cost-effective, and they demonstrate overall reductions in human and ecological impacts but point out potential impact ‘hotspots’. The network analysis shows that electric cooking can be accommodated to a significant extent on existing grids, due partly to diversity effects in the nature and timing of cooking practices. Full article
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TIME to Change: An Evaluation of Practical Action Nepal’s Results Based Finance Program
Energies 2021, 14(10), 2891; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14102891 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
Set against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7, and the need to increase biomass Improved Cookstove (ICS) adoption and sustained use across the globe, this paper presents an evaluation of Practical Action Nepal’s (PAN) Results Based Financing for Improved Cookstove Market Development [...] Read more.
Set against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7, and the need to increase biomass Improved Cookstove (ICS) adoption and sustained use across the globe, this paper presents an evaluation of Practical Action Nepal’s (PAN) Results Based Financing for Improved Cookstove Market Development in Nepal (RBF) project, which was conducted between January and April 2020. Nepal has a long history of International Development assistance, yet 65.8% of rural households still use firewood as their primary source of energy. With this in mind we aimed to understand the barriers, enablers and engagement strategies for the adoption and sustained use of Improved Cookstoves (ICS), map key stakeholder role perceptions and interactions, and identify areas for improvement to increase the sustained use of ICS in the focus communities. This paper uses the methodological approach from the qualitative Technology Implementation Model for Energy (TIME) for the data collection and analysis elements. Our core results show a direct need for improved communication between all key stakeholder groups, the impact of demand and supply side financial incentives in creating reputational risk for community-based key stakeholders, and how the RBF mechanism promotes initial end-user adoption but not sustained use of ICS due to a focus on immediate results. Full article
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Review

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Review
eCooking: Challenges and Opportunities from a Consumer Behaviour Perspective
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4345; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144345 - 19 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1275
Abstract
New opportunities are opening for electric cooking (eCooking) as a cost-effective, practical and desirable solution to the twin global challenges of clean cooking and electrification. Globally, momentum is building behind the transformative potential of eCooking to achieve a range of environmental and social [...] Read more.
New opportunities are opening for electric cooking (eCooking) as a cost-effective, practical and desirable solution to the twin global challenges of clean cooking and electrification. Globally, momentum is building behind the transformative potential of eCooking to achieve a range of environmental and social impacts. However, cooking is a complex, culturally embedded practice, that results in an array of behavioural change challenges that must be understood and overcome for these new opportunities to translate into impact at scale. The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme was designed to explore this space and pilot innovative new eCooking services with the potential to rapidly scale. This paper reflects upon the programme’s key learnings to date on the behavioural change dimension of eCooking. It consolidates what we now know on the subject and highlights the gaps that remain, where further investigation is needed. The evidence shows that the uptake of eCooking can be hindered by (often false) perceptions around cost, taste and safety, the high cost and steep learning curve for new appliances, the lack of awareness/availability/after-sales service for energy-efficient appliances and the reluctance of male decision-makers to authorise appliance purchases. However, it also shows that the convenience and potential cost savings offered by energy-efficient appliances can offer an aspirational cooking experience and that uptake could be driven forward rapidly by urbanisation and changing lifestyles. Full article
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Review
Funding and Delivery Models for Modern Energy Cooking Services in Displacement Settings: A Review
Energies 2021, 14(14), 4176; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14144176 - 10 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2182
Abstract
Cooking with modern energy fuels and technologies has a high potential to positively impact the users’ health and well-being, and make cooking safer and less burdensome for women and girls. To date, there have been numerous interventions targeting improved cooking solutions in displacement [...] Read more.
Cooking with modern energy fuels and technologies has a high potential to positively impact the users’ health and well-being, and make cooking safer and less burdensome for women and girls. To date, there have been numerous interventions targeting improved cooking solutions in displacement settings, but very few which have involved modern energy cooking, such as ethanol, biogas, LPG or electric cooking. They have been largely absent from humanitarian programming due to limited availability, affordability and lack of business models that suit those complex settings. Additionally, energy access services in displacement settings have historically relied primarily on grant-based funding. However, grants are limited to relatively short timeframes which do not align with the long-term needs of the displaced. New ways of funding energy access in displacement settings, and particularly modern energy cooking services, are urgently needed to address the scale of the challenge as the number of displaced surpassed 80 million in 2020, with close to 90% having little or no access to adequate cooking fuels and technologies. In this paper, we review modern energy cooking in displacement settings and the common ways of funding and delivering them. We argue that new ways of funding and delivering energy access in displacement settings are urgently needed to address the scale of the challenge and to facilitate transitions to modern energy cooking fuels and technologies, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 7 and the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’. Full article
Review
Losing the Energy to Cook: An Exploration of Modern Food Systems and Energy Consumption in Domestic Kitchens
Energies 2021, 14(13), 4004; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14134004 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme has generated data on the amount of energy required to cook meals using different fuels and cooking devices. Fuel stacking is commonplace, especially among households with access to modern fuels. Experience shows that people tend to [...] Read more.
The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme has generated data on the amount of energy required to cook meals using different fuels and cooking devices. Fuel stacking is commonplace, especially among households with access to modern fuels. Experience shows that people tend to use modern fuels for quick tasks, such as preparing a cup of tea, but prefer to use biomass fuels for foods that take longer to cook. Therefore, changes in the choice of foods in the household menu have the potential to affect the transition to modern fuels. This paper discusses the potential of innovative and emerging aspects of food systems in low-income countries to impact on households. It starts by looking at the processing of indigenous crops to create convenient and nutritious food products. This leads to an overview of the rapid growth of the food processing industry and future opportunities. Consuming food that has been prepared outside of the home is also a common and rapidly growing practice, which is likely to be driven (and disrupted) by technological innovation. Cooking energy considerations depend largely on fuel stacking behaviours, and the paper argues that modern food systems have the potential to reduce energy consumption in the kitchen, and to play a role in displacing traditional biomass fuels with modern fuels. Full article
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Concept Paper
Cultural and Economic Barriers in Switching to Clean Cooking Energy: Does Women’s Agency Make a Difference?
Energies 2021, 14(21), 7242; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14217242 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 573
Abstract
The major objective of this study is to identify and analyze cultural and economic barriers to sustained adoption of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as the primary clean cooking energy in India, and examining underpinning values and norms in socio-technical energy system of the [...] Read more.
The major objective of this study is to identify and analyze cultural and economic barriers to sustained adoption of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as the primary clean cooking energy in India, and examining underpinning values and norms in socio-technical energy system of the country. In 2016, the Government of India introduced a mega scheme called Ujjwala for clean cooking energy with LPG connects in women’s name. This policy, however, experienced limited implementation, but did lead to enhancing women’s agency in many areas. Women’s agency is defined briefly as their ability to set goals, develop capacities, and act on their defined goals to realize desired outcomes in wellbeing and capabilities. In the case of switching to clean cooking energy, the question can be posed as: as women are the ones who carry out most of the onerous work of collecting and cooking with wood, are they able to make decisions on the adoption of clean cooking fuel, that enhance their agency and the wellbeing of their families? Male-centred cultural and economic norms can be changed by the exercise of women’s agency, when (1) women have unmediated asset ownership rights to land, houses, and energy technology; (2) they are organized in groups for earning cash incomes and energy access; (3) they have acquired new knowledge, skills, and finances to acquire and operate new technologies; and (4) women have experienced the effects of policy change addressing gendered norms. Full article
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