A £39.8 million UK aid project is exploring the development of efficient and clean cooking appliances as an alternative to charcoal and wood stoves.
Loughborough University and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) have joined forces for the project to find innovative and modern alternatives to biomass fuels.
They will launch a Challenge Fund for technology companies, research institutions and NGOs to apply for funding to invent alternatives to the use of the traditional polluting fuels.
According to the Department for International Development, more than a third of the world’s population cook using these polluting fuels currently, leading to around for million premature deaths every year – primarily among women and children.
Using charcoal and wood for cooking also has significant impacts on climate change, contributing to around 3% of total carbon emissions a year.
The use of the biomass fuels, particularly charcoal, involves cutting and burning of wood sources, of which 34% comes from unsustainable sources.
Professor Ed Brown, National Co-Coordinator of the UK Low Carbon Energy for Development Network at Loughborough University, said: “For too long clean cooking has been the poor relation of the global clean energy sector, receiving less attention and funding than electricity access. Without a major change in direction, the global commitment to bringing clean modern cooking services to everyone by 2030 stands no chance of being met.
“With this programme, we intend to provoke a revolution in how the international community approaches this issue and significantly accelerate the progress being made in moving people away from cooking with biomass to really clean and modern energy cooking services.”