• Deepak Ashwani
The use of wood and charcoal for cooking is a major cause of increasing deforestation, indoor air pollution and associated environmental problems (desertification, erosion, floods, etc.) in developing countries. Apart from low fuel efficiency in the open fires, the traditional stove designs, cooking culture such as using cow dung and architectural custom also contribute to harmful smoke, which is considered the worst health problem for children under 5 years old in developing countries. According to WHO, around two million people die worldwide due to indoor smoke impacting more women and children compared to men. In past cook-stove programs, various efforts have been made by companies, governments and international organizations in research and implementation of improved cook-stoves in the rural and urban areas and in many countries it is introduced with subsidies. The advanced cook-stoves are more efficient, produce less smoke, make it easier to cook, clean etc. but still they need to rely on firewood or charcoal which only helps in delaying the problem of deforestation and resulting in unsustainable use of biomass resources. Traditional firewood as a cooking fuel is also not considered uniform and reliable fuel source by international organizations like United Nations and developing countries governments. In the rainy season or in case of scarcity of wood as it is observed now due to deforestation in countries like Tanzania, people face problems even with advanced cook-stoves. After all of these efforts, traditional firewood cooking still exists for about three billion people in the world.

It can be strongly argued that one of the biggest reasons for the persistence of this problem is that there is no focus on securing a reliable and renewable energy fuel source which can be used in advanced cook-stoves. Conventional cooking fuel source alternatives like LPG/kerosene/electricity are riddled with other problems such as cost, safety, transportation and lack of infrastructure in rural and remote areas. Therefore, it is essential to introduce sustainable fuel supply made from locally available renewable resources with high fuel use efficiency and as competitive in terms of harmful emissions as of LPG. One of the potential renewable resources can be the manufacturing of pellets by sustainably available local biomass resources which could represent a reliable and uniform cooking fuel. The use of pellets in efficient gasifying stoves with micro-gasification technology converts solid biomass into gas for clean burning. However, these stoves use along with pellets is very limited in developing countries at present and there is a need of awareness to develop scalable and financially sustainable business models which provides wider acceptance of efficient biomass stoves and pellets as a cooking fuel. In this report, based on presently available limited business models of selling pellets and gasifying stoves, hypothetical business models will be designed which will be accessed for selected variables.

This research report will investigate the potential business models for cost effective pellets production as a sustainable cooking fuel supply in developing countries. It is a key to sell advanced cook-stoves and long term solution to the problems faced in traditional cooking practices.
Publication date7 Jun 2012
Number of pages57
ID: 63642592