Cleaner cookstoves in Zambia and Ghana
Rudimentary stoves, used for cooking, produce several greenhouse gases through the combustion of non-renewable biomass. These emissions are damaging to the climate, and also greatly increase levels of household air pollution which causes health conditions in the population – particularly affecting women and children.
Ghana is the largest per-capita consumer of charcoal in West Africa, and charcoal is often used as biomass fuel for household cookstoves. There are alternatives such as gas stoves – but these are often too expensive to make the switch accessible to many families.
Traditionally, the majority of Zambian families cook on an open fire, utilising the ‘three rocks’ method for heating pots to cook meals. In this case, the non-renewable biomass used is wood fuel.
As well as the climate and health implications of these cookstoves, using large quantities of charcoal and wood as fuel cooking stoves causes deforestation and desertification when these fuel sources are collected from nearby.
This project replaces carbon-intensive charcoal stoves with fuel-efficient insulated stoves, known as the Toyola Coalpot, across Ghana. These ‘coalpots’ are 33% more fuel-efficient than traditional cooking methods and significantly reduce charcoal consumption – reducing both air pollution and decreasing the amount of biomass required.
For each use of an improved cookstove which replaces the use of a traditional cookstove, greenhouse emissions are avoided. Communities also benefit from lower fuel costs, reduced exposure to damaging pollutants, faster cooking and increased cleanliness and convenience in the home. In addition, the reduced volume of biomass required for cooking eases pressure on natural sources like forests.