Transition towards clean cooking.
The project 4CImpacts will provide knowledge on the conditions that need to be in place to support more equitable uptake of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as clean cooking fuel in Tanzania, as well as develop a better understanding of the potential positive impacts of an energy transition. Lack of access to clean cooking technology is the single largest environmental risk factor for disease and disability in countries relying on traditional biomass fuels for household energy due to household air pollution.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, four out of five people use solid biomass fuels as their main source of energy for cooking, charcoal being the primary fuel in urban and peri-urban areas. These fuels are associated with deforestation and climate change. In Tanzania, only 2% of the population has access to clean cooking technology and the mortality burden from household air pollution is high, with an estimated 17,250 - 27,500 premature deaths per year.
A challenge for transitioning to cleaner cooking is the practice of “fuel stacking” at household level: the use of clean cooking technologies alongside polluting traditional fuels. Previous attempts to implement clean household cooking technology has directed attention towards the need to better understand such an energy transition within a social and political economy context including women’s role in unpaid reproductive labour.
Literature shows that comprehensive government programs (e.g. in India, Indonesia, Brazil) is needed to achieve scale for access to clean fuels such as LPG for cooking. Increased accessibility of LPG requires public investments in infrastructure and last-mile supply distribution and retailing.
Critical research is required along several dimensions to understand how cooking technologies matter in people’s lives, and how this information can inform policies for a comprehensive and equitable energy transition towards more sustainable energy use.
The project started in 2020 just before the Corona pandemic hit hard. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused delays in the project, partly due to researchers not being able to carry out fieldwork in Tanzania as planned. Some of the fieldwork has nevertheless been completed in 2021 thanks to local research partners in Tanzania. We have conducted surveys and measurements of air pollution in many households in Dar es-Salaam. The material from this fieldwork is now being analyzed. Further, we are mapping the policy conditions in Tanzania in relation to a wider uptake of LPG.
A number of household interviews with women in Dar es Salaam were conducted in February 2022, on topics such as their experiences with different cooking technologies and the different contexts and choices that lie behind the use of one type of energy as opposed to another. Interviews with stakeholder from NGOs and business were also conducted. Preliminary analysis shows that gas is already considered the type of energy that will be used in Dar es Salaam in the future and that new gas delivery models (“pay as you go”) may improve access to gas for households with lower incomes. Analyses of air pollution measurements and modelling of health effects from a transition from biomass to LPG are continuing.
Results from 4CImpacts have also been the basis for several popular science articles and video clips, for instance published in the magazine Klima, and three project researchers recently participated in a meeting with NORAD to provide input and perspectives on clean cooking technologies in Tanzania.
Half the world relies on biomass energy for cooking, indoor heating, and heating for sanitation. Firewood and charcoal constitutes 4/5 of Total Primary Energy Supply in many countries in the global South. Inefficient combustion in traditional stoves has direct negative impact on people’s health and their wellbeing, forest resources and global climate. Can energy poverty be addressed while also mitigating climate change and deforestation? The project 4CImpacts presents a novel approach for addressing the interlinked issues in SDG 3, 5, 7 and 13: Health, gender, clean energy and climate. Transition to Clean Cooking Technologies and alternative energy sources is at the nexus of addressing the interlinked challenges of deforestation, indoor air pollution and climate change. The project is mainly focusing on LPG, while considering energy transition in general. Our research is specifically on Tanzania; however, the findings will be applicable and relevant for most of sub-Saharan Africa. The objective is to provide knowledge on the conditions that need to be in place to support more equitable uptake of LPG as clean cooking fuel of scale in Tanzania, as well as develop a better understanding of the potential positive impacts of an energy transition. The 4CImpacts project team is interdisciplinary to develop new knowledge on this broad topic. Among the research challenges are the interdisciplinary nature of the project and the reliance of successful field work in Tanzania, both of with the project team has experience with. By combining social sciences and natural sciences, modelling of health and climate impacts will be combined with a critical view of the messy, complex realities on the ground, which together makes the results as realistic as possible. A key societal impact expected is growing access to Clean Cooking Technology for households in Tanzania, which can improve the quality of life for people in resource poor settings, especially for women and children.