Building Inclusive Energy MarketsBoiling Point, Issue 65 2015.

Boiling Point ‘Building Inclusive Energy Markets’ in partnership with Guest Editors: Shell Foundation is the global practioners’ journal’s 65th issue. Articles are available online below and the full issue will shortly be available in full PDF form and in hard copy. This issue has brought together a wealth of expert knowledge and opinion on energy markets with the hard work and valuable contributions from several authors, peer reviewers and editors.

Theme Articles

General Articles

  • Household scale peanut shell briquette productionAuthors: Jessica Tryner, Jess W.Everett, Hong Zhang. The following article is a study report where briquettes were produced from peanut shells using three different methods for preparing the peanut shell material and four different devices used to… [more]
  • Predicting sustained use of improved charcoal stoves in Haiti. Authors: Olivier D. C. Lefebvre, Li Wang. Once people have made the step to acquire an improved cookstove (ICS), long term sustained use is key to reaping all the potential benefits of a cleaner and more efficient stove. However evidence… [more]



Estimation of Organic and Elemental Carbon Emitted from Wood Burning in Traditional and Improved Cookstoves Using Controlled Cooking Test. Env Sci Technol, May 2015.

Authors: Pooja Arora and Suresh Jain

Emission of various climate- and health-related pollutant species from solid biomass burning in traditional cookstoves is a global concern. Improved cookstoves serve as a possible solution to mitigate the associated impacts. However, there is a need to intensify the efforts in order to increase the data availability and promote revision of existing metrics of cookstove testing.

In this study, the effect of different phases of a cooking cycle of Northern India on emission factors of OC and EC (char and soot) was assessed for four cookstoves (advanced, improved, and traditional) using Acacia nilotica. Lowest EFs for OC (0.04 g/MJ) and EC (0.02 g/MJ) were observed in case of the forced draft cookstove; while the traditional and natural draft top feed cookstove emitted the highest OC (0.07 g/MJ) and EC (0.09 g/MJ), respectively. Variation in terms of EFs for OC and EC (char and soot) within the cooking cycle was also found to be significant.


Real-time particulate and CO concentrations from cookstoves in rural households in Udaipur, India. Env Sci Technol, May 2015.

Authors: Anna Leavey , Jessica Londeree , Pratiti Priyadarshini , Jagdeesh Puppala , Kenneth B. Schechtman , Gautam Yadama, and Pratim Biswas

Almost 3 billion people around the globe use traditional three-stone cookstoves and open fires to warm and feed themselves. The World Health Organization estimates annual mortality rates from domestic solid fuel combustion to be around 4 million. One of the most affected countries is India. Quantifying pollutant concentrations from these cookstoves during different phases of operation, and understanding the factors influencing their variability may help to identify where improvements should be targeted, enhancing indoor air quality for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Gas and particulate measurements were collected between June-August, 2012, for 51 households using traditional cookstoves, in the villages of Udaipur district, Rajasthan, India. Mean pollutant concentrations during steady-state mode were 4989µm2cm-3, 9835µgm-3 and 18.5ppm for lung-deposited surface area, PM2.5 and CO respectively. Simple and multivariate regression analysis was conducted. Fuel amount, fuel diameter, duration of the cookstove run, roof type, and the room dimension explained between 7% and 21% of the variability for the pollutant metrics.

CO demonstrated weaker correlations with explanatory variables. Some of these variables may be indicative of socio-economic status and could be used as proxies of exposure in lieu of pollutant measurements, hence these variables may help identify which households to prioritize for intervention. Such associations should be further explored.

Wilson, D.L. et al., 2015. Comparing Cookstove Usage Measured with Sensors Versus Cell Phone-Based Surveys in Darfur, Sudan. In S. Hostettler, E. Hazbourn, & J.-C. Bolay, eds. Technologies for Development: What is Essential? New York: Springer International Publishing, pp. 211–221.

Three billion people rely on combustion of biomass to cook their food, and the resulting air pollution kills 4 million people annually. Replacing inefficient traditional stoves with “improved cookstoves” may help reduce the dangers of cooking. Therefore analysts, policy makers, and practitioners are eager to quantify adoption of improved cookstoves. In this study, we use 170 instrumented cook- stoves as well as cellphone-based surveys to measure the adoption of free-of-charge Berkeley-Darfur Stoves (BDSs) in Darfur, Sudan where roughly 34,000 BDS have been disseminated.

We estimate that at least 71 % of participants use the stove more than 10 % of days that the sensor was installed on the cookstove. Compared to sensor-measured data, surveyed participants overestimate adoption both in terms of daily hours of cooking and daily cooking events (p < 0.001). Average participants overreport daily cooking hours by 1.2 h and daily cooking events by 1.3 events. These overestimations are roughly double sensor-measured values. Data reported by participants may be erroneous due to difficulty in recollection, courtesy bias, or the desire to keep personal information obscure.

A significant portion of sensors was lost during this study, presumably due to thermal damage from the unexpected commonality of charcoal fires in the BDS; thus pointing to a potential need to redesign the stove to accommodate users’ desire to cook using multiple fuel types. The cooking event detection algorithm seems to perform well in terms of face validity, but a database of cooking logs or witnessed accounts of cooking is absent; the algorithm should be trained against expert-labeled data for the local cooking context to further refine its performance.

Indicators of exposure to household air pollution. WHO Bulletin, May 2015.

Authors: Kendra N Williams, Amanda L Northcross & Jay P Graham

More information could be collected through national surveys to increase awareness and knowledge of the extent and impact of household air pollution. Because the development of specific questions for national surveys is a lengthy process that requires extensive piloting and testing to assure validity and reliability, we do not propose specific questions, but rather summarize categories of information critical for understanding the problem, based on examples from a related field: water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

In contrast to the WASH field, no indicator in the DHS or MICS tracks types of cooking apparatus owned or used for cooking. Information on fuel collection is also incomplete. We suggest that additional indicators are needed in the following categories:

  • types of cooking apparatus owned;
  • use of cooking apparatus;
  • fuel collection practices;
  • fine particulate matter exposures or household concentrations; and
  • fuels used for heating and lighting.

Understanding Impacts of Women’s Engagement in the Improved Cookstove Value Chain in Kenya, 2015.


  • Anita V. Shankar, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Center for Global Clean Air; Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
  • Mary Alice Onyura, ESVAK Community Development Initiatives
  • Jessica Alderman, Envirofit International

In this study, we examine the relative impacts of engaging women entrepreneurs in the clean cooking value chain and its association with overall improved cookstove (ICS) sales and adoption. The overall objectives were to understand the impacts that women can have on sales of ICS when engaged as entrepreneurs and to compare the relative business capacities of newly trained male and female entrepreneurs who received either basic entrepreneurial training or a novel agency-based empowerment training.

Gender and Livelihoods Impacts of Clean Cookstoves in South Asia: Executive Summary, 2015 .

Commissioned by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Developed by: Practical Action; Lead Contact: Dr. Ewan Bloomfield, Practical Action

In South Asia, women play a significant and dominant role within the household cooking sector. Generally women do most of the cooking and, therefore, are disproportionately affected by household air pollution (HAP) caused by the inefficient burning of solid biomass cooking fuels. They are also required to spend a significant amount of time and effort collecting the traditionally used biomass fuels, a physically draining task that can take up to 20 or more hours per week.

This study analyzes the gender impacts of clean cooking solutions on households that have adopted them, as well as women’s current and potential involvement in ICS market systems in each of the three South Asian countries. This study focuses primarily on improved biomass cookstoves, but also analyzes the use of other cooking solutions, including kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Efforts have been made to generate recommendations on women’s involvement in ICS value chains that can effectively reach “last mile” households in South Asia.


Biogas fact sheet, 2015. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Biogas is a methane rich gas produced through the anaerobic (without air) digestion of organic wastes. It can be generated from animal and kitchen wastes, as well as some crop residues. For cooking and other thermal household tasks, biogas can be used directly in conventional low-pressure gas burners.

Biogas is used for many different applications worldwide. In rural communities, small-scale digesters can provide biogas for single-household cooking and lighting. Large-scale digesters can utilize biogas for electricity production, heat and steam, chemical production, and vehicle fuel.

Africa: 5 Innovations that will Electrify Africa in the Next Decade, April 29, 2015.

Gesper Mndeme is a 31-year old farmer, father, and part-time business student in Tanzania. He used to stumble through the pre-dawn darkness by way of a flickering candle to prepare the morning meal for himself and his daughter, Sunny. A kerosene flame from an old water bottle lit their 200-square-foot hut while emitting plumes of toxic smoke. Now for less than the $1 he used to spend daily on kerosene and candles, he and his daughter enjoy two LED lights, a cell-phone charger, and a radio. The soft sound of local Tanzanian rhythms fills the moist morning air as he prepares cassava and vegetables.

Worldwide, 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity, while another 1 billion experience significant rolling blackouts. Nearly 97% of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia, and lack of reliable electricity creates a massive drain on education, manufacturing, and retail. More than 50 percent of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa identify electricity as a major constraint to their operation compared with just 27 % citing transportation.

But that will soon change. The confluence of five dynamics will electrify the continent within a decade. These include the rapidly declining price of solar energy, increased battery capacity per dollar, the proliferation of mobile phone commerce, innovative consumer finance techniques, and creative for-profit business models.

Here’s a look at each:

1. Cheaper solar electricity. Swanson’s Law, which states that solar cell prices fall 20% for every doubling in industry capacity, is finally beginning to play out. Lower prices for solar panels in the developed world make this renewable energy competitive with electricity. This competitiveness fuels a virtuous cycle of increased spending on R&D, which further decreases panel prices.

The price per watt of solar electricity has decreased 44% since the end of 2011, and all trends point to even lower costs with economies of scale. Sub-Saharan Africa is ideal for solar energy, as it receives more solar radiation than almost anywhere else in the world. Lack of infrastructure and ineffective public energy bureaucracies make it unlikely that the 85% of Africans off the national grids will ever connect to them. Just as cell phones displaced landlines in the developing world, solar energy will bring electricity to the masses, displacing kerosene and candles.

Household Air Pollution Causes Dose-Dependent Inflammation and Altered Phagocytosis in Human Macrophages. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, May 2015.

Authors: Jamie Rylance, Duncan G. Fullerton, James Scriven, et al.

We used human alveolar macrophages obtained from healthy Malawian adults exposed naturally to household air pollution and compared them with human monocyte-derived macrophages exposed in vitro to respirable-sized particulates. Cellular inflammatory response was assessed by IL-6 and IL-8 production in response to particulate challenge; phagosomal function was tested by uptake and oxidation of fluorescence-labeled beads; ingestion and killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis were measured by microscopy and quantitative culture.

Particulate ingestion was quantified by digital image analysis. We were able to reproduce the carbon loading of naturally exposed alveolar macrophages by in vitro exposure of monocyte-derived macrophages. Fine carbon black induced IL-8 release from monocyte-derived and alveolar macrophages (P < 0.05) with similar magnitude responses (log10 increases of 0.93 [SEM = 0.2] versus 0.74 [SEM = 0.19], respectively). Phagocytosis of pneumococci and mycobacteria was impaired with higher particulate loading.

High particulate loading corresponded with a lower oxidative burst capacity (P = 0.0015). There was no overall effect on killing of M. tuberculosis. Alveolar macrophage function is altered by particulate loading. Our macrophage model is comparable morphologically to the in vivo uptake of particulates. Wood smoke–exposed cells demonstrate reduced phagocytosis, but unaffected mycobacterial killing, suggesting defects related to chronic wood smoke inhalation limited to specific innate immune functions.