Transitioning to modern energy for cooking
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The hazards associated with biomass combustion in the household for cooking are well documented. Much effort has concentrated on reducing biomass energy use through the promotion of improved stoves, and by displacing with alternative, modern fuels. Adoption of improved cooking practices has not been as rapid as might be hoped for, and a number of hypotheses for this are reviewed. The SAMSET project takes a comprehensive look at ways in which municipal authorities in sub-Saharan Africa can play an active role in transitioning to more sustainable use of energy. Under the project, independent household surveys were conducted in urban areas of Ghana and Uganda. Both surveys gathered data on a range of aspects of domestic energy use, including cooking, and these data sets have been analysed to provide insights into cooking behaviour. The paper presents data on patterns of consumption of various cooking fuels, along with data on expenditure on each fuel. Both surveys gathered some data on preferences for different fuels for cooking, as well as the reasons lying behind these preferences. The paper then goes on to explore some of these issues in more detail, focussing, for example, on relative costs, showing the cost differentials between biomass and modern fuels, given the prevailing costs in both countries. It explores specific cooking energy consumptions for different fuels, which highlight characteristics of different fuels and appliances. The paper discusses the influence each may have on cooking behaviour and looks for trends evident among different consumer segments found within the urban environment. Finally, the paper discusses those issues that appear to be acting as barriers to the adoption of modern energy and improved cooking practices.