The production and use of wood fuel is an important socio-economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Over 80% of the population relies on wood fuel as their primary household energy source, with an average per capita consumption of 0.7 m3/year. There are increasing cooking energy demands in urban and peri-urban areas, because of a high population growth rate and increasing migration to towns and cities.

Challenges experienced with traditional cooking fuels

Using wood / charcoal with traditional cooking methods however causes environmental and health issues. As a result of high demand and shortages the price of cooking fuel is sky rocketing and affecting the spending power in many poor urban communities.

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FabStove Flame Example

The FabStove has been designed as a clean and efficient modular cooking device for use in areas where there is no AC power. The stove uses renewable biomass pellets as a fuel and uses a small battery powered DC fan to improve the combustion efficiency and virtually eliminate any harmful emissions.

The removable and replaceable gasifier is a feature that makes loading, lighting and char dumping very easy. The fire chamber is also replaceable making maintenance affordable and extending the life of the stove investment.

COOKING FUEL OPTIONS FOR USERS

Fuel spend is a major expense for any household and finding a reliable cheap source of cooking fuel is a determining factor on what stove is used in the home. Some users might choose more than one fuel/stove combination based on their cooking needs and the cost of the fuel.

Below are 3 commonly chosen cooking fuels:

Charcoal is used throughout Africa, and is an efficient clean fuel when compared to raw wood, but it is very taxing on the environment and requires far more harvested raw wood than using a normal wood fire. This is causes of deforestation as charcoal usage increases in urban areas. Charcoal manufacture also takes whole trunks and branches to make lump charcoal and leaves large volumes of charcoal dust.

Biomass Pellets are made from dried biomass  (waste or harvested material). 100% of the material used is reduced and compressed into pellets. The pellets are as hard as coal, and have a large surface area making their combustion that same as hard wood whether it is made from wood or agro-waste.

LPG (Propane Gas) is a very clean efficient cooking fuel, but has many value chain challenges. It is not renewable, has to be imported, and has a long supply chain, often requiring large investments in bottle manufacture and gas distribution equipment.

A gasifier stove with biomass pellets has the same thermal efficiency of the flame of an LPG stove but offers significant fuel savings.