Loughborough University leads a UK aid programme to tackle climate change

5 Apr 2019 02:00 PM

UK aid is to develop efficient electric and gas cooking appliances as an alternative to charcoal and wood stoves.

Loughborough University and the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) joined forces in leading a UK aid research project to find innovative, clean and modern alternatives to biomass fuels, such as charcoal and wood.

Currently, over a third of the world’s population cook using these polluting fuels, leading to around four million premature deaths each year – primarily among women and children.

Using charcoal and wood to cook has a significant impact on climate change, contributing three per cent of the total CO2 emissions every year. The use of these biomass fuels, particularly charcoal, involves cutting and burning of wood sources, of which 34 per cent comes from unsustainable sources.

The partnership between Loughborough University and UK aid will find ways for two billion people to use electricity to cook at home in an affordable, reliable and sustainable way. It will also find solutions to provide clean cooking options for the one billion people that do not yet have access to electricity.

Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, yesterday said:

We cannot ignore the impact of using unsustainable wood and charcoal for home cooking because it contributes to climate change and harms people’s health.

By using British expertise from world-leading UK research institutions and the private sector we can bring together the right technology, ideas and researchers to help tackle climate change and prevent millions of unnecessary deaths.

Thanks to UK government funding already awarded to the team Loughborough University and Gamos, a company working with the social factors of technology, have produced a series of stove prototypes. These include battery supported stoves that people can use even if they live off-grid or don’t have reliable access to electricity.

The £39.8 million programme, run by Loughborough University and ESMAP of the World Bank, will:

Professor Ed Brown, National Co-Coordinator of the UK Low Carbon Energy for Development Network at Loughborough University, yesterday said:

For too long clean cooking has been the poor relation of the global clean energy sector, receiving less attention and funding than electricity access. Without a major change in direction, the global commitment to bringing clean modern cooking services to everyone by 2030 stands no chance of being met.

With this programme, we intend to provoke a revolution in how the international community approaches this issue and significantly accelerate the progress being made in moving people away from cooking with biomass to really clean and modern energy cooking services.

Rohit Khanna, Program Manager for ESMAP in the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice, yesterday said:

Accelerating the transition to clean stoves and fuels requires a serious global effort to push the boundaries on innovative technologies and to mobilize unprecedented levels of public and private financing.

ESMAP brings to this partnership a wealth of experience and lessons learned in promoting clean cooking solutions, drawing on the World Bank’s work in low income countries.

Loughborough University will also work with other UK research institutions such as The University of Birmingham, De Montfort University, Durham University, Gamos, The University of Liverpool, University College London, Newcastle University, University of Strathclyde, The University of Surrey and The University of Sussex.

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