From: Jen Boynton, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published May 21, 2012 07:10 AM

Charcoal for African Cookstoves, What's the Story?

You may have seen pictures of women in Africa cooking their daily meals on a small cookstove. These cooking implements look remarkably similar to the portable charcoal grills an American family might bring to the beach for an afternoon of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. Imagine using one of these at your kitchen table to prepare nearly every meal of your life.

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In Mozambique (a coastal nation in Southwest Africa, just north of South Africa), the average lifespan is 47 years, the average income is $1 per day — minimum wage is a little more than double that, but high unemployment cuts the average in half. Charcoal is the cooking element of choice. Among market shoppers and sellers we met, charcoal was deemed to be the best cooking option because it is easily available and "not dangerous."

LPG (propane) is the main alternative and it has a bad reputation for unpredictable prices and starting the occasional home fire by explosion.

The market research of NDZiLO, a cleaner alternative cooked up by Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures, reveals a different story: the standard charcoal stoves take a long time to heat up (20-30 minutes), the black soot makes women and their homes dirty; they must clean constantly, and the temperature of the stove is hard to control. That's the satisfaction gap NDZiLO is betting will sell their new ethanol stoves which cost around $30 (subsidized) compared to $3-4 dollars for the cheapest stove in the market.

While deforestation is hardly on the radar of the consumers of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, it’s a massive contributor to global warming, ecosystem destruction, and topsoil dispersal.

Cookstove via Shutterstock.

Article continues at ENN Affiliate TriplePundit.

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