Bridging the affordability between battery supported electric cooking and conventional cooking fuel

Keddar, Shafiqa and Strachan, Scott and Galloway, Stuart (2022) Bridging the affordability between battery supported electric cooking and conventional cooking fuel. Energies, 15 (24). 9549. ISSN 1996-1073 (

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Cooking with electricity (eCook) in low-and-middle-income developing countries is still an expensive option compared to using conventional fuels such as charcoal and firewood, so there is a need to identify solutions to make it affordable for all in line with the targets of SDG7. The initial aim of this paper is to understand and provide a comparative analysis of the cooking energy costs through a range of contextualized cooking scenarios—when cooking either with conventional fuels (e.g., charcoal, firewood) or with eCook appliances (e.g., electric pressure cookers (EPC) or hotplates), that are connected to and supplied from an integrated or portable battery (eCook battery). The cooking cost for the eCook cooking scenarios is assessed with and without fuel stacking where a degree of eCook exists alongside other conventional fuels. These studies offer a more realistic concept of the cooking practice to characterize the best fit for cooking scenarios and the main factors required to close the gap between the energy cost of conventional fuel and eCook batteries. The results suggest that to close the affordability gap between firewood and battery-based eCook, three main factors must be considered when estimating the cooking cost: the non-market cost of firewood; ensuring a low mini-grid tariff that is within range of the national grid tariff; and using an optimal eCook battery size with the capability to meet the required demand. In fact, when taking these factors into account; for the 2022 analysis, cooking 100% using an eCook battery is in a range of USD 29–30/month implying that there could be an opportunity for parity when the firewood cost reaches USD 29/month. The same applies to the cooking prediction costs for 2030, reducing further to USD 20–21/month. However, if the firewood is harvested sustainably, ensuring it is high in quality and dry, it would be difficult for battery eCook to compete. It should be emphasized that this research has relevance for governments, practitioners, and researchers.