Save Energy, Money and Environment by Using Efficient Electric Cooking Appliances

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  • Published: Wednesday, 27 June 2018 11:23
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Tanzanians depend fully or partly on firewood and charcoal for daily cooking needs. Cooking is mainly done on traditional, low-efficiency stoves, that use charcoal produced locally through informal and uncontrolled value chains and with basic, low-yield technology. Alternative fuels and technologies that are suitable for domestic cooking are available, but have seen only very limited market development so far. Extensive and inefficient use of biomass combined with unsustainable harvesting practices is the single largest cause of demand for biomass and depletion of forest reserves. The situation does not only represent a threat for the climate and the environment. Adverse socio-economic effects of the current practices makes the lack of access to sustainable cooking solutions a poverty trap and create high barriers for economic development.

The different alternatives fuels represent different improvement potential of energy for cooking in Tanzania. Some fuels and technologies such as LPG, ICS and Green Charcoal (Briquettes) are important parts of the solution, with higher impact than kerosene and biogas plants.Electricity is the cleanest way of cooking food and with the current domestic electricity tariffs in Tanzania and cookers which are traditionally used by majority, was perceived as energy which is not affordable for the users. However, the economic value for the society as a whole is limited, and transition to electric cookers requires significant changes in people’s cooking habits. The relatively affordability of electric appliances by upper middle and high income population groups encourage it to be option which will be practised by those groups in the community.

eCook Demostration to stakeholders in Dodoma

People in Tanzania cook varieties of foodstuffs.The country’s food portfolio is largely based on starches and proteins like maize, rice, bananas, cassava, potatoes, millet, beans, animal meat, milk, vegetables, etc. These foods are grown in different rural areas of the country but transported to other areas through food market chains. Maize, beans, meat and vegetables based foods are cooked everywhere in the country. Others are area specific grown and consumed in one region and distributed to other areas to supply that variety of food to people with familiarity with it. There is minor changes on types of food cooked and now a days, some people in urban areas are eating from restaurant in the morning and afternoon while at home in the evening.

The options for energy efficient cooking always raises questions of either to use LPG or electricity versus charcoal and firewood bear in mind that a substantial number of people has accepted to use improved cookstoves. However, according to the findings of the study which was conducted by TaTEDO in partnership with a UK research consortium (Gamos Ltd., University of Surrey and Loughborough University) on a Transformation Household Solar Battery – Electric Cooker for Poverty Alleviation shows that cooking with electricity is affordable and possible even in off-grid areas. The cooking by electricity can be done either in on-grid areas by using grid electricity or off grid areas by using solar PV systems powering the solar batteries.

All of selected appliances proposed for modern energy cooking services were using pressure cooking technologies. A pressure cooker works by cooking food with high-pressure steam. As food is heated in the pot, it builds steam, raising the pressure inside the pot. As the pressure builds up inside the pot, it makes it harder for water molecules from food in the remaining liquid to turn to gas, raising the boiling point of the water. Water normally boils at 212°F (100°C), but inside a pressure cooker, the boiling point can get as high as 250°F (120°C).

Cooking with electric pressure cookers, electric rice cookers and thermal pots is cheaper than cooking with hot plate, LPG, kerosene, charcoal and firewood. The experience from user trained by TaTEDO shows that less than TZS 20,000 is enough for cooking per month. This is contrary to monthly fuel costs of charcoal of TZS 80,000; LPG can of 45,000 and 25 litres of kerosene which its cost is 50,000. It has been difficult for some people to believe this miracle, with rights electric technology, one can cook with electricity at affordable rates compared to other cooking energy resources.

The electric cooking technology requires change of behaviours of people from use of woodfuels. The introduction of the electric cooking will completely change the way to use the kitchen and cooking practices. The shift in urban areas could be of more rapidly than rural areas. This is attributed to affordability, capacity building and other people still preferred cooking over her open fire rather than on new battery supported electric stove. Energy saving and cost saving will be main drivers for adopting the electric appliances and battery supported electricity. The electric pressure cookers, electric rice cookersand thermal pots have been observed by study to be best options in the market that will be affordable and compatible to the on-grid and battery supported electricity.

TaTEDO has conducted three promotion and capacity trainings for electric cooking by using electric pressure cookers, electric rice cookersand thermal pots. More than 350 people have been trained on how to use efficient electric cooking appliances in urban and rural areas of Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mtwara and Lindi regions

In order to continue with efforts of disseminating the efficient and clean electric cooking services, TaTEDO in collaboration with University of Loughborough, is undertaking a study on Approach to Designing Delivery Models of Modern Energy Cooking Services in Tanzania. The study will assess the entire modern cooking energy market systems in order to propose approach required for designing interventions for effective and sustainable delivery models.