Our projectsModern Cooking for All

Sustainable Development Goal targets

  • Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7)
Project leads
  • William Coley (Electronic & Electrical Engineering)
  • Aran Eales (Electronic & Electrical Engineering)
  • undergraduate years 1 to 5
  • Electronic & Electrical Engineering
  • Computer & Information Science
  • Strathclyde Business School

Please note: availability can vary between degrees. Please contact your advisor of studies and the project lead for more information.

How to apply

To apply for this project please complete our application form.

Project overview

Cooking with biomass is commonplace in the global south and has severe negative environmental and health impacts. As such, a transition towards cleaner, modern cooking solutions is essential in achieving the SDGs. The relative cost of cooking with modern fuels such as electricity and LPG is seen by many as a major barrier to this transition, but evidence is beginning to show that this may be overcome through considering solutions such as efficient cooking technologies, lifetime costs of components and innovative financing strategies amongst other areas. This project will look to investigate these solutions and the cost competitiveness of modern cooking in Malawi.

As many as 3 billion people currently lack access to clean cooking, with significant health impacts due to indoor air pollution (it is estimated to cause 4 million premature deaths per year globally) and environmental damage (e.g. contributing to climate change and deforestation). Improving access to clean cooking cuts across many of the SDGs, most immediately Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and Goal 13 (Climate Action). The wide-reaching impact of this project also extends to Goal 5 (Gender Equality), as social norms in much of the global south mean women are often responsible for cooking meals and sourcing fuels; and Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities), as many urban and peri-urban areas are hotspots for the use of charcoal as a cooking fuel.

Almost a third of those without access to clean cooking live in sub-Saharan Africa, a proportion which is growing year on year. This is issue is strongly prevalent in Malawi where 98% of the population rely on biomass fuels such as firewood and charcoal for cooking. To effectively and quickly scale-up modern energy cooking services, stakeholders from a number of non-academic sectors need to be aware of the drivers and opportunities and informed by accurate, accessible, context-specific information. These include the private (e.g. manufacturers, distributors, retailers, energy services), public (e.g. policy makers, development partners) and third sectors (e.g. microfinance institutions, international NGOs).

This VIP project will support EEE’s Energy for Development team in their work as a partner of the Modern Energy Cooking Services programme (MECS)and their continuing involvement in energy projects in Malawi. Through ongoing activities with their local NGO partners, the team is developing an understanding of the cooking context in the country and the feasibility of an accelerated transition towards modern cooking fuels such as electricity and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

What will students be doing

This project will seek to contribute to ongoing work on modern cooking in Malawi by furthering understanding around the cost of efficient cooking with electricity and LPG, relative to existing inefficient cooking practises using biomass. Students will be invited to investigate electric cooking system design using components and prices applicable to Malawi, the lifetime costs of cooking on a variety of different cooking fuels and with different techniques and investigate innovative ways in which these costs can be made affordable for businesses and consumers. Students will also carry out Global Market Assessment for clean cooking to guide the strategy of the MECS programme and develop data visualisation tools to disseminate the study’s findings. The objective of this project is therefore to make MECS GMA data accessible to a wider audience by applying it to an easily accessible tool which facilitates analysis and creation of customised visualisations.

Have more questions, or want to get involved?

Contact aran.eales@strath.ac.uk and william.coley@strath.ac.uk.

7: Affordable and Clean Energy.