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New energies 07/11/2019

Clean Cooking in the Developing World, ENGIE’s Recipe for a Sustainable Future

Nothing illustrates the complexity — and high stakes — of reconciling economics and ecology like food. While some areas of the world may spend massive amounts of money to develop products touted as environmentally friendly, others are forced to scramble just to find the ingredients and tools needed to make a decent meal. 

It may seem evident that overconsumption in the developed world is bad for the environment, but poor communities can also rack up harmful emissions due to a lack of clean cooking methods and supplies. On the African continent, for example, household cooking for families living off the electric grid is often done on open fires fueled by charcoal or kerosene, emitting 80% of the continent’s black carbon, the second biggest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, attempts to supply cleaner heating sources can be both a logistical and technological challenge that winds up placing unsustainable economic burdens on the poor. 

ENGIE is taking up the challenge of bringing affordable, clean cooking to these developing areas of the world. We know that there isn’t just one solution to providing this basic human right in an eco-friendly way. That’s why ENGIE Fab, the company’s hub for innovation, is host to a range of initiatives driven by different technologies that offer scalable solutions for clean cooking. The group also recently launched a “Electric Cooking Solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa” call for projects and will launch a pilot with Mobisol and Fenix (ENGIE Africa) in January 2020. Here are some examples of Engie-backed initiatives in the clean cooking space that aim for sustainability in both economics and ecology:   

Smart LPG

Buying entire canisters of gas can be expensive, so ENGIE’s engineers are designing a pay-as-you-go Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) canister that creates less pollution and costs less money. 

3 things to know about Smart LPG:

- While charcoal, which is used by 70% of current customers as their primary fuel source, causes harmful indoor pollution, LPG is smoke-free, limiting both health and environmental damage.

- The customer can easily top up the LPG in their stove using mobile money on their phones. 

- Smart LPG is integral to the new Fenix Fumba cookstove, an ENGIE-backed product, which is delivered straight to the customer’s door along with a gas canister for a small set up fee, saving the customer time and hassle.  


PAYGAS is a startup that allows users to fill a cylinder with as much gas as they can afford— another alternative to avoid paying for entire canisters.  

3 things to know about PAYGAS:

        - This early stage start-up aims to offer a clean cooking solution to low-income people living in the townships in                 South Africa.
        - Each gas station provides employment for 6 people from the local community
        - It recently won the ENGIE Africarena Challenge, that focuses on providing vulnerable areas with sustainable                 cooking tools, and will be awarded 10,000€ from ENGIE Africa.

Small Scale Biogas  

Homebiogas and Sistema.Bio are two companies funded by ENGIE that help customers produce their own energy from green sources. 

3 things to know about small scale biogas:

- Homebiogas’ product uses food scraps to generate biogas, which fuels cooking.

- Sistema.Bio helps small farms use biodigestion to create energy and biofertilizer. 

- Both companies work with Simpa (ENGIE Mescat: Middle-East, South & Central Asia, and Turkey) and Fenix (ENGIE Africa) and are also piloting products in South America and Asia.

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