Partners

In addition to the core project management team at Loughborough University, the MECS partnership draws on the knowledge and experience of partners from around the world, key partners are:

ESMAP (project lead: Yabei Zhang)

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), is a multi-donor global trust fund programme managed by the World Bank Group. Their mandate is to help low and middle-income countries reduce poverty and boost growth, through environmentally sustainable energy solutions. Under the MECS programme, ESMAP will provide the evidence for understanding how and when modern energy cooking transitions can happen. They will develop indicators and measurement capacity for the international measurement of modern energy cooking services and will look for opportunities to scale up new approaches, business models and technologies developed through the MECS programme.  

Gamos (project lead: Dr Simon Batchelor)

Gamos is a small but influential company working with the social factors surrounding technology use and transfer. A group of professionals who seek to select their clients (Governments and Non Government Agencies) to make the optimum impact. Founded in 1989, Gamos is concerned to use its professional skills for the empowerment of individuals and communities in the poorer sections of society in developing countries. This mainly involves training and research, actively seeking to build capacity in the South.

UK Universities

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), Loughborough University (project lead: Dr Richard Blanchard)

This project led by CREST explores the technological aspects of cooking system design and associated system modelling. Current activities centre on:

  • Staffing and lab build;
  • Cooking System Design Analysis: this was one of the first activities to map out the system boundaries of innovations so that requirements could be captured;
  • Investigations and trials for innovations: EPCs, thermo pots, DC rice cookers – safety features, energy consumption, insulation;
  • System modelling;
  • User experience design workshop.

DeMontfort University (DMU) (project lead: Dr Rupert Gammon)

This project aims to develop and implement a data acquisition (DAQ), communications and control system for the e-cooking system. The team based at the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at DMU will develop the DAQ system in time for the deployment of 100 e-cooker prototypes in field trials scheduled and will be responsible for ensuring the DAQ systems continue to function reliably and collect data throughout. 

Activities focus on the following key areas:

  • Monitoring and control (using the ESCOBox system);
  • System design (system integration and high-level product design);
  • Co-creation activities and field trials (in MECS priority countries).

Durham University (project lead: Dr Ben Campbell)

The team based across the Durham Energy Institute and the Department of Anthropology at Durham University is exploring the positioning of biogas for the MECS programme. A comparative review and assessment of pathways for development in the role of biogas systems in expanding the scope of MECS is being undertaken. This project incorporates collating and reviewing evidence of biogas innovation trajectories from four countries – Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Bolivia; integrated waste and productive uses functionality for cooking-in-context; community and entrepreneurial hubs; distributional innovation networks and technologies.

The project also applies research settings for implementing MECS trials, where initial working relations via Energy on the Move (ESRC/DFID funded) have been established in informal settlements in peri-urban contexts in Nepal, Bangladesh, Nigeria and South Sudan. 

Newcastle University (project lead: Dr Neal Wade)

This project investigates the potential for multi-vector cooking appliances through the use of systems modelling to assess system lifetime (battery life), size, reliability, availability and energy use using different battery technologies. It focuses on the following activities:

  • Review of proposes MECS technology solution in the context of surrounding energy system;
  • Development of modelling and simulation environment to support decision making in the design of MECS instances. Covers system sizing and technology selection;
  • Development of operation and control methods to enable optimal behaviour of system components and overall system;
  • Provision and operation of laboratory testing facilities to verify operation of system components and subsystem integration;
  • Support in design and evaluation of field trials.

University College London (project lead: Prof Yacob Mulugetta)

The project being led by UCL undertakes technical, economic and social analyses for the adoption of high efficiency electric cooking appliances in the country context of Ethiopia. The project includes the following activities as part of the comprehensive work on cooking in Ethiopia:

  • Literature review around cooking technologies, behaviours, preferences, institutions, regional differences, trends, etc. with a focus on Ethiopia; 
  • Regional surveys of household cooking, by region and social group; develop an energy balance for cooking; 
  • Focus group discussion in different parts of the country to obtain a better and realistic sense of cooking as a daily activity and why people cook in the way they do; 
  • Work with the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) to test adoption rates of different appliances and establishing standards; 
  • Work with ERG and regional Universities to test and compare electrical cooking appliance technologies, and to explore the potential for electric cooking as a rationale to adopt larger solar PV system for wider access for off-grid consumers;
  • Map out financing schemes and models, with a goal of commercialization of certain appliances.  

University of Strathclyde (project lead: Prof Stuart Galloway)

The project led by the University of Strathclyde focuses on market assessment and sustainable business models for electric cooking devices in Malawi. The project will result in a roadmap for eCook implementation in Malawi – Malawi has a significant humanitarian and environmental need for cleaner cooking services, a need that the MECS programme can contribute to addressing through UoS’s experience and strong in-country partnerships.

The foundations for this will be built upon the development of a detailed understanding of: local cooking practices and relationships with cooking; the current eCook market in Malawi, the barriers/potential for expansion and business models to achieve this; and engagement with regulators and advocacy for eCook at a local and national level. Concurrently, a strategy for piloting eCook interventions in Malawi will be formulated, with key locations and target groups identified for participation.

University of Surrey (project leads: Prof Matthew Leach, Dr Jacquetta Lee)

The project led by the University of Surrey focuses on two major areas, each of which has a set of a sub-components:

Techno-economic modelling of cooking

  • Modelling the cooking energy for households and communities;
  • Modelling eCook systems, and how they link to microgrids and local networks.

Environmental evaluation of the proposed systems

  • Environmental assessment of available technologies;
  • Building representative use and EoL models;
  • Incorporating risk into technology decisions.

These activities are intended both to provide simulation/evaluation of possible clean cooking approaches (with associated technology choices), and to provide guidance to technology and system designers on the implications of alternative choices.

University of Sussex (project lead: Dr Robert Byrne)

This Sussex-led project centres on building innovation systems to facilitate transformations in e-cooking. Activities focus on delivering two key things:

  • An empirically-grounded map of existing innovation systems of relevance to MECS in three countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda), their constituent strengths and weaknesses, and the potential pathways to transforming them;
  • An empirically-grounded practical framework through which such impact can be achieved. These deliverables will be developed through co-constructed knowledge, based on interactive stakeholder workshops, subsequent interviews, and policy and advocacy work.