Sparking a clean cooking revolution: interviews with MECS Challenge Fund grant awardees.

The sound bite interviews showcased below provide insight into a selection of the MECS Challenge Fund supported projects that are currently underway across the globe. These include projects funded under the Technology Research Innovation for International Development (MECS-TRIID) call, and round 1 of the Low Energy Inclusive Appliance (LEIA) call which focuses on off-grid appliances business models.

Projects are diverse in topic, reach and country context – ranging from providing alternative energy solutions for cooking practices in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda (Pesitho), exploring futures of alternative cooking in Cambodia (International Development Enterprises) and piloting a scalable, modular power-pack using recycled lithium-ion technology for affordable & reliable e-cooking in Myanmar (AMPERES / Switch Batteries) funded under MECS-TRIID, to undertaking early stage development of affordable electric cooking solutions in Kenya and Uganda (M-KOPA UK Limited) and exploring microgrid connected electric cooking technology in rural Haiti (EarthSpark International) under LEIA round 1.

Representatives from 16 Challenge Fund projects were interviewed during the Clean Cooking Forum 2019, held in Nairobi from 6-8 November 2019.

The MECS Family – core UK team and Challenge Fund awardees at the Clean Cooking Forum 2019, Nairobi, Kenya.

Bernhard Adelmann, Fosera SolarSystems.

Bernhard Adelmann, an electrical engineer at Fosera SolarSystems, discusses the MECS-LEIA Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Electric solar cooking’. This project undertakes research and development work relating to off-grid DC powered efficient cooking appliances (electric pressure cooker and rice cooker).

Amey Bansod, International Development Enterprises.

Amey Bansod, Design Strategist at International Development Enterprises (iDE), discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Exploring futures of alternative cooking in Cambodia’. This project investigates knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions around cooking in rural Cambodia to uncover aspirational, clean-energy solutions, pathways, and service models.

Joel Chaney, CREATIVenergie.

Joel Chaney, Technical Director at CREATIVenergie, discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘‘Portable biogas: assessing the socio-economic viability of packaging and distributing ready to use biogas’. This project explores the feasibility of pay-as-you-go and peer-to-peer distributed biogas supply, facilitated through gas storage bags, low-pressure compression technology and enabling ICT.

Biraj Gautam, People, Energy & Environment Development Association.

Biraj Gautam, CEO of the People, Energy & Environment Development Association (PEEDA), discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Assessing electric cooking potential in micro hydropower microgrids in Nepal’. This project integrates electric cooking technology in highly constrained micro hydropower microgrids, developing data gathering methods to demonstrate feasibility and identify challenges.

Stanley Ijeoma, Schrodinger Greentech.

Stanley Ijeoma, CEO of Schrodinger Greentech, discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project undertaken in collaboration with the Climate and Development Centre (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Nigeria), entitled ‘‘Enhancing LPG access for semi-urban populations in Nigeria’. This project explores using a fee-for-service model delivered through women cooperative groups to enhance the adoption of LPG in semi-urban populations in Nigeria.

Agnes Kalyonge, Kisambara Ventures Ltd.

Agnes Kalyonge of Kisambara Ventures Limited, discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Smart cooking solutions’. This project aims to provide smart cooking solutions that are healthy, environmentally safe, time saving and affordable.

Mohammad Rezwan Khan, United International University.

Mohammed Rezwan Khan of the United International University (Bangladesh) discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘A solar PV based low-cost inverterless grid integrated cooking solution’. In this project, a solar PV based grid integrated cooking solution is proposed without using inverter or battery for cost minimisation.

Eva Lee, Power For All.

Eva Lee, Research Manager at Power For All, discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Modern Energy Cooking Services jobs census and campaign’. This project undertakes a jobs census and communication of results for the Modern Energy Cooking Services sector in Kenya.

Fausto Marcigot, PayGo Energy.

Fausto Marcigot of PayGo Energy discusses the MECS TRIID project entitled ‘Internet of Things (IoT) LPG cylinder tag & trace’ which explores LPG cylinder tagging and tracing using IoT and smart scales, to improve LPG cylinder logistics.

Eluid Mjuni, PowerGen Renewable Energy.

Eluid Mjuni, Customer and Site Manager for PowerGen Renewable Energy, discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Accelerating uptake of electric cooking on AC minigrids through business and delivery model innovations’. This project delivers EPCs to minigrid customers with end-user financing, training, and tariff subsidy to accelerate the adoption of electric cooking.

Michael O’Hanlon, Switch Batteries.

Michael O’Hanlon of Switch Batteries discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project in partnership with the Australia Mekong Partnership on Environmental Resources and Energy Systems (AMPERES). This project explores a modular solution for e-cooking that works across the value chain of the renewables sector to convert e-waste into a reliable e-cook power source.

Adeyemi Olatunde, M-KOPA UK Limited.

Adeyemi Olatunde, Deputy Project Manager at M-KOPA UK Limited, discusses the MECS-TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘The internet of gas’. This project explores using low-cost technology to unlock efficiencies in rural and urban LPG supply chains in Africa and South Asia.

Martin Osei, SolCook Ghana Limited.

Martin Osei, manager for SolCook Ghana Limited, discusses the MECS TRIID Challenge Fund project entitled ‘Thermal storage with phase change materials’. This project aims to design, construct, and disseminate phase change thermal storage for cooking, made locally for $20.00.

Kerryn Probert, Pesitho.

Kerryn Probert, Research and Communications Officer for Pesitho, discusses the MECS-TRIID Challenge Fund project entited ‘Cleaning the air through cooking: providing alternative energy solutions for cooking practices in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Yumbe district in Uganda’. This project investigates emissions and respiratory impacts of solar voltaic clean cooking methods in crisis affected, displaced or marginalised areas.

Gilbert Robert, Kachione LLC.

Gilbert Robert, Chief Technician at Kachione LLC, discusses the MECS TRIID project entitled ‘Customizing Malawi-made solar electric cooking technology and business models to provide access to very low income villagers’. This project creates Malawi-made solar home systems and “pay as you grow” business models where the cooker is the electricity controller.

Madie Sturgess, EarthSpark International.

Madie Sturgess, Project Manager at EarthSpark International, discusses the MECS LEIA project entitled ‘On- and Off- (micro) grid electric cooking: field data for integrated energy access in Haiti’. This project undertakes an early stage feasibility study of microgrid connected electric cooking technology in rural Haiti.