What is clean cooking?

Last checked on:
4 November 2022
Published on:
2 February 2022

On this page, we look at clean cooking, what it means, which fuels are clean, the impact on people and the climate, what we are doing to help, and much more.

Clean cooking meaning

When we talk about clean cooking, we refer to people using cleaner fuels and energy-efficient modern stoves.

Around 4 billion people do not have access to modern energy cooking services. Instead, they cook on traditional biomass or polluting fuels. Replacing these practices with clean cooking solutions has the potential to reduce smoke emissions in kitchens and the amount of biomass needed. This will lead to a reduction in deaths from smoke-related illnesses. Household air pollution causes more than 4 million deaths every year. This is more than the deaths from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined. Clean cooking also reduces the damage caused to the environment and climate change.

Clean cooking has been on the development agenda for decades. But only recently has the topic become a major priority on the global development agenda as part of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: affordable and clean energy. The Energising Development programme (EnDev) has been a pioneer in the clean cooking sector since 2005. The programme supports market development in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It focuses on local entrepreneurship and capacity building throughout the sector.

In recent years, the global clean cooking sector has changed significantly. It has moved away from an artisanal-focused sector only offering traditional and improved cookstoves. It is now a modern, professional and diverse sector, providing a broad range of solutions to diverse consumer groups. Overall, the sector has developed in business model innovation, finance solutions and product development.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency & clean cooking

We are working to improve access to clean cooking via several subsidies and programmes.

SDG 7 Results

SDG 7 Results aims to provide 2 million low-income households with access to modern, renewable energy services and clean cooking solutions. The programme offers results-based financing incentives to private-sector companies to reduce the short-term risks of developing a market for renewable energy in partner countries and the associated costs of innovation.

Energising Development (EnDev)

Achieving universal access to energy requires profitable business models. EnDev is a multi-donor and multi-implementer programme. It helps national governments create an environment that enables the supply and demand of sustainable energy. EnDev tackles energy poverty with a market-based approach that focuses on consumers' needs, increasing the capacity of local SMEs. EnDev operates in more than 20 partner countries and has a specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

SEE-Clean Cooking

With SEE-Clean Cooking, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency introduces a new private-sector approach to promote clean, affordable cooking solutions. These solutions use sustainable fuels, including biogas, ethanol, pellets and electricity. The programme will carry out activities in partnership with the EnDev programme between 2021-2025. The programme has 2 components: African Biodigester Component (ABC) and the Higher Tier Cooking Component (HTCC).

African Biodigester Component (ABC)

ABC is a 5-year programme (2021-2025). The programme helps develop and strengthen demand, supply and the enabling environment to create sustainable biodigester markets in 5 African countries: Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

ABC aims to facilitate the construction and installation of 50,000 small-scale biodigesters by the end of 2025. This will result in energy access for at least 250,000 people. It will also reduce yearly CO2 equivalent emissions by over 180,000 tonnes.

Higher Tier Cooking Component (HTCC)

HTCC is a 5-year programme (2020-2025) that aims to further strengthen the supply side of the clean cooking sector. It does this by helping small and medium-sized enterprises improve their business operations, get access to finance for scale and innovation and by helping build an enabling environment in support of clean cooking. HTCC aims to reach 600,000 people in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Uganda and Ethiopia.

How can I contribute to access to clean cooking?

You can contribute to access to clean cooking in many different ways. If you have an innovative project idea or would like to get involved in a project, contact our advisors.

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The current clean cooking situation

In developing countries, most of the energy households use is for cooking. This makes cooking the most energy-intensive household activity. Worldwide, 4 billion people still lack access to clean, efficient, convenient, safe, reliable and affordable cooking energy. People use polluting open fires and inefficient stoves. This is either due to habit, lack of alternatives or cost. These inefficient cooking methods are harmful to health and delay economic and social development in developing countries. Examples of polluting and inefficient cooking methods include 3-stone woodfires or simple clay and metal stoves, which use wood or charcoal.

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  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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