Supply-side Financing of Improved Biomass Cookstoves in India
Even as India rapidly emerges as a global centre of technology development, around 780 million of its citizens are estimated to cook food on traditional stoves that burn solid fuels.1 Smoky as these cookstoves are, the household air pollution resulting from them is attributed to cause 1.04 million premature deaths annually, from cancer, respiratory problems, and other ailments.2 Currently, the dominant biomass energy technologies, for cooking in households, are traditional chulhas, i.e., mud stoves along with some cement and pottery or brick stoves, normally with no operating chimneys or hoods. Most of these biomass-fired cookstoves perform at a poor efficiency and emit harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter. Some of these products of incomplete combustion are also being increasingly recognized as serious contributor to climate change.3 Cleaner burning options that have the potential to be affordable and accessible to households burning solid fuels can help attenuate many adverse effects of inefficient burning. ICS are widely recognized as a practical alternative to supplant traditional stoves in rural Indian households.