Clean African plates of food using LPG?

Researchers believe use of the fuel in sub-Saharan cooking could dramatically reduce individual emissions

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Could cooking in Sub-Saharan Africa be cleaned up with the help of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)? – researchers seem to think so.

A new study by the University of Liverpool claims that LPG is a key, modern energy solution that can be easily scaled-up to help achieve one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – to provide clean energy for all by 2030 – without a negative affect on the climate.

It intimates that by reducing the distance for Africans to places you can buy LPG and by improving accessibility to LPG cooking stoves, the adoption of the cleaner cooking fuel would increase – benefitting not only public health but the environment they live in.

The study looked through the cooking behaviours and needs of more than 5,500 households in Kenya, Cameroon and Ghana – finding that it was supply factors, for example lack of accessibility in shops, rather than socioeconomic status that was stopping many families from using the fuel.

The report revealed that households in areas that had a more ready supply of LPG were 25% more likely to use it, irrespective of their socioeconomic background.

It is estimated that around 900 million Sub-Saharan Africans cook using polluting fuels such as kerosene and charcoal – and countries including the three involved in the study are looking to increase the use of LPG for cooking by up to 58% by 2030 to lower emissions.

Lead author, Dr Matthew Shupler, said: “This study is one of the first to quantitatively demonstrate the importance of supply-side determinants in increasing clean cooking, relative to demand-related factors.

“This is important policy information for governments that have set ambitious targets for national scale of clean cooking with LPG.

“Factors such as shortening the distance to LPG access points, which underpins a greater investment in LPG cylinders and distribution over national territories, represent short-term, palpable interventions that may be crucial for accelerating growth of the clean cooking market in Sub-Saharan Africa.”