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The call value was £660,000 and was formed of four targeted calls in specific thematic areas:

  • Theme One: Energy storage for modern energy cooking services. Awardees: AMPERES, Calpoly, ServedonSalt, Smart Villages. These four projects were based in four different geographic regions and reviewed a variety of storage options for clean cooking. Whilst considerable insights and learning were made, the identification of a system suitable for the needs (and financial capacity) of the average family is still required.
  • Theme Two: Grid and infrastructure adaptability. Awardees: PEEDA, UIU. Based in Bangladesh and Nepal, these two projects reviewed the accessibility and use of lower voltage appliances in PV and microhydro generated electricity.
  • Theme Three: Alternative fuels. Awardees: Climate and Development, CREATIVEnergie, iDE, M-KOPA, PayGo, Pesitho, SunBuckets. This broad theme looked at the viability of a range of alternative fuels for the average household. The use of LPG, biogas, solar thermal storage and electricity were reviewed as an alternative to biomass.

MECS awarded funding to 22 projects under this call. All bar one project have now completed and the individual reports are found under the publications page. For ease, a review of each theme has been undertaken and the associated papers are here.

MECS Challenge Fund awardees and MECS core team members at the Clean Cooking Forum, Nairobi 2019.

The majority of the partners participated in the Clean Cooking Forum, organised by the Clean Cooking Alliance, which was held in Nairobi, November 2019. This meeting of minds also enabled the MECS team to undertake filmed interviews with a number of the project partners. The recordings can be viewed here.

Project title: E-waste to e-cook: piloting a scalable, modular power-pack using recycled lithium-ion technology for affordable & reliable e-cooking in Myanmar.

Project summary: 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.

Project title: Women-to-women distribution model to increase adoption of clean cooking methods by low-income women in rural Kenya.

Project summary: Developing a women-to-women distribution model to accelerate the adoption of the use of LPG by low-income households in rural Kenya.

Project title: Thermal storage with phase change materials in Ghana.

Project summary: Design, construct, and disseminate phase change thermal storage for cooking, made locally for $20.00.

Project title: Enhancing LPG access for semi-urban populations in Nigeria.

Project summary: Using a fee-for-service model delivered through women cooperative groups to enhance the adoption of LPG in semi-urban populations in Nigeria.

Project title: Portable biogas: assessing the socio-economic viability of packaging and distributing ready to use biogas in Tanzania.

Project summary: Exploring 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.

Project title: Identifying drivers and barriers to sustained adoption of LPG as clean cooking energy: applying lessons from India’s LPG programme to Nepal and Myanmar.

Project summary: Analyse experiences in policies and practices for sustained adoption of LPG in rural India with implications for Nepal and Myanmar.  

Project title: Exploring futures of alternative cooking in Cambodia.

Project summary: Researching knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions around cooking in rural Cambodia to uncover aspirational, clean-energy solutions, pathways, and service models.

Project title: Customizing Malawi-made solar electric cooking technology and business models to provide access to very low-income villagers in Malawi.

Project summary: Create Malawi-made solar home systems and “pay as you grow” business models where the cooker is the electricity controller.

Project title: Smart cooking solutions.

Project summary: The project aims to provide smart cooking solutions that are healthy, environmentally safe, time saving and affordable.  

Project title: The internet of gas in Kenya.

Project summary: Using low-cost technology to unlock efficiencies in rural and urban LPG supply chains in Africa and South Asia.

Project title: Internet of Things (IoT) LPG cylinder tag & trace in Kenya.

Project summary: LPG Cylinder tagging and tracing using IoT and smart scales, to improve LPG cylinder logistics.

Project title: Assessing electric cooking potential in micro hydropower microgrids in Nepal.

Project summary: Integrating electric cooking technology in highly constrained micro hydropower microgrids, developing data gathering methods to demonstrate feasibility and identify challenges.

Project title: Cleaning the air through cooking: providing alternative energy solutions for cooking practices in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in Yumbe district in Uganda.

Project summary: Investigating emissions and respiratory impacts of solar voltaic clean cooking methods in crisis affected, displaced or marginalised areas.

Project title: Modern energy cooking services jobs census and campaign in Kenya.

Project summary: This project will undertake a jobs census and communication of results for the modern energy cooking services sector.

Project title: Accelerating uptake of electric cooking on AC minigrids through business and delivery model innovations in Tanzania.

Project summary: Delivering EPCs to minigrid customers with end-user financing, training, and tariff subsidy to accelerate the adoption of electric cooking.

Project title: ServedOnSalt portable cooker in Kenya.

Project summary: A cooker with a thermochemical heat battery, charged by the sun for clean cooking in refugee camps.

Project title: Low cost solar thermal storage for time-shifted carbon free cooking in Tanzania & Uganda.

Project summary: We will develop and test low-cost technologies for storing heat from the sun for use later in traditional cooking contexts.

Project title: Sun Buckets: Solar Thermal Storage for Cooking in Kenya.

Project summary: Design, build, and test innovations to store thermal energy generated from electricity in (a) portable cook stoves and (b) large-scale reservoirs. 

Project title: Developing and testing innovative user-friendly LPG financing models to accelerate uptake among rural poor through mobile pay.

Project summary: Increase uptake of LPG through an innovative mobile phone app and payment plan(s), with new last-mile retail outlets operated by women.

Project title: Designing and developing eCook technology in Malawi.

Project summary: Making eCook technology available to people who currently cook on 3 stones or similar.

Project title: Approach to designing delivery models of Modern Energy Cooking Services in Tanzania.

Project summary: The project will study barriers, enablers and drivers to recommend measures for designing delivery models to MECS for different social groups.

Project title: A solar PV based low-cost inverterless grid integrated cooking solution in Bangladesh.

Project summary: A solar PV based grid integrated cooking solution is proposed without using inverter or battery for cost minimization.