Publication - What Is Impeding the Growth of Improved Cookstove Companies?

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What Is Impeding the Growth of Improved Cookstove Companies?
Engineering for Change
Macauley Kenney, Eric Verploegen
Published in
December 2017
Billions of people around the globe use solid biomass to fuel their daily cooking needs. Most traditional cooking practices, such as three stone fires, produce hazardous emissions that damage the health of the users and contribute to global air pollution. Improved cookstoves (ICSs) have great potential to reduce the negative effects of cooking emissions through efficient stove designs and alternative fuels. However, despite the high potential for social impact, ICS manufacturers and distributors struggle with low margins, poor customer adoption, and lagging business growth. This is particularly true in Uganda, where the estimated market for clean cookstoves is 6 million but the sector has few large-scale companies. Why is that the case? To answer that question, my colleagues at MIT D-Lab’s Off-Grid Energy group and I conducted a research study of Ugandan ICS businesses. The answers, we believe, might facilitate the growth of the ICS market, and ultimately user adoption...