21% of the global population still lives without electricity and the most common way to cook food is over an open fire. This much-needed source of power provides heat, food and light, however it also poses severe health and environmental risks.
Repeated exposure to smoke means the inhalation of carbon monoxide and other pollutants, at levels up to 100 times higher than the recommended limits set by World Health Organsation (WHO). This can result in lung cancer, chronic lung disease and cataracts to name a few.
Burning coal, charcoal and wood causes the emission of black carbon, which is a significant contributor to climate change.
And with children often travelling long distances to get to school in South African villages, dwindling daylight is also an issue. This makes homework an impossible chore and adds to the challenges faced by more deprived communities.
Fortunately, family-run business, African Clean Energy is stepping up to tackle these issues. Introducing a smokeless, sustainable cookstove: a safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly product at an affordable price!
The ACE 1 uses biomass fuel and ensures almost complete combustion, preventing the usual by-product, black carbon. In fact, it uses 70% less fuel to run compared to traditional cooking methods. It even has a USB port and long-reach solar panel to provide a light source away from the stove – which means children can get their homework done after night falls.
The combustion chamber made of refractory ceramic tiles which helps it retain heat for longer and is quick and easy to light, allowing the user to start cooking almost immediately.
African Clean Energy is already steaming ahead with their factory in Lesotho employing 60 people full-time and producing over 25,000 stoves. Further funding will allow them to be much more efficient in production, and bring down the end cost for the user considerably. It will also allow the team to expand their microfinancing buyer credit, which has been very successful to date, in allowing rural women to purchase stoves.
The team are currently fundraising on Kickstarter. If they raise 50,000 euros through generous pledges, they’ll be awarded business funding.