Almost three billion people worldwide cook their meals on simple stoves that use biomass fuels such as wood, charcoal, dung, and crop residues. This account for approximately half of the totalenergy consumption in developing countries. In industrial countries, the switch to more efficient stoves took place when fuelwood prices increased and stove makers increased efforts to build more efficient models. This was followed by a transition to cleaner fuels for cooking, such as coal and petroleum-based fuels.
In past few decades, urban households in developing countries too have made the switch to cleaner fuels like liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or kerosene for cooking. Most rural households in these countries, on the other hand, are not endowed with the infrastructure that would bring them cleaner fuels, nor do they have the adequate income to pay for the fuels if they were available especially compared to biomass resources, which were more freely available.
Since less than one percent of the rural households have access to electricity,they could greatly benefit from the increased-efficiency improved cookstoves.This can be a step taken toward reducing indoor air pollution, decreasing time and money spent on fuelwood, and preventing the use of animal waste for fuel.
A wide range of fuels and energy sources are used by households in developing countries, including:
- Agricultural residues
- Kerosene (called paraffin in some countries)
- Liquified Petroleum Gas
- Grid electricity
There is growing interest in renewable energy which includes:
- Solar cooking
- Solar hot water
- Solar photovoltaics, or Solar PV
- Wind energy
- Ethanol, including ethanol gel and liquid
- Jatropha, which can be used as oil or converted to biodiesel
- Biochar Briquetting and Burning
- Briquetting from Agriculture and Forestry Waste from "Changing Villages"
- Firewood Consumption by the Tobacco Industry
- Groundnut Shell Briquetting in the Gambia
- Increasing fuel efficiency and reducing harmful emissions in traditional cooking stoves
- Residue Utilization - A recent example from Africa
- Rural Fuel Scarcities - Trends, Causes and Solutions
- Should Charcoal Fuel Stoves be promoted?