Nairobi, Kenya (February 6, 2014) – The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves announced that 18 of its partners will receive a total of nearly $3 million from three separate Alliance funds to spur the creation of a global market for clean, safe, efficient, and affordable cooking solutions. The Spark Fund, Pilot Innovation Fund and the Women’s Empowerment Fund are key elements of the Alliance’s strategy to strengthen supply and enhance demand in the clean cooking sector through innovation and entrepreneurial capacity development, including helping businesses become more investment-ready and financing gender and empowerment interventions.

A global market for clean cooking solutions is necessary because 3 billion people still cook with solid fuels each day. When burned in open fires and basic cookstoves, wood, coal, charcoal, and other solid fuels emit a harmful smoke that claims 4 million lives annually through a range of diseases and injuries – making household air pollution from cookstove smoke the fourth greatest health risk in the world.

“From the outset, the Alliance realized that a market for clean cookstoves and fuels was the only way to effectively respond to the entrenched, global problem of inefficient and dangerous cooking practices,” said Radha Muthiah, executive director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. “The winners have a strong track record of results in their respective countries and markets, and have demonstrated that they can leverage the funds to attract new partners and investors to advance their ongoing efforts to save and improve lives, enhance livelihoods, and protect the environment through clean cooking solutions.”

The winners are as follows:

Spark Fund ($2 million total grant)

• SimGas is a biodigester design and manufacturing company focused on distribution in the East African market. The company is strtuctured as a joint venture between the parent design company based in the Netherlands (SimGas BV), and in-country manufacturing company (Sumaria Group Ltd).

• Eco-Fuel Africa (EFA) produces green charcoal from locally sourced biomass as an alternative to traditional wood fuel. Based in Uganda, EFA employs local farmers, leverages local technology and involves 260 women retailers in its value chain to create a sustainable impact.

• Greenway Grameen Infra designs and distributes efficient biomass cookstoves for rural farmers. The company’s flagship product – Greenway Smart Stove – is an improved biomass cookstove sold in 24 districts (five states) in India and one district in Bangladesh.

• EcoZoom has sold 83,000 improved cookstoves in 18 countries through distributors and 5,000 stores in the U.S., targeting the camping industry. With its launch in Kenya, EcoZoom plans to expand its operations to include design, manufacturing and direct distribution of wood and charcoal clean cookstoves.

• Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprises produces and sells clean burning, sustainable charcoal briquettes to lower income households in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The company’s briquettes are made from compressed, recycled char-ash and charred coconut husks.

• SMEFunds manufacturing is an ethanol gel manufacturing and distribution company focused on distribution in Nigeria. The business has developed a ground-breaking method of producing cellulosic ethanol-converting liquid into gel that can then be used in its cookstove, which is manufactured in China. SMEFunds has distribution structure similar to that used by Avon products by empowering individuals to sell the products at a margin throughout Nigeria.

Pilot Innovation Fund ($400,000 total grant)

• Applied Sunshine LLC is a start-up company that has developed an innovative vacuum tube solar cooker to be marketed in Guatemala. This tube structure has the capability of cooking various types of foods that other solar cooking models cannot, including local foods such as tortillas.

• Prakti Design will complete a two-burner, multi-fuel stove designed for Bangladesh, India and Nepal. This stove is being developed in response to the increasing demand for consumers for multiple burner stoves and hopes to quickly achieve economies of scale through sales to more markets due to the stove’s fuel versatility.

• Emerging Cooking Solutions (ECS) manufactures and distributes pellets in Zambia. ECS currently sells the Phillips stove at USD$100 as the preferred option to burn its fuel. ECS will test the Prime stove (USD$35) with its pellets and work with employers to provide financing.

• Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd is a solar home product distributor in Bangladesh.
Rahimafrooz will expand into the clean cooking market by building on the WASHplus study recently conducted in Bangladesh and begin marketing and distributing the stove most likely to be accepted in the market.

• CleanStar Ventures will use Pilot funds and lessons learned from its work in Mozambique to develop and ethanol stove with a refillable foil cartridge, complementary household appliances that can use ethanol, and a fuel distribution process that leverages partnerships with multinational corporations. The goal of the overall project is to create a global distribution network for ethanol that layers on the oil and gas distribution network.

• C-Quest Capital (CQC) is a private equity and carbon finance firm providing clean and efficient household energy technologies and sustainable sources of household fuels. Through TLC Green (TLCG), a Joint Venture between CQC and the Malawian NGO Total Land Care (TLC), CQC proposes to test a new business model to couple the marketing and sale of sustainable firewood with improved cookstoves.

Women’s Empowerment Fund ($375,000 total grant)

• Fuego del Sol will provide female school cooks with improved institutional stoves and train them in clean cooking techniques and maintenance, as well as support them in becoming clean cooking entrepreneurs. Fuego del Sol will also work with the cooks to create central distribution hubs for household cookstoves and briquettes.

• Mercy Corps will analyze affordability and financing barriers for women cookstove consumers in purchasing improved cookstoves in Uganda. Mercy Corps will design and test a portfolio of consumer financing mechanisms to help women consumers afford the products and determine which combinations have the greatest potential to scale cookstove adoption.

• The Paradigm Project will enhance its gender-sensitive approach to the innovative EzyAgent program in Kenya, with a focus on creating refinements that will facilitate the recruitment and success of women and cookstove entrepreneurs. Within this, Paradigm will seek to identify the primary characteristics, traits and skills that successful female EzyAgents share, as well as understanding the conditions of success for female entrepreneurs in the cookstove value chain.

• Grassroots Trading Network for Women will develop a toolkit for a handheld electronic device that can be used to collect data to better understand consumer willingness to pay. The toolkit will measure the amount of money saved through use of an improved cookstove and compare it with monthly installments that consumers will pay for the purchase of improved cookstoves.

• Soluciones Apropriadas has designed an improved cookstove used for tortilla-making by small-scale commercial ventures in Guatemala. The group will engage women end-users in the research and development process in order to create a product for women entrepreneurs involved in the production and sale of tortillas.