Almost half of humanity uses solid biomass fuels on a daily basis for domestic needs.

What are solid biomass fuels?

Fuels sourced from organic content such as animal matter, agricultural residues, green waste, wood and wood derivatives, charcoal, briquettes and pellets. Biofuels such as bioethanol ad biodiesel are not considered solid biomass fuels.

Biomass accounts for more than 90% of the national energy balance sheets of many of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

The 2.5 billion people who rely on solid biomass for cooking mostly use inefficient and polluting devices.

Burning biomass on inefficient cooking appliances leads to a series of negative impacts on natural and human systems.

Health Impacts: Release of hazardous smoke and
pollutants (PM); a leading cause of respiratory diseases.

Environmental Impacts: Depletion of resources and forest degradation

Climate Impacts: Greenhouse Gas(CO2) and black carbon emissions

Livelihood Impacts: Increased drudgery and exacerbation of poverty

Gender Impacts:Women and girls experience high exposure to health and livelihood impacts

Why is biomass used?

Accessible to vulnerable populations
Affordable with minimal
to no cost
Adaptedto local cooking habits
Available product in local markets
A renewableenergy source

By 2030, the total number of people relying on solid biomass for cooking will remain largely unchanged. While reliance on biomass is expected to decrease in some parts of the world, mainly China, the increased use in Sub-Saharan Africa and continued population growth will cause millions more to be dependent on this resource for cooking.

A technological solution to help mitigate the negative impacts associated with biomass cooking has been the use of Improved Cookstoves (ICS); cleaner and more efficient cooking devices.

The technology aims to improve four major components:

  1. Energy efficiency and fuel savings
  2. CO2 emissions reductions
  3. Reductions in hazardous smoke
  4. Physical safety

While there are a variety of improved cookstoves that exist around the world, achieving large scale ICS dissemination and adoption remains challenging from both an institutional and technical standpoint.

The international community is working together to increase access to clean cooking energy solutions and aims to provide 100 million households with cleaner cookstoves and fuels by 2020.