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eCook Zambia Design Challenge Workshop Report

Authors:
eCook Zambia Design Challenge
Workshop Report
17th October 2017 - CEEEZ office, Lusaka, Zambia
March 2019 Final Report
Main authors: J. Leary, F. Mwila, N. Serenje, F. Yamba, S. Batchelor
Associate authors: E. Brown, M. Leach, N. Scott,
Innovate Project 132724
Implemented by:
Funded by:
Research@gamos.org | PV-ecook.org
This research is funded by DfID/UK Aid and Gamos through the Innovate UK Energy Catalyst.
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Acknowledgement
The success of this activity was is due to the enthusiasm and skill of the attendees of the Design
Challenge Workshop, who willing shared their skills and experience and collaboratively took the idea
embodied in the eCook prototype and applied their expert knowledge to facilitate its evolution. The
event itself made for an extremely enjoyable day, with each participant bringing their unique
perspective to the table. We are also grateful to the staff of CEEEZ, both those named as authors and
the supporting staff, who helped design, prepare for and run the event at the CEEEZ offices. Finally, we
thank the donors, UK AID via Innovate UK for partial funding and the directors and shareholders of
Gamos who matched the funding for the benefit and public good of Zambia.
Rights, permissions & disclaimer
This work is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Under the Creative Commons Attribution license, you
are free to: Share copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format; Adapt remix,
transform, and build upon the material; for any purpose, even commercially.
Attribution: please cite this work as “Leary, J., Mwila F., Serenje, N., Yamba, F., Batchelor S., Brown, E.,
Leach M., Scott, N. 2019. “eCook Zambia Design Challenge Workshop Report March 2019 Final
Report.” CEEEZ, Loughborough University, University of Surrey & Gamos Ltd. supported by Innovate UK,
UK Aid & Gamos Ltd. Available from: https://elstove.com/innovate-reports/
This data and material have been funded by UK AID from the UK government; however, the views
expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.
Research@gamos.org | PV-ecook.org
This research is funded by DfID/UK Aid and Gamos through the Innovate UK Energy Catalyst.
3
Executive Summary
The eCook Zambia Design Challenge aimed to facilitate the participatory design of eCook (a battery-
supported electric cooking concept), allowing the generic concept to evolve around Zambian cooking
practices. Entrepreneurs from the Zambian cookstove, solar lighting and utility sectors worked with
everyday cooks to guide the evolution of eCook around their needs and aspirations. In the morning, the
cooks used a variety of stoves to prepare typical Zambian dishes, offering feedback to the entrepreneurs
on what design features they would like to see on a future eCook product. In the afternoon, groups of
entrepreneurs presented their visions for eCook in Zambia. They presented the market segments they
planned to target and the marketing strategies they would use to reach them; the business models they
would use to make it affordable to poorer households; and the innovation needed to make it all work.
To summarise, this event has shown that efficient electric cooking appliances, such as electric pressure
cookers, have significant potential for reducing the size of the battery and therefore the overall cost of
an eCook system. They are particularly well suited to the foods that Zambians who fuel stack between
charcoal and electricity use, i.e. charcoal for long boiling dishes such as beans and offals. However, there
are significant challenges to be overcome in relation to behavioural change. Understanding how people
cook, how they aspire to cook and what can motivate them to change their practices will be as
important as further technical research to develop DC appliances that are more intuitive and can cook a
wider range of foods.
The eCook Zambia Design Challenge was an important step forward in the evolution of the generic
eCook concept (cooking on battery-supported electricity) to the needs and aspirations of Zambian
cooks. To continue this evolution, further work should focus on the key learning points identified here:
Appliances are cheaper than batteries. Carefully selecting the most efficient electric cooking appliances
will reduce the size and therefore cost of the battery bank by significantly more than the cost of the
appliance itself. The result is a cheaper overall solution that will be affordable to even poorer
consumers.
Research@gamos.org | PV-ecook.org
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Empowering women to lead this transition will be key. New livelihood opportunities will emerge at all
stages of the value chain and women are best placed to take these on. This is both from the perspective
of accelerating uptake (for example, women are much more likely to buy a product marketed to them by
other women) and ensuring the broadest developmental impact by contributing to gender equity.
Building upon successful financing models will be key to unlocking the poorer and harder to reach
rural markets. For example, pay-as-you-go solar lighting and Village Banking.
The development of DC cooking appliances will be a key enabler for eCook. AC appliances require an
inverter, which adds cost, bulk, unreliability and inefficiency to the system.
Demand side management. eCook can make a valuable contribution to demand side management of
ZESCO’s grid, reducing the likelihood that load shedding will return. Especially if the devices can be
controlled remotely with a SIM card so that the battery can be charged when surplus power is available
instead of at meal times when demand is already peaking.
Electric pressure cookers are already cost competitive with charcoal; however, they require the cook
to change their behaviour. Further research is required on how the design could be made more
intuitive. Initially, they would need to be packaged with an instruction manual, dedicated cookbook for
Zambian foods, and/or training for first time users. An electric pressure cooker alone may not be enough
for a household to do all their cooking, as some foods require special pots and constant monitoring.
Manually adjusting the heat in the pot is also an important feature that is not available on most models
available on the market today.
Insulating cooking devices not only makes them more efficient, but also improves the experience for
the cook on hot days who does not want to be heated any further!
Recharging an eCook device should be as simple as possible, or cooks may get to mealtime and be
disappointed to find their battery is flat.
LPG-eCook hybrids. The perception of LPG as dangerous by many Zambian households may well change
in the future. Investigating the strengths and weaknesses of electric cooking appliances and LPG and
considering the value offered by hybrid systems would be wise.
Safety of pressure cookers. Pressure cookers also considered by many to be unsafe, so awareness
raising about their safety features may well be necessary.
Cleanliness and speed of cooking are likely to be important selling points for electric pressure cookers.
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This research is funded by DfID/UK Aid and Gamos through the Innovate UK Energy Catalyst.
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Table of Contents
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ...................................................................................................................................... 2
RIGHTS, PERMISSIONS & DISCLAIMER ............................................................................................................... 2
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ..................................................................................................................................... 3
1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 6
1.1 BACKGROUND ................................................................................................................................................... 6
1.1.1 Context of the potential landscape change by eCook .............................................................................. 6
1.1.2 Introducing ‘eCook’ .................................................................................................................................. 7
1.1.3 eCook in Zambia ....................................................................................................................................... 8
1.2 AIM & OBJECTIVES ............................................................................................................................................. 8
2 OUTLINE FOR THE DAY ............................................................................................................................. 9
3 MORNING SESSION INTRODUCTIONS & COOKING ................................................................................ 10
4 AFTERNOON SESSION COOKS’ FEEDBACK & TEAM PRESENTATIONS ...................................................... 17
4.1 FEEDBACK FROM THE COOKS .............................................................................................................................. 17
4.2 TEAM PRESENTATIONS ...................................................................................................................................... 20
4.2.1 Team 1. Mpamvu power team ............................................................................................................... 20
4.2.2 Team 2. Efficient home solar system ..................................................................................................... 22
4.2.3 Team 3. Speaking for the voiceless ........................................................................................................ 24
4.3 COMMENTS FROM JUDGES ........................................................................................................................ 25
5 EVALUATION ......................................................................................................................................... 27
6 CONCLUSION ......................................................................................................................................... 29
7 APPENDIX .............................................................................................................................................. 31
7.1 APPENDIX A: PROBLEM STATEMENT AND BACKGROUND TO INNOVATE ECOOK PROJECT ................................................ 31
7.1.1 Beyond business as usual ....................................................................................................................... 31
7.1.2 Building on previous research ................................................................................................................ 33
7.1.3 Summary of related projects .................................................................................................................. 36
7.2 APPENDIX B: LIST OF PARTICIPANTS .................................................................................................................... 37
7.3 APPENDIX C: JUDGING CRITERIA ......................................................................................................................... 38
1.1 APPENDIX D: AGENDA ...................................................................................................................................... 40
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This research is funded by DfID/UK Aid and Gamos through the Innovate UK Energy Catalyst.
6
1 Introduction
This report presents one part of the detailed in country research carried out to explore the market for
eCook in Zambia. In particular, this in country work aims to gain much greater insight into culturally
distinct cooking practices and explore how compatible they are with battery-supported electric cooking.
The report is rich with detail and is intended to provide decision makers, practitioners and researchers
with new knowledge and evidence.
This report presents the key learning points from the Design Challenge Workshop to inform the future
development of eCook within Zambia. This workshop was convened by the Centre for Energy,
Environment and Engineering Zambia (CEEEZ) in partnership with a UK research consortium (Gamos
Ltd., University of Surrey and Loughborough University). It is one component of a broader study
designed to assess the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead for eCook in high impact potential
markets, such as Zambia, funded through Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Round 4 by DfID UK Aid and
Gamos Ltd. (https://elstove.com/innovate-reports/).
The overall aims of the Innovate project, plus the series of interrelated projects that precede and follow
on from it are summarised in in Appendix A: Problem statement and background to Innovate eCook
project.
1.1 Background
1.1.1 Context of the potential landscape change by eCook
The use of biomass and solid fuels for cooking is the everyday experience of nearly 3 billion people. This
pervasive use of solid fuels and traditional cookstoves results in high levels of household air pollution
with serious health impacts; extensive daily drudgery required to collect fuels, light and tend fires; and
environmental degradation. Where households seek to use ‘clean’ fuels, they are often hindered by lack
of access to affordable and reliable electricity and/or LPG. The enduring problem of biomass cooking is
discussed further in Appendix A: Problem statement and background to Innovate eCook project, which
not only describes the scale of the problem, but also how changes in renewable energy technology and
energy storage open up new possibilities for addressing it.
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1.1.2 Introducing ‘eCook’
eCook is a potentially transformative battery-supported electric cooking concept designed to offer
access to clean cooking and electricity to poorer households (HHs) currently cooking on charcoal or
other polluting fuels (Batchelor 2013; Batchelor 2015a; Batchelor 2015b). Enabling affordable electric
cooking sourced from renewable energy technologies, could also provide households with sustainable,
reliable, modern energy for a variety of other purposes.
A series of initial feasibility studies were funded by DfID UK AID under the PEAKS mechanism (available
from https://elstove.com/dfid-uk-aid-reports/). Slade (2015) investigated the technical viability of the
proposition, highlighting the need for further work defining the performance of various battery
chemistries under high discharge and elevated temperature. Leach & Oduro (2015) constructed an
economic model, breaking down PV-eCook into its component parts and tracking key price trends,
concluding that by 2020, monthly repayments on PV-eCook were likely to be comparable with the cost
of cooking on charcoal. Brown & Sumanik-Leary's (2015), review of behavioural change challenges
highlighted two distinct opportunities, which open up very different markets for eCook:
PV-eCook uses a PV array, charge controller and battery in a comparable configuration to the
popular Solar Home System (SHS) and is best matched with rural, off-grid contexts.
Grid-eCook uses a mains-fed AC charger and battery to create distributed HH storage for
unreliable or unbalanced grids and is expected to best meet the needs of people living in urban
slums or peri-urban areas at the fringes of the grid (or on a mini-grid) where blackouts are
common.
Figure 1: Pictorial definitions of ‘eCook’ terminology used in this report.
= PV-eCook
+
+
+
+
+
+
= Grid-eCook
= eCook
+
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1.1.3 eCook in Zambia
Given the technical and socio-economic feasibility of the systems in the near future, Gamos,
Loughborough University and the University of Surrey have sought to identify where to focus initial
marketing for eCook. Each country has unique market dynamics that must be understood in order to
determine which market segments to target are and how best to reach them. Leary et al. (2018) carried
out a global market assessment, which revealed Zambia as the third most viable context for PV-eCook,
as 10% of the population already cook on electricity and recent load shedding caused a significant
number of these users to revert back to charcoal, rapidly accelerating deforestation. However, to be
successful, eCook must be tailored to the unique needs and aspirations of Zambian cooks.
The accompanying reports from the other activities carried out in Zambia can be found at:
https://elstove.com/innovate-reports/.
1.2 Aim & objectives
The aim of the eCook Zambia Design Challenge was to facilitate the participatory design of eCook,
allowing the generic concept to evolve around Zambian cooking practices. This was to be achieved by:
Convening representatives from local cookstove/solar lighting organisations and electrical
utilities interested in adding eCook to their product lines.
Enabling Zambian cooks to guide the evolution of eCook so that it best matches their needs.
Facilitating experimentation with potential eCook components and configurations.
Creating lasting partnerships between entrepreneurs, users and researchers that can guide the
evolution of eCook in Zambia over the next 5-10 years.
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9
2 Outline for the day
Participants were asked to divide into three teams, each of whom would independently develop their
vision for an eCook product/service in Zambia. Each team was to comprise of entrepreneurs with equal
balances of social, technical and business specialists. All teams also included a cook, who’s role was to
guide their team to create a product/service tailored to their needs and aspirations. Judges from the
Rural Electrification Authority and the Ministry of Energy were appointed to evaluate the solutions
presented at the end of the day according to the criteria in Appendix C: Judging Criteria. The format for
this event was inspired by the Great African Bake-off/Cook-off
1
events hosted by Nottingham University
in the UK and in partnership with CEEEZ in Livingstone, Zambia under the Barriers project
2
.
In the morning session, the cooks were asked to prepare their favourite everyday meal on their own
stove and then try cooking it on the eCook prototype. Whilst observing and assisting their cook, teams
of entrepreneurs were asked to discuss how they could design a Zambian eCook product around their
cooks needs. The output of this session was feedback from cooks on the generic eCook prototype which
was intended to create a design specification for Zambian eCook prototypes.
In the afternoon session, the entrepreneurs were asked to develop conceptual designs in response to
cooks’ feedback, focussing on business models, social impact and technical viability. Flip charts were
available to sketch out ideas and tools/components/appliances to build prototypes if time permitted.
The intended output of this session was a series of conceptual designs for Zambian eCook
products/services that could then be pitched to the audience and a panel of judges.
1
More information available here:
https://mediaspace.nottingham.ac.uk/media/The+Great+African+Bake+Off/1_5zpakkfg
Ray, C., Clifford, M. & Jewitt, S., 2014. The introduction and uptake of improved cookstoves: Making
sense of engineers, social scientists, barriers, markets and participation. HEDON, (64: Barriers to
Cookstoves).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5S2ujl-57U
https://climatefocus.com/sites/default/files/Boiling Point 69 Galt %26 Mikolajczyk.pdf
2
https://www.lcedn.com/barriers
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3 Morning session introductions & cooking
The morning session began with a welcome from Prof. Francis Yamba, an introduction to the
opportunity for eCook in Zambia (as above), and a demonstration of how the eCook prototype works.
Dr. Jon Leary demonstrated a prototype eCook device capable of charging from both solar PV and
ZESCO’s grid. The prototype consisted a 600W PV, 5.5kWh battery storage (2*230Ah 12V batteries), a
24V 1.5kW inverter/charger and a 30A 24V solar charge controller. All components had been sourced
within Lusaka. Four electrical cooking appliances were demonstrated a 1,500W kettle, a 250W slow
cooker, a 1,000W electric pressure cooker and a double 1kW hotplate. The system is sized for a small
family doing most of their cooking on a mixture of efficient appliances and the electric hotplate.
Figure 2: Demonstration of the eCook prototype during the opening session by Dr. Jon Leary.
Only one appliance could be used at a time due to the limitation of the maximum output power of the
inverter, so extension cables were plugged in to the nearest building allowing participants in other
groups to cook on grid electricity.
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Next came a ‘show and tell’ session with each of the stoves and solar lighting kits brought along by the
entrepreneurs. The design principles behind firewood and charcoal stoves from Rasma Engineering,
EcoZoom, 3 Rocks, Prime and Ziko were explained, making comparisons to the ordinary mbaula that is
found in kitchens throughout Lusaka. Vitalite also showcased their solar home system, which is capable
of powering LED lights, a radio and a TV, highlighting the pay-as-you-go mechanism that enables users to
repay the high cost of the equipment over time.
The hotplate is the most commonly used appliance across Zambia today, but also the least energy
efficient. Some households also own a kettle, but few have an electric pressure cooker or a slow
cooker. The kettle saves energy by heating water very quickly to avoid heat losses. The slow cooker is
very compatible with solar, as it uses a small amount of power throughout the day to slowly cook
dishes like meat stew, producing a very tender and flavoursome result. The electric pressure cooker
can cook long boiling dishes like offals and beans in approximately half the time and with a fraction of
the energy, so is particularly well suited to battery-supported cooking on a regular basis.
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Figure 3: Mr Phiri of Rasma Engineering explaining how their firewood and charcoal braziers were designed around
the limitations of the traditional mbaula. Nancy Ng’oma of CEEEZ makes comparison to the Ziko stove, which was
often used during load shedding.
Figure 4: Muyunda Akfuna of Vitalite explaining the pay-as-you-go repayment plan for their solar home system.
Akfuna also introduced the ultra-efficient EcoZoom charcoal stove and the Prime pellet stove that is no longer
marketed due the difficulty in acquiring wood pellets.
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Finally, the cooks each chose a stove and began to cook a meal of their choosing. A
plug-in energy meter was used to measure the electricity consumed by the
electrical appliances and a hanging balance was used to weigh the charcoal and
pellets used in the biomass stoves. An LPG stove was also available, but due to
technical difficulties, it was not possible to cook with it during the event.
Figure 5: Daisydaria Mkandawire, Principal Engineer in ZESCO’s Demand Side Management department explains
that she bought her LPG stove to help cope with load shedding. She uses it for quick frying dishes due to the cost
and explains that adoption in Zambia has been limited due to the perception that they are not safe.
LPG uptake in
Zambia has been
limited by the
perception that
it is unsafe
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Cooks swapped freely between stoves, trying out the different options and using stoves as they became
available. Although it was intended that each cook would cook the same meal on a biomass and an
electric stove for direct comparison, time proved insufficient. Technical difficulties with the extension
cables meant that only two electrical appliances could be used at a time one on the eCook prototype
and one on the grid. The electric pressure cooker was used to cook beans and subsequently to cook beef
stew.
Figure 6: Matrine Musole cooking beef stew on the eCook Zambia PV-eCook concept protoype.
Figure 7: Beef stew boiling down on the electric pressure cooker.
Cooking inefficiently
on an efficient
electric cooking
appliance can use as
much energy as
cooking on a
hotplate.
Most foods
can be just as
tasty when
cooked on
electric stoves.
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15
Figure 8: Measuring the weight of charcoal used for cooking one of the dishes.
Figure 9: The array of stoves under test during the cooking session.
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Figure 10: ‘Food for thought’ fuelled the discussions at lunch. Dishes cooked on the electric pressure cooker were
deemed just as tasty as their charcoal and firewood counterparts.
Figure 11: On the menu were caterpillars, impwa, beef stew, chicken stew and of course, nshima.
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4 Afternoon session cooks feedback & team presentations
This session involved the cooks sharing their feedback with the group, with a short interval for the teams
to address this feedback, before presenting their vision for eCook Zambia to the judging panel.
4.1 Feedback from the cooks
The table below summarizes the feedback from cooks for the different cooking devices used at the
event. Cooks were asked to summarise what they liked best about the stove/s they cooked on, what
they liked least and therefore what design features they thought would be important for a future eCook
appliance.
Figure 12: Our 5 cooks sharing their opinions on the stoves they cooked on in the morning.
Table 1: User feedback from the 5 cooks, collated for each stove.
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COOKING DEVICE
FEEDBACK FROM COOKS
ECOZOOM
Positive characteristics: smokeless; pots remain clean throughout cooking
process; cooks fast; has high heat retention; safer as outer case remains cold
while cooking.
Energy consumption: 0.7kg charcoal (~0.5 Kwacha) to cook beans in 3 hour.
Key learning point for eCook: Could be even more efficient with a stove -top
pressure cooker.
ZIKO STOVE
Positive characteristics: has lots of heat; cooks fast.
Negative characteristics: too much heat moving upwards towards the cook
(note: the user/cook did not know that by keeping the heat control door
open while cooking, heat would be moving upwards. This was cleared by an
entrepreneur in the audience); too much smoke turns pots black.
Energy consumption: 3kg charcoal (~8 Kwacha) to cook dried fish in 1hr
40mins
Key learning point for eCook: heat should be focussed onto the pot, not the
cook.
PRIME STOVE
Positive characteristics: cooks fast, efficient on pellets
Negative characteristics: flame was too much; it darkens pots; too much
smoke; poor heat retention makes pot handles very hot; reloading pellets
complicated.
Energy consumption: 0.75kg wood pellets (~3 Kwacha) to cook caterpillars;
3kg pellets to cook various vegetable dishes (12 kwacha).
Key learning point for eCook: it should be easy to reload/refuel/recharge.
RASMA STOVE
Positive characteristics: cooked vegetables with the right heat; cooks fast;
comfortable to cook on; efficient with charcoal.
Energy consumption: 0.5kg charcoal (~0.5 Kwacha) to cook vegetables.
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Key learning point for eCook: it should be easy to adjust the level of heat in
the pot.
ORDINARY
MBAULA
Positive characteristics: easy to light; familiar.
Negative characteristics: slow; heat loss very high bad for the cook on a
hot day, makes pot handles very hot.
Energy consumption: 1.6kg charcoal to cook impwa (45 mins); 2.5kg charcoal
to cook chicken (1hr 30 mins) cooked
Key learning point for eCook: it should be intuitive to new users.
ELECTRIC
PRESSURE
COOKER
Positive characteristics: very efficient; cooks fast; clean; safe (note: if user
knows how to use it); environmentally friendly;
Negative characteristics: pressure release takes too long; does not allow
cook to see how cooking is progressing; worried about safety (explosion);
difficult to cook on (if using for first time);
Energy consumption: 1kWh (0.15 kwacha for first 200kWh/month, else 0.5
kwacha) cooked beans in 2hrs 30mins; 1.028kWh (0.16 kwacha for first
200kWh/month, else 0.52 kwacha) for beef stew (note: both dishes were
cooked with the lid off a lot of the time and too much water, likely to be
below 0.5kWh and 1-1.5hrs with lid closed apart from when frying and less
water)
Key learning points:
would need instruction manual, cookbook and/or training for first
time users.
awareness raising about safety features may be necessary.
cleanliness and speed important selling points.
should also include a standard hotplate as some foods require
special pots and constant monitoring by the cook.
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4.2 Team presentations
This final session was designed to showcase the conceptual designs for Zambian eCook
products/services. Each team pitched their vision to the audience, with a panel of judges from the Rural
Electrification Authority and the Ministry of Energy making the final decision on which team presented
the most viable proposition. The judging criteria can be found in Appendix C: Judging Criteria.
4.2.1 Team 1. Mpamvu power team
Figure 13: Mpamvu Power presenting their 3 categories of eCook products, each tailored to the needs of different
groups of users.
Aim is to:
i. reduce energy consumption
ii. Improve livelihood and safety
iii. an environment friendly device
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Propose 3 packages of eCook
1. For low income: BASIC eCook Package to consist of battery,
inverter, 2 plate cooker, 2 LED lights and panels.
2. Medium income: STANDARD eCook Package to consist of
battery, inverter, 2 plate cooker, 4 LED lights and panels.
3. High income group; PREMIUM eCook Package to consist of
battery, inverter, panels, 1 pressure cooker, 1 slow cooker,
rice/nsima cooker (which they will design). These
components are to help reduce energy consumption by the
target group.
Business model
i. Create awareness on different platforms
ii. Engage micro financing institutions
Ways to address cooks feedback
i. Using induction stove to restrict heat to pot
a. Cooks faster and does not drain batteries
ii. Clean, sustainable and convenient to use product
Marketing: Budget for campaigns and demonstrations.
Q&A:
QUESTION FROM JUDGE: How does the premium package
respond to load shedding?
o ANSWER: The load shedding we have been experiencing
is because of low water levels. Through the introduction
of energy efficient appliances, we can target the biggest
domestic load, cooking, hence saving electricity and
water.
QUESTION FROM JUDGE: How are you going to factor out initial
cost as the target group cannot afford?
o ANSWER: We are banking on the price of solar products
to keep going down. Introducing different packages
with costs spread out using pay-as-you-go to allow the
targeted groups pay in comfort.
QUESTION: What are the ideal prices of the packages?
o ANSWER: On average: ZMW300 per month for BASIC eCOOK; ZMW500 per month for
STANDARD eCOOK; ZMW1000 per month for PREMIUM eCOOK.
In fact, the Basic eCook
package should have
included an electric
pressure cooker instead of a
hotplate. Hotplates are
more versatile, but very
inefficient, so would require
a much bigger battery back
to support them. As a
result, it is likely that only
the more well-off
consumers will be able to
afford to cook with them on
a regular basis.
eCook can make a
valuable contribution to
demand side
management of ZESCO’s
grid, reducing the
likelihood that load
shedding will return.
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22
4.2.2 Team 2. Efficient home solar system
Figure 14: Team 2 presenting their vison for an all DC ‘Efficient Home Solar System’ by rewiring an off-the-shelf AC
electric hotplate for 12V DC.
Aim to provide a product that is efficient, cheap and long-lasting.
Package will consist of:
Panel
Charge controller
Battery
DC cooking appliance
o Avoids having to include an inverter.
o This idea is coming from the cigarette lighter in a car. It has an 8
coil heater with 1920W of power from 12V. For example, an
element with 6 heating points of 1200W could be connected to
an off-the-shelf ceramic hotplate to convert it to 12V DC.
The
development
of DC cooking
appliances
will be a key
enabler for
eCook.
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23
Marketing
i. Target rural and peri-urban areas.
ii. Urban areas will be targeted for people that love innovation, e.g. pressure cookers.
iii. Sales models:
a. Cash and carry
b. 6-months pay-as-you-go
c. 12-months pay-as-you-go
d. 18-months pay-as-you-go
iv. Community outreach:
a. Radio, TVs, roadshows and billboards
Ways to address cooks’ feedback
Excess power to be used for any other systems in the home
Q&A:
QUESTION FROM JUDGE: How have you factored in safety for your product?
ANSWER: This is just a prototype. Safety issues will be taken into consideration when they sit
down with engineers. But some safety measures include:
o Off-the-shelf ceramic hotplates have tough insulation, therefore safe.
o Regulators will be installed in system to control charging and discharging.
o Selector switches to be used to set a selected temperature/heat.
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24
4.2.3 Team 3. Speaking for the voiceless
Figure 15: Team 3 explaining how they would use strategies such as financing through the Village Banking and
training local women to market, install and support eCook products to reach out into the rural areas where the need is
greatest.
Aim: To speak for the people in rural areas.
Motivations
i. Reduce deforestation.
ii. Reduce distance that women and children cover during wood fuel
collection/gathering.
Marketing strategies
Key marketing messages: eCook is safe, clean and saves money.
Target low income groups in urban and rural areas, both women and men.
Packages will include:
i. Solar cooker and panels
ii. Improved firewood stoves
To be sold at market places, work places and hardware shops, e.g. S.I. Limbada.
Building upon
successful
institutions such
as Village
Banking will be
key to reaching
the hardest to
reach, but most
in need rural
consumers.
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25
Awareness raising strategies:
i. Competitions, e.g. eCook design challenge
ii. Door-to-door campaigns.
iii. Trade Fairs (e.g. Copperbelt Trade Fair), campaigns,
hospitals, schools.
Business models: village banking, distribute through existing stove
vendors.
They will train local women on how to install systems and provide
after-sales service.
4.3 COMMENTS FROM JUDGES
The judges thanked all participants for their efforts during the competition.
1. All teams had identified a viable target market.
2. There were some interesting business models proposed, but more detail was needed on the
costs to tell whether the numbers will add up.
3. Most teams responded to the cooks’ feedback, but could have been more specific.
4. All teams had innovative ideas, both in terms of technical innovation and innovative marketing
strategies.
5. No team completely addressed the technical viability, as the size and cost of the systems were
not completely disclosed
6. There was lack of coordination when making presentations, perhaps due to the limited time
available to prepare.
Final scoring:
Third: Team SPEAKING FOR THE VOICELESS, 20 points
Second: Team EFFICIENT HOME SOLAR SYSTEM, 30 points
First: Team MPAMVU POWER TEAM, 30 points awarded first place at judges’ discretion
Empowering women
throughout the value chain
will be key to accelerating
uptake and ensuring that
eCook has the broadest
developmental impact
possible.
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26
Figure 16: Our judges, Mr. Vijue Moonga representing REA and Mr. Elijah Chibwe representing DoE sharing their
thoughts on the three presentations.
Figure 17: The winning team, Mpavu Power after receiving their prizes, an electric pressure cooker, from Prof.
Yamba, Director of CEEEZ.
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27
5 Evaluation
Overall, the eCook Zambia Design Challenge achieved its aim of facilitating the participatory design of
eCook, allowing the generic concept to evolve around Zambian cooking practices. Although the actual
schedule for the day ended up quite different to the agenda, it was an enjoyable event that certainly laid
the foundations for lasting partnerships between entrepreneurs, users and researchers that can guide
the evolution of eCook in Zambia over the next 5-10 years.
The key positive elements of the event were:
The event was fun and everyone felt like they got something out of it.
The competitive format made the day exciting.
Cooking is central to every household, so everybody could relate to the task at hand.
Eating the food we had prepared together at lunch provided extra ‘food for thought’ to fuel the
discussion during the break.
Allowing extra space for the ‘show and tell’ session at the beginning was a good way to learn
about the backgrounds of the participants and a platform for sharing some the energy saving
products (for lighting and cooking) available on the market.
To improve similar events in the future, the following points should be considered:
Future events should target a broader community of entrepreneurs.
o Representatives from local cookstove/solar lighting organisations and electrical utilities
interested in adding eCook to their product lines were present, but the event could have
had a broader impact if representatives from more organisations had participated.
o There were not enough participants to have equal balances of social, technical and business
specialists on each team, meaning that some teams presented very technical solutions
without thinking enough about business models and marketing strategies, and vice versa.
o It is challenging to guarantee attendance, so a flexible agenda should be planned that allows
the format of the event to be varied according to the number of people able to attend and
their roles.
Allow more time for technical experimentation.
o A variety of eCook components and tools were available during the day, however only one
group considered re-configuring the hardware.
o To facilitate more in-depth experimentation and prototoyping, the event could have been
reformatted into two parts. After receiving feedback from the cooks, there could have been
a break for several weeks to allow the teams to go away and develop a prototype, after
which everyone would reconvene for a demonstration and explanation in front of the
judging panel.
o However, this would likely have required more resources, both for hardware and tools for
prototyping from the organisers and time from the participants. It is likely that the teams
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28
would also have required technical assistance to develop the prototypes from technicians
and/or product designers. They may also have required a workshop to carry out their
experiments.
Ensure the electrical infrastructure is strong enough to support high continuous loads from
cooking appliances.
o Technical difficulties with the extension cables and time restrictions prevented all cooks
from being able to cook the same dish on electricity.
Be more systematic in planning who cooks what and with which fuel/stove.
o The chaotic format that the cooking session ended up taking made it difficult to compare
directly between fuels and stoves.
o Quantity of each dish was not recorded.
o Some cooks switched stoves to cook another dish and some stoves were already alight from
the previous cook.
Study the influence of the cook as much as the stove itself.
o The style of cooking has as much influence on energy use as the fuel itself.
o Many stoves were not operated as the designers had expected, as the cooks had not used
them before.
Structure presentations to make their messages clearer.
o This could be achieved by giving each team a fixed time and a structured format for the
presentation at the beginning, e.g. by using a PowerPoint template (if a projector is
available) with 1 slide per section from the judging criteria.
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6 Conclusion
The eCook Zambia Design Challenge was an important step forward in the evolution of the generic
eCook concept (cooking on battery-supported electricity) to the needs and aspirations of Zambian
cooks. To continue this evolution, further work should focus on the key learning points identified here:
Appliances are cheaper than batteries. Carefully selecting the most efficient electric cooking appliances
will reduce the size and therefore cost of the battery bank by significantly more than the cost of the
appliance itself. The result is a cheaper overall solution that will be affordable to even poorer
consumers.
Figure 18: The future evolution of eCook in Zambia?
Empowering women to lead this transition will be key. New livelihood opportunities will emerge at all
stages of the value chain and women are best placed to take these on. This is both from the perspective
of accelerating uptake (for example, women are much more likely to buy a product marketed to them by
other women) and ensuring the broadest developmental impact by contributing to gender equity.
Building upon successful financing models will be key to unlocking the poorer and harder to reach
rural markets. For example, pay-as-you-go solar lighting and Village Banking.
The development of DC cooking appliances will be a key enabler for eCook. AC appliances require an
inverter, which adds cost, bulk, unreliability and inefficiency to the system.
Demand side management. eCook can make a valuable contribution to demand side management of
ZESCO’s grid, reducing the likelihood that load shedding will return. Especially if the devices can be
controlled remotely with a SIM card so that the battery can be charged when surplus power is available
instead of at meal times when demand is already peaking.
= eCook
+
= smarter eCook?
+
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30
Electric pressure cookers are already cost competitive with charcoal; however, they require the cook
to change their behaviour. Further research is required on how the design could be made more
intuitive. Initially, they would need to be packaged with an instruction manual, dedicated cookbook for
Zambian foods, and/or training for first time users. An electric pressure cooker alone may not be enough
for a household to do all their cooking, as some foods require special pots and constant monitoring.
Manually adjusting the heat in the pot is also an important feature that is not available on most models
available on the market today.
Insulating cooking devices not only makes them more efficient, but also improves the experience for
the cook on hot days who does not want to be heated any further!
Recharging an eCook device should be as simple as possible, or cooks may get to mealtime and be
disappointed to find their battery is flat.
LPG-eCook hybrids. The perception of LPG as dangerous by many Zambian households may well change
in the future. Investigating the strengths and weaknesses of electric cooking appliances and LPG and
considering the value offered by hybrid systems would be wise.
Safety of pressure cookers. Pressure cookers also considered by many to be unsafe, so awareness
raising about their safety features may well be necessary.
Cleanliness and speed of cooking are likely to be important selling points for electric pressure cookers.
The findings from the Design Challenge Workshop will be combined with those from the other activities
that have been carried under the eCook Zambia Market Assessment. Together they will build a more
complete picture of the opportunities and challenges that await this emerging concept. Further outputs
will be available from https://elstove.com/innovate-reports/.
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31
7 Appendix
7.1 Appendix A: Problem statement and background to Innovate eCook
project
7.1.1 Beyond business as usual
The use of biomass and solid fuels for cooking is the everyday experience of nearly 3 Billion people. This
pervasive use of solid fuels––including wood, coal, straw, and dung––and traditional cookstoves results
in high levels of household air pollution, extensive daily drudgery required to collect fuels, and serious
health impacts. It is well known that open fires and primitive stoves are inefficient ways of converting
energy into heat for cooking. The average amount of biomass cooking fuel used by a typical family can
be as high as two tons per year. Indoor biomass cooking smoke also is associated with a number of
diseases, including acute respiratory illnesses, cataracts, heart disease and even cancer. Women and
children in particular are exposed to indoor cooking smoke in the form of small particulates up to 20
times higher than the maximum recommended levels of the World Health Organization. It is estimated
that smoke from cooking fuels accounts for nearly 4 million premature deaths annually worldwide
more than the deaths from malaria and tuberculosis combined.
While there has been considerable investment in improving the use of energy for cooking, the emphasis
so far has been on improving the energy conversion efficiency of biomass. Indeed in a recent overview
of the state of the art in Improved Cookstoves (ICS), ESMAP & GACC (2015), World Bank (2014), note
that the use of biomass for cooking is likely to continue to dominate through to 2030.
“Consider, for a moment, the simple act of cooking. Imagine if we could change the way nearly five hundred
million families cook their food each day. It could slow climate change, drive gender equality, and reduce
poverty. The health benefits would be enormous.” ESMAP & GACC (2015)
The main report goes on to say that “The “business-as-usual” scenario for the sector is encouraging but
will fall far short of potential.” (ibid,) It notes that without major new interventions, over 180 million
households globally will gain access to, at least, minimally improved
3
cooking solutions by the end of the
decade. However, they state that this business-as-usual scenario will still leave over one- half (57%) of
3
A minimally improved stove does not significantly change the health impacts of kitchen emissions. “For biomass cooking,
pending further evidence from the field, significant health benefits are possible only with the highest quality fan gasifier stoves;
more moderate health impacts may be realized with natural draft gasifiers and vented intermediate ICS” (ibid)
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32
the developing world’s population without access to clean cooking in 2020, and 38% without even
minimally improved cooking solutions. The report also states that ‘cleaner’ stoves are barely affecting
the health issues, and that only those with forced gasification make a significant improvement to health.
Against this backdrop, there is a need for a different approach aimed at accelerating the uptake of truly
‘clean’ cooking.
Even though improved cooking solutions are expected to reach an increasing proportion of the poor, the
absolute numbers of people without access to even ‘cleaner’ energy, let alone ‘clean’ energy, will
increase due to population growth. The new Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for the world to
“ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. Modern energy
(electricity or LPG) would indeed be ‘clean’ energy for cooking, with virtually no kitchen emissions (other
than those from the pot). However, in the past, modern energy has tended to mean access to electricity
(mainly light) and cooking was often left off the agenda for sustainable energy for all.
Even in relation to electricity access, key papers emphasise the need for a step change in investment
finance, a change from ‘business as usual’. IEG World Bank Group (2015) note that 22 countries in the
Africa Region have less than 25 percent access, and of those, 7 have less than 10 percent access. Their
tone is pessimistic in line with much of the recent literature on access to modern energy, albeit in
contrast to the stated SDG7. They discuss how population growth is likely to outstrip new supplies and
they argue that “unless there is a big break from recent trends the population without electricity access
in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase by 58 percent, from 591 million in 2010 to 935 million in
2030.” They lament that about 40% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 14 years old and
conclude that if the current level of investment in access continues, yet another generation of children
will be denied the benefits of modern service delivery facilitated by the provision of electricity (IEG
World Bank Group 2015).
“Achieving universal access within 15 years for the low-access countries (those with under 50 percent
coverage) requires a quantum leap from their present pace of 1.6 million connections per year to 14.6 million
per year until 2030.” (ibid)
Once again, the language is a call for a something other than business as usual. The World Bank
conceives of this as a step change in investment. It estimates that the investment needed to really
address global electricity access targets would be about $37 billion per year, including erasing
generation deficits and additional electrical infrastructure to meet demand from economic growth. “By
comparison, in recent years, low-access countries received an average of $3.6 billion per year for their
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electricity sectors from public and private sources” (ibid). The document calls for the Bank Group‘s
energy practice to adopt a new and transformative strategy to help country clients orchestrate a
national, sustained, sector-level engagement for universal access.
In the following paragraphs, we explore how increasing access to electricity could include the use of
solar electric cooking systems, meeting the needs of both supplying electricity and clean cooking to a
number of households in developing countries with sufficient income.
7.1.2 Building on previous research
Gamos first noted the trends in PV and battery prices in May 2013. We asked ourselves the question, is
it now cost effective to cook with solar photovoltaics? The answer in 2013 was ‘no’, but the trends
suggested that by 2020 the answer would be yes. We published a concept note and started to present
the idea to industry and government. Considerable interest was shown but uncertainty about the cost
model held back significant support. Gamos has since used its own funds to undertake many of the
activities, as well as IP protection (a defensive patent application has been made for the battery/cooker
combination) with the intention is to make all learning and technology developed in this project open
access, and awareness raising amongst the electrification and clean cooking communities (e.g. creation
of the infographic shown in Figure 19 to communicate the concept quickly to busy research and policy
actors).
Gamos has made a number of strategic alliances, in particular with the University of Surrey (the Centre
for Environmental Strategy) and Loughborough University Department of Geography and seat of the
Low Carbon Energy for Development Network). In October 2015, DFID commissioned these actors to
explore assumptions surrounding solar electric cooking
4
(Batchelor 2015b; Brown & Sumanik-Leary
2015; Leach & Oduro 2015; Slade 2015). The commission arose from discussions between consortium
members, DFID, and a number of other entities with an interest in technological options for cleaner
cooking e.g. Shell Foundation and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Drawing on evidence from the literature, the papers show that the concept is technically feasible and
could increase household access to a clean and reliable modern source of energy. Using a bespoke
economic model, the Leach and Oduro paper also confirm that by 2020 a solar based cooking system
could be comparable in terms of monthly repayments to the most common alternative fuels, charcoal
4
The project has been commissioned through the PEAKS framework agreement held by DAI Europe Ltd.
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34
and LPG. Drawing on published and grey literatures, many variables were considered (e.g. cooking
energy needs, technology performance, component costs). There is uncertainty in many of the
parameter values, including in the assumptions about future cost reductions for PV and batteries, but
the cost ranges for the solar system and for the alternatives overlap considerably. The model includes
both a conservative 5% discount rate representing government and donor involvement, and a 25%
discount rate representing a private sector led initiative with a viable return. In both cases, the solar
system shows cost effectiveness in 2020.
Figure 19 Infographic summarising the concept in order to lobby research and policy actors.
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The Brown and Sumanik-Leary paper in the series examines the lessons learned from four transitions
the uptake of electric cooking in South Africa, the roll out of Improved Cookstoves (ICS), the use of LPG
and the uptake of Solar Home Systems (SHS). They present many behavioural concerns, none of which
preclude the proposition as such, but all of which suggest that any action to create a scaled use of solar
electric cooking would need in depth market analysis; products that are modular and paired with locally
appropriate appliances; the creation of new, or upgrading of existing, service networks; consumer
awareness raising; and room for participatory development of the products and associated equipment.
A synthesis paper summarising the above concludes by emphasising that the proposition is not a single
product it is a new genre of action and is potentially transformative. Whether solar energy is utilised
within household systems or as part of a mini, micro or nano grid, linking descending solar PV and
battery costs with the role of cooking in African households (and the Global South more broadly) creates
a significant potential contribution to SDG7. Cooking is a major expenditure of 500 million households. It
is a major consumer of time and health. Where households pay for their fuelwood and charcoal
(approximately 300 Million) this is a significant cash expense. Solar electric cooking holds the potential
to turn this (fuelwood and charcoal) cash into investment in modern energy. This “consumer
expenditure” is of an order of magnitude more than current investment in modern energy in Africa and
to harness it might fulfil the calls for a step change in investment in electrical infrastructure.
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7.1.3 Summary of related projects
A series of inter-related projects have led to and will follow on from the research presented in this
report:
Gamos Ltd.’s early conceptual work on eCook (Batchelor 2013).
o The key CONCEPT NOTE can be found here.
o An early infographic and a 2018 infographic can be found here.
Initial technical, economic and behavioural feasibility studies on eCook commissioned by DfID
(UK Aid) through the CEIL-PEAKS Evidence on Demand service and implemented by Gamos Ltd.,
Loughborough University and University of Surrey.
o The key FINAL REPORTS can be found here.
Conceptual development, stakeholder engagement & prototyping in Kenya & Bangladesh during
the Low cost energy-efficient products for the bottom of the pyramid project from the USES
programme funded by DfID (UK Aid), EPSRC & DECC (now part of BEIS) & implemented by
University of Sussex, Gamos Ltd., ACTS (Kenya), ITT & UIU (Bangladesh).
o
The key
PRELIMINARY RESULTS
(Q1 2019) can be found here.
A series of global & local market assessments in Myanmar, Zambia and Tanzania under the
eCook - a transformational household solar battery-electric cooker for poverty alleviation
project funded by DfID (UK Aid) & Gamos Ltd. through Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Round 4,
implemented by Loughborough University, University of Surrey, Gamos Ltd., REAM (Myanmar),
CEEEZ (Zambia) & TaTEDO (Tanzania).
o
The key
PRELIMINARY RESULTS
(Q1 2019) can be found here.
At time of publication (Q1 2019), a new DfID (UK Aid) funded research programme ‘Modern
Energy Cooking Services’ (MECS) lead by Prof. Ed Brown at Loughborough University is just
beginning and will take forward these ideas & collaborations.
This data and material have been funded by UK AID from the UK government; however, the views
expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.
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7.2 Appendix B: List of participants
NAME
INSTITUTION/ORGANIZATION
ROLE
Mr. Frank A. Muyunda
Vitalite
Participant
Ms. Thabo Mulapani
Vitalite
Participant
Mr. Jasiel Mashowo
Lusaka Back Packers
Participant
Ms. Harriet Hamutete
ZENGO
Participant
Ms. Matrine Musole
Cooking diaries participant
Cook
Ms. Esther Musole
Cooking diaries participant
Cook
Mr. Vijue Moonga
REA
Judge
Mr. Elijah Chibwe
DoE
Judge
Mr. Steward Makanse
Act to Save
Participant
Mr. Rashid Phiri
Rasma Engineering
Participant
Ms. Lorna Matewere
Baraka Zambia
Participant
Mr. John Matewere
Baraka Zambia
Participant
Mr. Imasiku Muyunda
Cooking diaries research assistant
Participant
Ms. Elizabeth Musonda
ZENGO
Participant
Ms. Presia Chingembu
Vitalite
Cook
Ms. Daisydaria Mkandawire
Zesco Limited
Participant
Ms. Sitali Muneku
Cooking diary participant
Cook
Mr. George M. Makhaza
Vitalite
Cook
Mr. Fabian Banda
UNZA-TDAU
Judge
Mr. Njobvu
Interested party
Participant
Dr. Jon Leary
GAMOS
Facilitator
Prof F.D. Yamba
CEEEZ
Facilitator
Mr. Francis Mwila
CEEEZ
Facilitator
Ms. Nancy Serenje Ng’oma
CEEEZ
Facilitator
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7.3 Appendix C: Judging Criteria
Judges:
Mr. Vijue Moonga, REA
Mr. Elijah Chibwe, DoE
Criteria
0
5
10
Target market
and impact
The target market is unclear.
The target market is defined, but
the social or environmental benefits
of this choice are not clear.
The target market is well defined and there are
clear social and environmental benefits behind
this choice.
Business model
The business model is not credible.
The business model could be
credible, but needs further work.
Little mention of marketing
strategies is made.
A proposal for a credible business opportunity
is supported by a well-designed marketing
strategy.
Responding to
cooks’ feedback
The cooks’ feedback is totally ignored.
No-one would adopt this product.
Some of the cooks’ feedback is
addressed in stove design. Some
people may adopt this product.
Most feedback from most cooks is clearly
addressed. This is a product that people would
readily adopt.
Technical
viability
The design would not work.
The design may work, but it may
not be efficient.
The design is technically credible and would
work efficiently.
Innovation
There is nothing novel about this
design.
Some aspects of the technical
design or business model are novel.
Both the technical design and the business
model are novel ideas.
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Criteria
Team name:
Team name:
Team name:
Team name:
Team name:
Score (0-10)
Score (0-10)
Score (0-10)
Score (0-10)
Score (0-10)
Target market and impact
/10
/10
/10
/10
/10
Business model
/10
/10
/10
/10
/10
Responding to cooks’ feedback
/10
/10
/10
/10
/10
Technical viability
/10
/10
/10
/10
/10
Innovation
/10
/10
/10
/10
/10
Total
/50
/50
/50
/50
/50
Additional comments
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1.1 Appendix D: Agenda
Time
Session
CEEEZ
Cooks
Entrepreneurs
Judges
Description
Output
09:00
Set up
Setting
up
Setting
up
Cooks & CEEEZ
Briefing with cooks & set up
stoves
10:00
Opening
Speaki
ng
Listening
Listening
Introducing eCook and the
programme for the day.
Explaining competitive format
and technical, economic and
social judging criteria.
Teams of
entrepreneurs with
equal balances of
social, technical and
business specialists.
10:15
Bake-off
Facilita
ting
Cooking
& giving
feedback
Listening &
asking
questions
Cooks prepare their favourite
everyday meal on their own
stove and then try cooking it on
the eCook prototype. Teams of
entrepreneurs discuss how they
could design a Zambian eCook
product around the cooks’
needs.
Feedback from cooks
on generic eCook
prototype & design
specifications for
Zambian eCook
prototypes.
12:30
Lunch
Eating
Eating
Eating
13:30
Prototyp
ing
Facilita
ting
Listening
& giving
feedback
Prototyping
Judges
briefing
from
15:00
Entrepreneurs develop
conceptual designs in response
to cooks’ feedback, focussing on
business models, social impact
and technical viability. Flip charts
are available to sketch out ideas
and
tools/components/appliances to
build prototypes where possible.
A series of designs for
Zambian eCook.
16:00
Pitching
Facilita
ting
Pitching
Pitching
Judging
Showcasing the conceptual
designs for Zambian eCook and
pitching the business model.
The winning design for
a Zambian eCook
16:40
Awards
Speaki
ng
Listening
Listening
Prize giving ceremony &
discussing next steps.
... Insulation can also mitigate the effects of short blackouts and voltage instability [32], which can give cooks greater reassurance that they will be able to get dinner on the table without having to resort to another cooking fuel as backup. Insulation can also make the cook more comfortable in hot climates by keeping the heat inside the pot where it can cook the food instead of heating the cook [33]. The EPC emerged from early research as a promising option, particularly in East Africa, where 'heavy foods' (foods that require boiling for more than an hour, e.g., beans), are frequently cooked [6,19,30]. ...
... Energy storage can make cooking with electricity more reliable and enable access in off-grid areas with solar PV [4,[16][17][18]. Battery-supported cooking devices can shift electricity demand away from peak times and allow users to cook during blackouts or brownouts, however they add significantly to the cost-therefore optimising energy and power demand with efficient appliances is critical [33]. Other cheaper energy storage technologies are being developed [42,43], however they still struggle to match the ability of LPG to cope with days of exceptionally high demand (e.g., cooking for visitors), making fuel stacking an attractive option [19,29]. ...
Article
Full-text available
New opportunities are opening for electric cooking (eCooking) as a cost-effective, practical and desirable solution to the twin global challenges of clean cooking and electrification. Globally, momentum is building behind the transformative potential of eCooking to achieve a range of environmental and social impacts. However, cooking is a complex, culturally embedded practice, that results in an array of behavioural change challenges that must be understood and overcome for these new opportunities to translate into impact at scale. The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme was designed to explore this space and pilot innovative new eCooking services with the potential to rapidly scale. This paper reflects upon the programme’s key learnings to date on the behavioural change dimension of eCooking. It consolidates what we now know on the subject and highlights the gaps that remain, where further investigation is needed. The evidence shows that the uptake of eCooking can be hindered by (often false) perceptions around cost, taste and safety, the high cost and steep learning curve for new appliances, the lack of awareness/availability/after-sales service for energy-efficient appliances and the reluctance of male decision-makers to authorise appliance purchases. However, it also shows that the convenience and potential cost savings offered by energy-efficient appliances can offer an aspirational cooking experience and that uptake could be driven forward rapidly by urbanisation and changing lifestyles.
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