July 03, 2012

Cooking Fuel Transition in China

Eurekalert - Despite China's booming economy, many poor individuals continue to use traditional stoves that burn low-grade solid fuels like charcoal and coal. Such stoves generate high levels of indoor air pollution that cause dire health problems, especially in women and children. These health concerns include asthma, bronchitis, and heart disease. By 2030, a new study predicts, nearly a quarter of the rural population and one-sixth of city dwellers could still be using such stoves. However, with a relatively small per capita investment, the study suggests, those values could drop to zero.

The analysis revealed that, under a business-as-usual scenario, 24 percent of the rural and 17 percent of the urban population might still depend on solid fuels in 2030. For an annual cost of just $2.39 per person, the researchers found, universal access to modern fuels could be achieved by that date in urban areas. Providing such fuels to rural areas would cost substantially more – an estimated $10.75 per person – but, Mainali notes, "the associated reductions in the adverse impacts on health and emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as general improvements in socio-economic welfare that are likely to accompany any access policies, justify such investment." Once there is access to modern fuels, he says, "the change that it brings to lives and society also changes prosperity levels and thus, in the long run, the required subsidies could be phased out or reduced."

"Analyzing Cooking Fuel and Stove Choices in China Till 2030"
Journal: Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy

24% of the soot problem is from cookers and heaters in the developing world

* 42% Open biomass burning (forest and savanna burning)
* 18% Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies
* 14% Diesel engines for transportation
* 10% Diesel engines for industrial use
* 10% Industrial processes and power generation, usually from smaller boilers
* 6% Residential coal burned with traditional technologies



Effective action against soot would save lives and improve the environment in a very cost effective way.


India and other countries are still big users of sooty cookers and heaters.

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