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Adoption of improved biomass stoves and stove/fuel stacking in the REACCTING intervention study in Northern Ghana

Dickinson, Katherine L., Piedrahita, Ricardo, Coffey, Evan R., Kanyomse, Ernest, Alirigia, Rex, Molnar, Timothy, Hagar, Yolanda, Hannigan, Michael P., Oduro, Abraham Rexford, Wiedinmyer, Christine
Energy policy 2019 v.130 pp. 361-374
air quality, batteries, biomass, climate, cooking, ecosystem services, emissions, energy, energy policy, fuels, heating systems, innovation adoption, markets, socioeconomic status, Ghana
In order to support transitions away from open-fire cooking and toward cleaner household energy systems, a better understanding of users’ technology adoption patterns and preferences is needed. This paper highlights key factors influencing use of two types of biomass-burning stoves provided through the REACCTING (Research on Emissions, Air quality, Climate, and Cooking Technology in Northern Ghana) randomized intervention study. We examine traditional and improved stove use over a two year follow up period, finding that the more basic rocket stove was used at a higher rate than the higher-tech gasifier stove. While stove use patterns varied by stove group, region, primary cook occupation, and socioeconomic status, use of traditional stoves remained high across most groups. Users perceived that improved stoves were less suitable for cooking a staple dish, Tuo Zaafi (TZ), and technical problems (e.g., battery failures with the gasifier stove) also limited the effectiveness of the intervention. Moving forward, household energy policies should prioritize a range of technologies that have potential to meet local needs while delivering meaningful health and/or environmental benefits, recognizing that stove and fuel “stacking” is likely to persist. A greater focus on markets and enabling environments is needed to support sustainable and scalable energy transitions.