C. Venkataraman, A.D. Sagar, G. Habib, N. Lam, K.R. Smith   |   2010
Type: Research Report
Topic: Livelihoods
Country: India
India has recently launched the National Biomass Cookstoves Initiative (NCI) to develop next-generation cleaner biomass cookstoves and deploy them to all Indian households that currently use traditional cookstoves. The initiative has set itself the lofty aimof providing energy service comparable to clean sources such as LPG but using the same solid biomass fuels commonly used today. Such a clean energy option for the estimated 160 million Indian households nowcooking with inefficient and polluting biomass and coal cookstoves could yield enormous gains in health and welfare for the weakest and most vulnerable sections of society. At the same time, cleaner household cooking energy through substitution by advanced-combustion biomass stoves (or other options such as clean fuels) can nearly eliminate the several important products of incomplete combustion that come from today's practices and are important outdoor and greenhouse pollutants. Using national surveys, published literature and assessments, and measurements of cookstove performance solely from India, we find that about 570,000 premature deaths in poor women and children and over 4% of India's estimated greenhouse emissions could be avoided if such an initiative were in place today. These avoided emissions currently would be worth more than US$1 billion on the international carbon market. In addition, about one-third of India's black carbon emissions can be reduced alongwith a range of other health- and climate-active pollutants that affect regional air quality and climate. Although current advanced biomass stoves show substantial emissions reductions over traditional stoves, there is still additional improvement needed to reach LPG-like emission levels.We recognize that the technology development and deployment challenges tomeetNCI goals of this scale are formidable and a forthcoming companion paper focuses on what programdesign elements might best be able to overcome these challenges.

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