Smart gas valves could mean cleaner cooking for 50million

The technology may slow charcoal-led deforestation, reduce emissions and make fuel more affordable for impoverished communities. 

Developed by Bboxx, a new Smart Cooking Valve is designed to help move households using charcoal for cooking onto liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 

Based on a subscription model, the company describes the approach as ‘pay-as-you-cook’, meaning users are only charged for hat they use, improving affordability of and access to cleaner fuel options for people on low incomes in the developing world. Currently, the system has been introduced in two of the firm’s operational markets, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, and plans are now in place to scale this up, with aims of reaching 10million households, or 50million people, by 2028. 

Currently, households reliant on charcoal for cooking each consume an average of six trees per year, and emit two tonnes of CO2 as a result during that time. This is a key reason UN Sustainable Development Goals place such emphasis on bringing down domestic use of biomass fuels, which include charcoal, in a bid to slow deforestation and cut emissions. Doing this will also offer improvements to air quality. Around 3.2million annual deaths are attributed to domestic air pollution from sources such as charcoal stoves, with women more to be affected than men. 

‘We are igniting a revolution with a tech-driven solution that brings affordable, clean cooking into the heart of every household in Africa. Our mission to demolish barriers, paving the way for those who have been economically marginalised to embrace cleaner, efficient cooking. This is not just about reducing fuel costs or mitigating the health risks of harmful pollutants — it’s about fuelling economic growth and empowering communities, transforming lives and unlocking a prosperous, equitable future,’ said Mansoor Hamayun, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Bboxx.

Bboxx’s latest development in domestic climate technology runs on its proprietary Bboxx Pulse platform, which also powers the company’s retrofit solar energy products. While LPG is derived from fossil fuels, and releases CO2 into the atmosphere when burnt, its impact is around 70% that of coal, rising to 81% for oil. It also produces far lower levels of air pollution compared with solid fuels, particularly in terms of harmful particulate matter. Around 200,000 households in the UK use LPG.

More on clean off-grid energy: 

Beyond diesel: Moving off-grid communities in developing countries off generators

Solar Home Systems promise universal renewable power for Africa

UK green energy leader secures £36m funding



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