Quantified positive health impact of clean cooking solutions paves the way for results-based financing

March 2016


Research executed by the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group (BA) in Cambodia has quantified the positive impact of clean cooking interventions on people’s health. This is a major breakthrough as it can help make such interventions more marketable and attractive for (results-based) financing, improving the lives of millions.

Since 1989, SNV has implemented clean cooking projects in over 25 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. About four million people have benefitted from these activities. However, the required scaling of this practice is hindered by the limited investment of the public and private sector. The level of investment is not proportionate to the size of the problem: the daunting figure reported by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is over four million people dying prematurely every year from household air pollution related to cooking with solid biomass fuels (more than HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and malaria combined). One way to improve the financial viability and level of investment in clean cooking intervention programmes is to prove and monetise the health benefits.

This is why SNV commissioned the research in Cambodia: to quantify the health impacts of the ACE-1 gasifier stove and the biogas stoves, locally produced under the National Bio-digester Programme. The applied methodology estimates the averted premature death and disability through averted disability-adjusted life years (ADALYs). The ACE-1 sub-study was conducted in 24 peri-urban and 24 rural wood-burning households and involved measurements of personal exposure, kitchen air pollution and stove use before and after the introduction of the stove (before-after study design). The biogas sub-study was conducted in 24 rural biogas households and 24 rural control households (cross-sectional study design) and involved the same types of measurements.

The use of ACE-1 and biogas stoves generated a statistically significant decrease in kitchen air pollution and personal exposure, thus resulting in positive health outcomes (measured in averted disability adjusted life years, ADALYs) for the populations using these cleaner technologies. A project that disseminates 25,000 ACE-1 or biogas stoves in Cambodia could result in 1,295 and 2,770 ADALYs respectively.

The results confirm the positive health impacts of a similar study (completed in June 2015) commissioned by the World Bank in Lao PDR, based on the introduction of ACE-1 stoves in 72 households. This study was undertaken by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group in cooperation with Geo-Sys (Lao) Co., Ltd., Vientiane and the Lao Institute for Renewable Energy. SNV facilitated the study by handling the stove model selection through a series of rigorous tests, the distribution in the households and the monitoring of the stoves.

Both studies will inform the Gold Standard Foundation in the development of a methodology to calculate health benefits using ADALYs as the impact metric. The development process will take into account the methodology “Quantification of a saleable health product (aDALYs) from household cooking interventions”, recently prepared for the World Bank by Household Energy, Climate, and Health Research Group (University of California) and Berkeley Air Monitoring Group, Berkeley.

Supported by DFID through the Energising Development Programme managed by GIZ and RVO, SNV will soon kick-start a regional programme that supports the market acceleration of over 120,000 advanced biomass stoves in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. Organisations and investors engaged in the health aspects of clean cooking solutions are welcome to embark on this exciting journey.

Download the report now to further explore the findings: Quantifying the health impacts of ACE-1 biomass and biogas stoves in Cambodia.

For inquiries, please contact Mr. Jason Steele, Energy Sector Leader, SNV Cambodia, at jsteele@snv.org.