National Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (NCEEC) is the Partner of the Month of April! In this interview, the head of the technical unit, Charles Eguma shares their activities in the clean cookstoves sector.
Give us a brief introduction about your organisation
National Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (NCEEC), is one the six energy research centres established by the Energy Commission Nigeria (ECN). The Centre’s core activity is research and development. This includes: energy audit and energy management, energy research & training, energy efficiency and conservation awareness, product verification, development of standards and codes for energy efficient appliances, renewable energy design and project development, and policy advisory.
What does your organization seek to achieve in the Nigeria’s cooking energy market?
In Nigeria, cooking is mainly done using the traditional 3-stone stove and other similar inefficient means leading to severe waste of energy and attendant health problems owing to excessive smoke. To reduce the waste and minimize the associated problems, researchers are developing many types of efficient wood-burning and charcoal stoves to replace the inefficient ones. To this end, NCEEC embarked on a project to develop a prototype of the Save-80 clean cook stove in partnership with Atmosfair Gmbh. NCEEC seeks to promote the adoption of clean cook stoves for households in Nigeria. In the medium-long term, NCEEC will carry out the fabrication of adapter rings and pots for the stove, this is geared towards improving the design of the circular steel adapter to enable different pot sizes fit into the stove. NCEEC will also assist in developing business proposals for the distribution of the stoves through micro-finance facility, CSR support, and other financing initiatives that will help reduce the cost on low income households.
Can you tell us about your clean cooking activities including your achievements?
As an organisation interested in the growth of the Nigerian clean cooking sector we have successfully designed and fabricated stove prototypes and conducted tests on stove samples based on IWA 11:2012 performance metrics. Also, as member of the Technical Committee on Clean Cooking Solutions, NCEEC assisted in the development of the Nigerian Industrial Standard for clean cookstove in conjunction with Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and other stakeholders.
What are your biggest challenges in implementing your clean cooking activities?
The challenges vary but let’s view it from a technical perspective. This includes:
1) Work Process Challenges and production requirements to upscale the cookstoves
The fabrication projection for mass production of the clean cook stove in Nigeria will require well equipped fabrication workshop with appropriate tools and equipment and stable power source. The fabrication of the clean cookstove being sheet metal work requires sheet metal machines, equipment and sheet metal accessories tool. The lack of the aforementioned facilities as a unit within NCEEC, affects the ease of stove fabrication. The local pot ‘Punch-Die Mould’ fabrication is also affected by the lack of workshop with standard test pressing machines to pattern the mould for effective production. As such we have to rely on external facilities to carry out cutting and machining processes.
2) Proximity to testing Laboratories and cost of testing stove samples
There are presently two test facilities in the country. The cost of transporting fabricated stove samples to these facilities is high and also the cost of testing samples is expensive. This also presents a constraint on our activity.
What are the opportunities identified in the country that can promote the growth of your clean cooking activities?
The Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (NACC) being a public-private partnership seeks to introduce 10 million clean cookstoves to Nigerian homes and institutions by 2020. This target can only be realized through the contribution of its partners who will help facilitate the growth of the clean cookstoves market in Nigeria. NCEEC is therefore positioned to assist in meeting this objective.
How are consumers reacting to your clean cooking activities – benefits of your clean cooking activities to the consumers?
As an organization with primary interest in research and development we do not often interface directly with the consumers but work together with manufacturers, entrepreneurs and policy actors within the clean cooking sector to ensure market development.
Job creation and the empowerment of women seem to be increasingly important. How do your clean cooking activities help drive employment generation and the empowerment of women?
NCEEC’s long term goal would incorporate training and capacity development programmes for youths and women. The technical skills programme will provide hands-on training in clean cookstoves design, fabrication and testing. Also, the centre will support graduates of the skill development initiative with startup kits. This will help drive employment generation and empower youth and women.
If you are asked to advise the federal government of Nigeria on policy options, what are the three most important things the government can do to expand the clean cookstoves market?
The three most important things the government can do to expand the market for clean cookstoves are:
- To provide support through grants, subsidies and other financial mechanisms that aim to improve the deployment of clean cook stoves locally.
- To assist local manufacturers and small scale entrepreneurs in their technical production activities and business development processes.
- To establish more research laboratories and testing facilities and help build test laboratory capacity
If an enabling environment is not created by government, what future risks do you envisage?
If the government do not create an enabling environment for the expansion of clean cookstoves in Nigeria there will be reduction in industry investment and participation, Standards and Labeling (S & L) programme support will be reduced, and less attention will be given to monitoring, verification and enforcement of S & L programmes.
What are your suggestions for moving the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria?
To move the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria, increased awareness is very critical. There’s need for a communication campaign to educate and mobilize consumers, retailers and industry actors. Also, continuous engagement with stakeholders to seek input into market development activities is important for the growth of the cooking energy market.