Promoting Ethanol as a Clean Cooking Alternative in Ghana: A Pilot Study

Clean cooking forms an integral part of Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which generally seeks to ensure universal access to reliable, affordable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030. Polluting fuels such as wood fuels are major sources of household air pollution, particularly in developing countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that about 4 million deaths occur annually due to indoor air pollution-related diseases. These diseases include pneumonia, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and lung cancer. Women and children are more exposed to these diseases due to their exposure to these gasses in their daily activities. Wood fuels do not only contribute to household air pollution but also deforestation, which affects the plant cover with its attendant impacts on the global ecosystem. The health and environmental impacts of these polluting fuels imply that more efforts must be channelled to switch towards cleaner sources that are accessible and affordable.

The government of Ghana has formulated policies and strategies to promote clean cooking technologies and fuels to reduce deforestation and indoor air pollution. A vital component of these strategies is the promotion of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and improved cookstoves for household and commercial uses.  However, the current trend in growth suggests that the proportion of the population with access to clean technologies is about 51% short of the SDG 7 target. Therefore, an alternative fuel source is appropriate to complement the efforts of existing ones to accelerate Ghana’s drive toward universal access to clean fuels.

Biofuels such as ethanol offer a cheaper alternative for clean cooking. Ethanol burns cleanly without harmful emissions, making it safe for humans and the environment. Studies across Sub-Saharan Africa on ethanol fuel utilisation show a high preference for ethanol-based stoves and fuels over traditional kerosene and charcoal stoves. However, ethanol-based stoves have not received the needed attention in Ghana. Results from the recent population and housing census indicate that about 0.04% of households in Ghana use alcohol-based fuels as a cooking source.

This study examined consumer behaviours towards using ethanol-based cookstoves and fuels in Ghana. The results are based on a pilot study in two peri-urban localities in Ghana – Ningo Prampram District and Akuapem North Municipality.

Generally, the study revealed that respondents showed positive attitudes towards ethanol-based cookstoves and fuels.

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