China is a diverse country with various cultures, climates, income levels and culinary tastes. But around 45% of the people living in China depend on solid, potentially harmful fuels for heating and cooking – and basic technology to burn them. Shell is collaborating with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to help change this using new technologies and innovative business models.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is an initiative trying to address the global issue of dirty, inefficient stoves through collaboration with 1,800 public and private partners. Shell – the largest private partner involved – has contributed $13 million to the cause since 2010.

The effects of indoor pollution in China are widespread. Smoke-emitting fuels impact the health of 608 million people across the country, which leads to more than 600,000 deaths every year.

The Alliance is tackling this by championing new technologies and business models through seven Shell-funded pilot projects. These projects have installed innovative cookstoves that use electricity to suck in air and burn fuels completely, so they operate more efficiently and produce fewer harmful smoke particles.

One of these new products is a cookstove powered by electricity generated from biomass pellets. The shape of the cookstove is designed to match the traditional built-in stoves that Chinese households typically use. This means people can keep cooking the way they always have, which encourages more people to start using them.

In addition to introducing this new technology, these projects are testing its performance, as well as trialling different business models and marketing strategies to establish a healthy and sustainable cookstove and biomass market in the country.

For example, in the case of the biomass-powered cookstove, the Alliance also helped set up a village-based pellets facility that has created local jobs and will supply households with cleaner fuels.

Overall, the projects initially targeted 1,828 households, but 218,837 were eventually reached due to additional local government support. The aim is to increase that number in the year ahead.

Combining the efforts of its partners, the Alliance aims to bring 100 million clean cookstoves to homes around the world by 2020, while the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture wants to see 40 million clean stoves installed around the country.

Future projects will look to increase this distribution and continue to develop the technology, helping more families enjoy meals together in warm, safe environments.

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