Cooking impacts in more developed countries:

An addiction to fossil fuels:

What a chance have the "North" countries! Kitchen fully equipped with all necessary appliances: refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, oven, cooker, microwave, mini-oven, coffee maker, deep fryer, toaster, steamer. ..

But all this material, beyond the footprint of its manufacturing, will consume energy during its lifetime. Thus a European will depend on more of 80% of fossil fuels for cooking their food, directly or indirectly by consuming electricity or gas.

Calculation of impacts:

In the form of gas or electricity, the consumption of these energy releases into the astmosphère a certain amount of Co2 and also a certain amount of radioactive waste in nature. All can be estimated with the following datas:

cooking and co2 uk
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1 kWh of UK electricity grid is equivalent in 2004 to 0,454708 kg of Co2, but this assessment takes into account only the production and not the entire cycle of power plants (wind, nuclear, oil etc...) and nuclear energy is considered without Co2 emissions (Source: ADEME).

More recently, studies are talking about an average of 66 grams of Co2 emitted per kilowatt hour for nuclear energy taking into account the full cycle of operation of all plants (Source: "Study Benjamin K." Guide). We know that the electricity production in UK is shared as follow: 28% coal, 4% fuel, 38% gas, 25% nuclear, 2% dam, 3% others, so 1 kWh in UK is equivalent to 0,98356 kg of Co2.

In order to compare, the European average is 0,651339074 kg of Co2 per kWh and 0,561804887 kg for Germany.

co2 emission
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1 kWh of natural gas is equivalent in 2007 to:
0,231023102 kg of Co2
(Source: Guide FE ADEME)

1 kWh of GPL is equivalent in 2010 to: 0,260 kg of Co2

Calculation of kWh and cost of cooking with electricity:

For decades, electricity consumption per household devoted to cooking is increasing, it has been multiplied by 5 between 1970 and 2010 according to data from ADEME and INSEE. The CWAPE (Source: EF4) estimate to 175 kWh the electrical energy necessary for one year of cooking for one person (plates and oven only). Knowing that the family size in UK is 2,4 people, it is possible to estimate the electricity consumption for a UK household: 2,4 * 175 = 420 kWh per year per household cooking with electricity.

However, ADEME takes into account all small appliances (toaster, kettle ...) and estimates the total electricity consumption for cooking in a French household with quite the same familly size to 568 kWh / year (Source: PA Guide ADEME). By choosing the latter estimate, the electricity bill is about € 61 for a French household including VAT, subscription not included. (Source: EDF 2009: Price of 1 kWh: € 0.1078 TTC. Basic subscription: € 66.82 including VAT for 3 kVA). It'll be more expensive for UK and Germany.

Calculation of kWh and cost of cooking with gas:

We have to know before all that bottled gas (butane, propane) are actually Liquefied Petroleum Gas and town gas is Natural Gas. There are two different fuels, which have different equivalencies in kWh/m3.

The bottled gas:

It can be seen around us, that a British familly (2.4 people) equipped with an oven and a gas stove, consumes around three cylinders of 13 kg per year. According to Butagaz 2010 data, the average price of a bottle of gas is € 25.5 without tax deposit. According to the French Committee of Butane and Propane, butane contains 13.7 kWh per kg. Therefore we can calculate the following figures:

3 * 13 * 13.7 = 534.3 kWh per year and per UK familly cooking with bottled gas.
3 * 25.5 = € 76.5 VAT included per year and per UK familly cooking with bottled gas.

City gas (or natural gas):

Town gas, according to data from GDF (2005), for a minimum service subscription, gas cost in France: € 0.06937 / kWh VAT included. The subscription for consumption below 1000 kWh / year is 25 € TTC / year. If we consider egal kWh consumption for bottled gas and city gas, we can estimate the following figures:

(534.3 * 0.06937) = 37 € VAT included, subscription not included per year and per UK familly cooking with gas.

Estimation of Co2 emissions by one UK familly per year:

568 kWh/an * 0,98356 kg de Co2 = 559 kg of Co2 / Year and per UK Familly cooking with electricity
534,3 kWh/an * 0,231023102 kg de Co2 = 123 kg Co2 / Year and per UK Familly cooking with natural gas
534,3 kWh/an * 0,260 kg de Co2 = 139 kg Co2 / Year and per UK Familly cooking with bottled gas



In times of crisis, fossil fuel prices tend to decline following the decline of demand, but the general trend about 9% per year for gas and 2% for electricity (at the regulated price in France). Note that the regulated price is condemned to disappear little by little and the price of electricity will increase as dramatic as gas price (Source: Poweo).

A large family can payback in a few years its investment in solar cooking material using sun to cook dishes which require a lot of energy (cakes, steam potatoes...). For a family of 5 people, the annual bill for electricity and / or cooking gas will be between 80 and 130 € including VAT but excluding subscriptions!


Cooking impacts in less developed countries:

Click on image to enlarge

An inhabitant of the African continent consumes each day to cook his food between 1 and 1.5 kg of wood according to FAO, compounding deforestation and desertification in some areas already sensitive. In addition, the collection of wood is a very hard work and which need a lot of time of walking. Beyond that, smoke cause each year many health problems for populations.

The "south" countries are also the main consumers of charcoal, and the manufacturing process is similar in "north" and "south" countries . According to datas provided by the manufacturer, to produce 1 kg of charcoal BBQ, you must burn 5 to 7 kg of green wood! (Source: GBMF).

If you want to do BBQ, but you do not have AlSol, find the origin of your coal! Africa, or recycling waste from local wood industries labelised FSC?

Calculation of impacts:

The calculation of impacts is easy to do, knowing that a family in the African continent is composed of an average of 6 persons and FAO said that each person need 1,25 kg of wood:

6 * 1,25 = 7,5 kg of wood per day per household in Africa
7,5 * 365 = 2 737,5 kg of wood per year per household in Africa

Most of wood burning mass contain: 80% organic matter composed of atoms: 50% carbon 43% oxygen, 5% hydrogen, 2% nitrogen. 2% of minerals and 18% of water (non-combustible, they form the ashes).

Knowing that 12 grams of carbon produced by burning 44 grams of carbon dioxide, we can perform the following calculations:

50% carbon * 80% organic matter =
400 grams of carbon emitted per kg of wood burned

400 g of carbon * 44 g Co2 / 12 g of carbon=
1, 47 kg of Co2 emitted per kg of wood burned

2 737.5 kg of wood * 1.47 kg of Co2 =
4 024.125 kg of Co2 per year per household in Africa

wood and cooking in africa

Foot English

Solar Cooking Atlas comments :

Laura: Congratulation for your great invention, I'm Laura and I would like to know how to make or find a solar oven for my father, he is a cooker chef and we are living in Dominican Republic so I think we can really use it in my tropical country! I'm also interested to resell solar products... I think people can really be surprised here!

Clement: Interesting. I've downloaded a lot of documents on your site about solar cookers. I am attending the institute higher rural development in South Kivu in the DRC. Really I will share this information with students. Good luck for the job!

Paul : Solar Household Energy is a leading nonprofit organization that conducts research, field projects and outreach programs for solar cooking (see solar cooking pictures here). Located in the Washington, DC area, USA. You can visit our website to get more information.

Orlando : Hello, I work in the Applied Renewable Energy Group GERA we have some models of solar cookers, we would like to contact with others people that like the solar cooker, thank you vey much.

Romain : Hi , thanks for your comment, if you know other solar cooking recipes you can send it to me, I can share it to the recipe page!

Michael : Thanks for your solar tips ;)

Emily : A great alternative for a lot of people to wood or gas! Good job!

Alice: I tryed your peas recipe with my sun oven, I just backed first the bacon and onions with my solar cooker because I think it fries better and faster than my oven, it was delicious ;)

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